Pasadena Festival of Women Authors

At Last, After 2 Years of Waiting


Saturday, March 19, 2022

Reserved Patron Seats and Tables On Sale Now!

Due to the recent surge in coronavirus infections we are postponing the sale of $100 single tickets. We will make an announcement on the start of sales when we have an update.

Featuring Award-Winning Author Dana Spiotta

…and 6 Other Acclaimed Women Authors







Festival Authors

Hala Alyan

2022 PFWA

Hala Alyan illuminates the recent history of Lebanon and Syria through the personal tragedies and betrayals befalling one Arab American family in Arsonists’ CityThe Nasr family is spread across the globe— from Beirut to Brooklyn to the West Coast. A decision to sell their ancestral home brings the family to Beirut, where family members unite in a fight to save the house. They all have secrets that distance has helped smother, but in a city smoldering with the legacy of war, an ongoing flow of refugees, religious tension, and political protest, those secrets ignite, imperiling the fragile ties that hold this family together. Using her insights as a psychologist, Alyan points to patterns of secrecy and shame and the power of buried trauma to leap beyond displacement and time.

Alyan is the author of Salt Houses which won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the Arab American Book Award. She has also published four award-winning collections of poetry, including The Twenty-Ninth Year. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, LitHub and Guernica. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and works as a clinical psychologist.

“Plumbing the intricacies of race and womanhood, Alyan turns paragraphs into poetry.” –New York Times Book Review. “Feels revolutionary in its freshness.”- Entertainment Weekly. “A novel that at once breaks the heart and fills it with joy.”—Los Angeles Review of Books

Nadia Hashimi

2022 PFWA

In Sparks like Stars, a 10-year-old Afghan girl’s life is shattered when a military coup in the palace kills her entire family. Escaping with the help of a palace guard, Sitara is smuggled out of Afghanistan and raised by an American diplomat. Thirty years later, now a successful surgeon in the U.S., she returns to Afghanistan to learn the truth about what happened on that terrible night. From the bestselling author of The Pearl That Broke Its Shell, The House Without Windows, and When the Moon Is Low.

Hashimi was born and raised in New York and New Jersey. Her parents were born in Afghanistan and left in the early 1970s. A pediatrician, she lives with her husband and four children in Potomac, Maryland. She is a member of the US Afghan Women’s Council, Afghan American Foundation, and Montgomery County Commission on Health.

“The novel is an elegiac tribute to family and civilization—fragile collective entities that should be cherished while they still hold.”  — BookPage. “Thrilling and moving” – Booklist. I found myself eagerly following in a way I hadn’t remembered for a long time, impatient for the next twist and turn of the story.”—NPR.

Katherine Heiny

Katherine Heiny

2022 PFWA

In Katherine Heiny’s Early Morning Riser, young Jane falls in love with Duncan easily. He is charming, good-natured, and handsome but unfortunately, he has also slept with nearly every woman in Boyne City, Michigan. Although Jane eventually comes to terms with dating the world’s most prolific seducer of women, she wishes she did not have to share him quite so widely. Then, any notion Jane had of love and marriage changes with a terrible car crash. Bitter sweet and laugh-out-loud funny, Early Morning Riser is a Good Morning America Buzz Pick.

Heiny is the author of Standard Deviation and a story collection, Single, Carefree, Mellow. Her fiction has been published in, among others, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Ploughshares, and Glimmer Train. She lives in Bethesda, Maryland with her husband and children.

“I’d read the back of a cereal box if it was written by Katherine Heiny.”—Forbes. “A deep awareness of the ways the potential for tragedy lies just beneath the surface of small-town life. . .holds the humor in perfect balance.” –Publisher’s Weekly. “The story. . .sparkles with Heiny’s trademark witticisms and cutting observations.” – Washington Post

Torrey Peters

2022 PFWA

In Detransition, Baby, the lives of three women—transgender and cisgender—collide after an unexpected pregnancy forces them to confront their deepest desires. This provocative debut is about what happens at the emotional, messy, vulnerable corners of womanhood that platitudes and good intentions can’t reach. The author asks us to question, “Who and what determines a family?” Detransition, Baby was longlisted for the Women’s Prize. It’s also a Roxane Gay’s Audacious Book Club Pick and a New York Times Editor’s Choice.

