2022 Pasadena Festival of Women Authors | Video and Photos

2022 Pasadena Festival of Women Authors | Video and Photos

Session Description

Photos at the event

Author's Bios

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.

Alka Joshi

2021, 2022

The Secret Keeper of Jaipur is the eagerly awaited sequel to the New York Times bestseller, The Henna Artist. Twelve years have passed and Malik is now an apprentice at the Royal Palace. Lakshmi, now married to Dr. Jay Kumar, runs the Lady Reading Healing Garden.  A tragic theater balcony collapse reveals that despite the modern times, money, power and the favor of the Royal Palace remain the primary forces in the Pink City. Malik and Lakshmi set out to discover the truth and see justice prevail in Alka Joshi’s transportive and captivating second novel.  

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 ran her own advertising and marketing consulting firm for 30 years. Joshi has lived in France and Italy and currently lives with her husband on the northern California coast. 

“This story satisfies on every level”Library Journal (starred review). “Applause worthy encore.”Booklist. Joshi’s sensuous descriptions of food, local color, and Lakshmi’s art make this worth savoring.” Publishers Weekly.

Maggie Shipstead

Maggie Shipstead

2016, 2022

Meet Marion Graves and Hadley Baxter: Marion survived a shipwreck as an infant and is determined to be the first person to fly around the world north-south, over the poles. Marian disappears in Antarctica, painfully close to achieving her goal, and is forever surrounded in mystery. A century later, Hadley is a scandal-plagued movie star looking to restart her career by playing the lost pilot. Shipstead’s epic work, Great Circle, masterfully weaves together the stories of two women separated by time and geography but linked by their hunger for self-determination.

Maggie Shipstead is the New York Times best-selling author of three novels—Great Circle, Seating Arrangements, and Astonish Me—and the winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction. Great Circle was a finalist for the 2021 Booker Prize. Her first short story collection, You Have a Friend in 10A, will be published by Knopf in May 2022. Shipstead lives in Los Angeles. 

“Soars…thrilling and inevitable…grasps for and ultimately reaches something extraordinary.”  — New York Times.  “An expansive story that covers more than a century and seems to encapsulate the whole wide world.” — Boston Globe.  “A breathtaking epic…a stunning feat.” — Publisher’s Weekly (starred review).

Claire Vaye Watkins

Claire Vaye Watkins


In I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness, new mother, Claire, leaves her husband and infant for a speaking engagement in Reno, she does not intend to be away for long. However, the quick trip mutates into an extended escapade away from the confines of marriage and motherhood and a seemingly bottomless descent into the past. Deep in the desert, alone, and confronting the legacy of her tragic first love, her cult-member father and her struggling mother, Claire searches for a way forward.

Claire Vaye Watkins is the author of the novel Gold Fame Citrus and the short story collection Battleborn, winner of the Story Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, and the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, among other prizes and was a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree. I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness is a finalist for the 2022 Los Angeles Time Book Award. Watkins is a professor at the University of California, Irvine, and lives in Twenty-nine Palms, California.

“Intense, intelligent, and bristly. . . angry and alive. . . a virtuoso performance.” —The New York Times Book Review. “Unequivocally triumphant. . . Watkins shows readers — and perhaps proves to herself — that one does not have to choose the lesser of two evils. A woman can want motherhood and the rest of her life.” — NPR. “A beautifully arranged tackle box of everything Watkins does best — cut-through-the-bone narrative of family apocalypses; custom blending of the historical, the unimaginable and the impossible; enchanting, terrifying encounters with the American West.” –Los Angeles Times.

Gabriela Garcia

Gabriela Garcia

2022 PFWA

Of Women and Salt is a sweeping, masterful debut about a daughter’s fateful choice, a mother motivated by her own past, and a family legacy that begins in Cuba before either of them was born. From 19th-century cigar factories to present-day detention centers, from Cuba to Mexico, the novel follows Latina women of fierce pride and longing, all irrevocably linked by the inheritance of trauma and the stories passed between them. It is a haunting meditation on the choices of mothers and the tenacity of women who choose to tell their stories despite those who wish to silence them.

Garcia is the daughter of immigrants from Cuba and Mexico and grew up in Miami. She holds a BA in Sociology and Media Studies from Fordham University and worked as a feminist and migrant rights organizer for 10 years before pursuing an MFA in fiction from Purdue University. Garcia is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award and a Steinbeck Fellowship from San Jose State University. Her fiction and poems have been featured in Best American Poetry, Tin House, Zyzzyva, Iowa Review and elsewhere. Garcia lives in the San Francisco Bay area. 

“Garcia’s novel is a…stunningly accomplished first novel that is both epic and intimate.” —O Magazine.  “This riveting account will please readers of sweeping multigenerational stories.” —Publishers Weekly. “The novel is quietly heartbreaking.” —Booklist (starred review).  

Sarah Manguso

2022 PFWA

In Very Cold People, the narrator, Ruthie, looks back on her adolescence in the fictional Massachusetts town of Waitsfield, where the people are as cold and brittle as the New England winters. In spare, poetic fashion, Ruthie shares stories of neglect, poverty and sexual abuse. Very Cold People is a deeply moving account of one woman’s journey to free herself of the secrecy and shame of intergenerational trauma.

Manguso is the author of eight books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Her nonfiction books are 300 Arguments, Ongoingness, The Guardians, and The Two Kinds of Decay, and her poetry collections are Siste Viator and The Captain Lands in Paradise. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Hodder Fellowship, and the Rome Prize. Born and raised in Massachusetts, she now lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches creative writing at Antioch University.

“Manguso’s attention to the chilliness and reservation of certain New Englanders crackles like a room-temperature beverage poured over ice.” —Washington Post. “Though dealing with life’s ugly, messy truths, her writing is compact and beautiful.” —New York Times.  “Manguso is an exquisitely astute writer.”—Boston Globe.  

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. 

Monica West is the author of Revival Season, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. She received her B.A. from Duke University, her M.A. from New York University, and her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where she was a Rona Jaffe Graduate Fellow. She has received a fellowship from Kimbilio Fiction, and she will be a Hedgebrook Writer in Residence in 2022. She currently teaches in the MFA in Writing program at the University of San Francisco.

“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

Session Details

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