Introducing our 2024 Festival Authors
And 6 More Acclaimed Authors
Loot is Longlisted for the National Book Award
Set in 18th Century India, England, and France, Tania James’ novel, Loot, is the story of a young woodcarver, Abbas, who dreams of leaving his mark on the world. Centering on Tipu’s Sultan Tiger, an actual wooden automaton, Loot follows the fate of the wooden tiger mirroring the history of nations and dynasties ravaged by war across India and Europe. A love story, a hero’s quest, a heist, and a coming-of-age story, Loot takes its readers on a thrilling journey. Raised in Kentucky, James earned a B.A. in filmmaking at Harvard and an MFA from Columbia. She lives in Washington, D.C., and is an associate professor in the MFA program at George Mason University. She has been a finalist for the Dylan Thomas prize and has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Fulbright Program. Loot was long-listed for the National Book Award for fiction.
“Captivating . . . James is a master miniaturist who can create the illusion of a saga in a chapter. Her pages feel as full as a 19th-century bildungsroman, with collapsing kingdoms, sailing ships and elaborate schemes . . . And her prose is lush with the sights, sounds and smells of India, France and England, and always laced with Dickensian wit.” —The Washington Post
Helen Elaine Leeshollycreativeinc
Longlisted for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction
Pomegranate tells the story of Ranita, who, after four long years, is released from prison. But she’ll never be completely free until she can answer these questions: Can she stay clean and sober? When will she see her children? What were the demons that caused her to derail her life at a young age despite growing up in a nice middle-class family? Lee earned her BA at Harvard and her law degree from Harvard Law school. The author of two previous novels, The Serpent’s Gift and Water Marked, Lee is Professor of Comparative Media Studies/Writing at MIT. She was on the board of PEN New England for 10 years, serving on its Freedom to Write Committee, and helping to start its Prison Creative Writing Program.
“Lee’s handling of trauma is deft, and her portrayal of the carceral system’s cruelty is unflinching and empathetic…a cache of jewels.” – Kirkus Reviews.
Pomegranate has been longlisted for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in fiction.Author's Website
Won the Dylan Thomas Prize for The High Places
In brilliant, symphonic prose, The Sun Walks Down transports the reader to a town in colonial Australia turned upside down by the search for a missing boy. From bride to widow, artist to shopkeeper, indigenous tracker to policeman, readers learn the intimate thoughts and concerns of townsfolk as they confront each other and the harsh land they occupy. A native of Australia, McFarlane attended the University of Sydney, Cambridge University, and the University of Texas at Austin. She’s the author of the novel, The Night Guest, and a short story collection, The High Places, which won the Dylan Thomas Prize. McFarlane teaches at UC Berkeley and lives in the Bay Area.
“A thrilling success . . . McFarlane spins a novel full of mystery and wonder.” – The Wall Street Journal. “Masterful storytelling . . . We read on captivated by the novel’s beautiful prose and polyphonic voices, and marveling at both its epic scope and rare intimacy.” – The Washington PostAuthor's Website
Internationally Best-Selling Author of 12 Novels
In Künstlers in Paradise, 93-year-old Mamie spends the seemingly endless pandemic telling her visiting grandson, Julian, stories of her escapades with artists who fled the Nazis and came to Hollywood. Mamie’s story spans from Berlin in the 1930s to Venice Beach in 2020. Arnold Schoenberg, Christopher Isherwood, Thomas Mann, and Greta Garbo come to brilliant life in Schine’s witty and erudite style. Schine earned her BA at Sarah Lawrence. The author of The Grammarians, The Three Weissmanns of Westport, and The Love Letter, among other novels, she lives in Venice, California.
“A paean to the regenerative power of storytelling and to Los Angeles itself.” – New York Times Book Review. “A moving and entertaining novel about how we revisit memories to make meaning for ourselves and others.” – The Wall Street JournalAuthor's Website
Breakout Group Authors
Longlisted for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction
In a small village in India, a husband disappears without a trace, and his wife Geeta is presumed by the villagers to be his killer. Soon, other women in the village are asking her for help getting rid of their own husbands. In her razor-sharp debut, The Bandit Queens, Shroff serves up a commentary on class, power dynamics and the role and sanctioned abuses of women in India. While serious in theme, The Bandit Queens is surprisingly laugh-out-loud funny. Shroff received her MFA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a practicing attorney living in the San Francisco Bay area.
“A radically feel-good story about the murder of no-good husbands by a cast of unsinkable women.”—The New York Times Book Review. “Shroff cleverly considers how women might achieve autonomy within rural India’s patriarchal society.” —Washington Post
The Bandit Queens has been longlisted for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in fiction.Author's Website
Banyan Moon was a Read with Jenna Pick
Thao Thai’s sweeping debut novel asks, is it better for some truths to remain hidden? Can deceit be an act of love? Banyan Moon follows three generations of Vietnamese women, all of them strong, unique and determined to find their own paths despite overwhelming obstacles and a legacy of lies. Thai received her MFA from The Ohio State University and her MA from The University of Chicago. Her work has been published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, WIRED, and other publications. Banyan Moon is a Read with Jenna Pick. She lives in Ohio.
“Radiant. … An intimate account of one family’s planting of roots in American soil and the sacrifices great and small that each member makes along the way.” — Washington Post. “[A] rich novel of inheritance and generational divides.” — Vanity FairAuthor's Website
The Mythmakers is a New York Times Editor’s Choice
In The Mythmakers, a young journalist discovers a short story that is inexplicably about her, leading her to insinuate herself into the life of the author’s widow and daughter, with shocking results. This debut novel raises important questions about memory and truth and who really owns a narrative. The book is a New York Times Editor’s Choice and a Harper’s Bazaar and Boston Globe Best Book of 2023. Weir grew up in San Francisco and British Columbia and is a graduate of Bard College. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Elle, and Esquire. She is a Senior Editor at Vanity Fair magazine and lives in Maine.
“A fresh addition to the library of fiction about tortured literati.” — The New York Times Book Review. “The novel gathers complexity and momentum as the voices of multiple narrators speed toward a cluster of climaxes, each one complicating the last.” — VogueAuthor's Website