Peters is the author of two novellas, Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones and The Masker. She grew up in Chicago, and received her MA from Dartmouth College, and her MFA from the University of Iowa. Currently she makes her home in Brooklyn.

 “Even the most complimentary adjectives feel insufficient to describe Torrey Peters’ first novel.”— Bookpage (starred review). “With heart and savvy, [Detransition, Baby upends] our traditional, gendered notions of what parenthood can look like.” New York Times Book Review. “One of the most celebrated books of the year.” –Time

Dana Spiotta

2022 PFWA

In Wayward, on the heels of the 2016 presidential election, a 52-year-old woman finds her life unraveling. Her mother is dying, her teenage daughter is becoming remote, and her insomnia-fueled reckoning has her questioning her life. She falls in love with a beautiful decrepit house in Syracuse and flees her suburban life as she grapples with how to be a woman, a mother and a wife in a country that is coming apart at the seams.

Spiotta is the author of five novels, including Stone Arabia. She’s been a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the National Book Award. She was a Guggenheim Fellow, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow, and the recipient of the 2008 Rome Prize in Literature and the John Updike Prize. She lives in Syracuse and teaches in the Syracuse University MFA program.

“Exhilarating. . . Wayward reads like a burning fever dream. “– New York Times Book Review. “A strikingly intelligent book, sometimes funny, sometimes painful.” – Minneapolis Star Tribune. “Spiotta mines [her] material with laser precision and wit.” —People

Joanne Tompkins

Joanne Tompkins

2022 PFWA

In this propulsive debut thriller, a grieving Pacific Northwest community grapples with the murder-suicide of two teenage boys, while 16-year-old Evangeline—pregnant and abandoned by her heroin-addicted mother—holds the key to what happened. What Comes After offers a story of loss and anger, but also of kindness and hope, courage and forgiveness. It is a deeply moving account of strangers and friends not only helping each other forward after tragedy, but inspiring a new kind of family.

Tompkins’ first career as a trial lawyer and mediator immersed her in lives disrupted by conflict and far too often, violence and abuse. Yet she discovered in many a resiliency and passion for life that continues to move her. Her work has appeared in LitHub, Writer in the World and Stratus. She received her MFA from Goddard College. She lives in Port Townsend, Washington.

 “Nail-biting wallop of a debut . . . a thoughtful, unexpectedly optimistic tale.” —New York Times. What Comes After is equal parts thrilling mystery and aching examination of grief and guilt.” —Time. “Rich in characters, atmosphere, and storytelling, this book has it all.” – San Francisco Book Review

Monica West

2022 PFWA

Every year, the Horton family travels across the South for revival season, when the family patriarch – one of the South’s most famous preachers – uses his healing powers on people desperate to be cured. This year, however, his teenaged daughter, Miriam, discovers a shocking secret that puts her at odds with both her faith and her father in this powerful debut novel. Celebrating both feminism and faith, Revival Season is a story of spiritual awakening and disillusionment in a Southern, black, evangelical community. 

West was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. She received her BA from Duke University, her MA from NYU, and her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where she was a Rona Jaffe Graduate Fellow. She was a Southern Methodist University Kimbilio Fellow in 2014, and a Hedgebrook Writer in Residence in 2021.

“Monica West. . . creates a vivid, intimate world on the page.” —New York Times 

‘It is nearly impossible to avoid falling in love with Miriam.” –  Washington Post.

 “. . . astounding in its power to transport the reader to another universe.” – Seattle Times

“A spectacular coming-of-age novel.”- The Millions

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