Pasadena Festival of Women Authors

Due to the coronavirus, we are presenting our 2021 festival online.

Each author shares her personal journey in a video recording available below.

Featuring New York Times Bestselling Author Kiley Reid

…and 5 Other Acclaimed Women Authors

Amity
Gaige

Alka
Joshi

Lydia
Millet

Dalia
Sofer

C Pam
Zhang

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Festival Authors

Amity Gaige

2021

In Amity Gaige’s Sea Wife, a husband, his reluctant wife, and their small children embark on a year-long sea voyage in a boat they barely know how to sail. Trouble follows in a twist that will both thrill and confound the reader. A sophisticated page-turner, Sea Wife explores marital discord, parenthood, literary ambition, and politics. Sea Wife is told from the side-by-side perspective of both husband and wife, providing a riveting account of the same event.

 Sea Wife was named a New York Times Notable Book.

The author of three other novels, O My Darling, The Folded World, and Schroder, Gaige was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship, fellowships at the MacDowell and Yaddo colonies, and a Guggenheim Fellowship for Fiction. Gaige earned her BA from Brown and her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. The longtime Visiting Writer at Amherst College, she now teaches creative writing at Yale.

“Stunning…Amity [tows] you to tragedy with the graceful crawl of a poet and the motorboat intensity of a suspense author.”New York Times Book Review. “Profound and universal…Sea Wife achieves a lovely balance between the real and the metaphoric.”The Wall Street Journal.

Alka Joshi

2021

Alka Joshi’s debut, The Henna Artist, was a New York Times bestseller and a Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick. The Henna Artist gives the reader a vivid, sensory-laden peek into the India of the 1950s as it follows a young woman running away from her abusive husband. She reinvents herself as a henna artist and keeper of the elite class’s secrets. However, all of her accomplishments are threatened with the surprise arrival of her blackmail-inclined husband and the sister she never knew she had.

Joshi was born in India and raised in the U.S. from the age of nine. She has a BA from Stanford University and an MFA from California College of Arts and runs an advertising and marketing consulting firm. She has lived in France and Italy and currently lives in Pacific Grove, California. 

“Vibrant characters, evocative imagery, and sumptuous prose create a satisfying, unforgettable tale.”Christian Science Monitor. “Joshi has constructed a bewitching glimpse into the past with a tough heroine well worth cheering on.”Booklist. “Eloquent debut…moving… Joshi masterfully balances a yearning for self-discovery with the need for familial love.” –Publishers Weekly.

Lydia Millet

2021

A modern retelling of Noah’s Ark, Lydia Millet’s novel, A Children’s Bible, follows a group of idle, wealthy friends and their feral children. The families have rented a mansion for the summer, when a massive hurricane hits, plunging them into unimaginable chaos. It is, says Vulture, “that rare and precious thing: a funny dystopia.” 

A Children’s Bible was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction, named one of The New York Times’ 10 Best Books of the Year, and judged one of the best novels of the year by TimeThe Washington Post, NPR, Esquire, BBC, and many others. A Children’s Bible also made the 2020 Goodreads shortlist.

Millet has written more than a dozen novels and story collections. Her third novel, My Happy Life, won the PEN Center USA Award for Fiction, and she has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. In 2012, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts, US & Canada.  Millet received her BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her MA from Duke University. She lives in the desert outside Tucson, Arizona, and works as an editor and writer for a nonprofit group devoted to the protection of endangered species.

“[A] blistering little classic…Take this book, eat it up.” Washington Post. “Millet is one of the most fascinating novelists working.” Wall Street Journal Magazine. “[D]arkly funny and painfully sharp.” Los Angeles Times.

Kiley Reid

2021

Kiley Reid’s debut novel is a complex, layered page-turner from a provocative new voice. Such A Fun Age is a story about race and privilege, centered on a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned white employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both. An instant New York Times bestseller and a Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick, 

Such A Fun Age was longlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize and named a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post, NPR, BBC, The Chicago Tribute, Slate, Parade, Kirkus Reviews, and many others. It won the African American Literary Award and was a finalist for The New York Public Library’s 2020 Young Lion’s Fiction Award, The Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award, and the NAACP Image Award.  Finally, Such a Fun Age was chosen as Best Debut by Goodreads readers. Lena Waithe bought the film rights, and Such a Fun Age is currently in production.

Prior to her first novel, Reid’s short stories were featured in Ploughshares, December and LuminaReid earned her BA from Marymount Manhattan College and received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was awarded the Truman Capote Fellowship and taught undergraduate creative writing workshops with a focus on race and class. Reid lives in Philadelphia. 

“[A] hilarious, uncomfortable and compulsively readable story about race and class.”–Time. “What a joy to find a debut novel so good that it leaves you looking forward to the rest of its author’s career. –The Times (London). “. . . both deliciously readable and incredibly complex.”   –Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Dalia Sofer

2021

From bestselling author Dalia Sofer, Man of My Time is the story of an Iranian man who loses his soul bit by bit after he joins the Iranian revolution. Estranged from his family who has fled to New York, he reunites with them briefly, and agrees to take his father’s ashes back to Iran. This forces him to reckon with a lifetime filled with betrayal, in service to regime which has turned him into a man he no longer recognizes.

Man of My Time was named a New York Times Notable Book and a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice.  

Born in Tehran, Sofer was raised during Iran’s Revolution. She moved to New York City when she was 11. She received her BA at NYU and her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Sofer is the recipient of the 2008 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for The Septembers of Shiraz. She also won a 2007 Whiting Award for fiction, and has been a resident at Yaddo. She lives in New York City.  

“[Man of My Time is] finely wrought, a master class in the layering of time and contradiction.” The New York Times Book Review“Mesmerizing and unsettling.” Publishers Weekly. “A perceptive, humane inquiry into Iran’s history and soul.”Kirkus Review.

C Pam Zhang

2021

C Pam Zhang’s electrifying debut novel, How Much of These Hills is Gold, is the tale of two newly orphaned Chinese children during the twilight of the American Gold Rush. They’re on the run across a forbidding landscape – trying not just to survive but also to find a home. Both intimate and epic, it’s an adventure story, an exploration of race and belonging, and the announcement of an important new voice in American literature. 

A national bestseller and a GOOP Book Club Pick, How Much of These Hills was longlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize and was a finalist for the 2020 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. It was named a Notable Book by The New York Times and The Washington Post, one of Barack Obama’s favorite books of 2020, and one of NPR’s best books of the year. Zhang was chosen as a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree.

 

Zhang was born in Beijing and moved to the United States when she was four years old. She has lived in 14 cities across four countries and is still pondering home. Zhang attended Brown University, studied at Cambridge University and was the 2017 Truman Capote Fellow at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She lives in San Francisco.

“Packed with narrative riches and exquisitely crafted prose.” San Francisco Chronicle. “Belongs on a shelf all of its own.” NPR. “Arresting, beautiful.” The New York Times.  

“Sure to be the boldest debut of the year.” The Guardian.