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Scenes from the 2016 Festival on April 9th at the Pasadena Hilton, Pasadena, California

some luck smiley early warning Jane Smiley Golden Age Jane Smiley

Featuring Pulitzer Prize Winning author Jane Smiley and Six More Fabulous Women Authors

Bond Portrait Jan Ellison Portrait Kristen Hannah Munawerrra vp maggie
Cynthia Bond Book Cover Ellison Book Cover Kristen Hannah Book Cover what lies between us Victoria Patterson Book Cover Maggie Shipstead Book Cover


Main Ballroom Authors
Kristen Hannah

Kristin Hannah

Kristin Hannah is the bestselling author of more than 20 novels including Winter Garden, True Colors, and the blockbuster Firefly Lane. Her novel Home Front has been optioned by 1492 Films, which produced the Oscar-nominated movie, The Help. Kristen has won many awards, including the Golden Heart, the Maggie, and the 1996 National Reader's Choice award.  She trained as a lawyer and practiced entertainment and anti-trust law for several years before giving up her practice to write her highly successful stories of female friendship, motherhood, and domestic conflict. The Nightingale is her first work of historical fiction.
Best-selling author Lisa See said, “I loved Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale. She has captured a particular slice of French life during World War II with wonderful details and drama.”

Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants, wrote, “A beautifully written and richly evocative examination of life, love, and the ravages of war.”

Kristen Hannah Book Cover

Victoria Patterson

Victoria Patterson has been dubbed “the Edith Wharton of Orange County” for her brilliant, clear-eyed depictions of the striving, materialistic culture of Newport Beach where she grew up. She is the author of three novels: The Little Brother, The Peerless Four and This Vacant Paradise, a 2011 New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Her story collection, Drift, was a finalist for the California Book Award, the 2009 Story Prize, and was selected as one of the best books of 2009 by The San Francisco Chronicle. She lives with her family in Southern California and teaches at Antioch University’s Master of Fine Arts program. . 

The New York Times raved, “Victoria Patterson is a capable and canny writer, and she would have to be to take on the subject of her newest novel, The Little Brother, and produce so arresting and haunting an experience.” Susan Straight said, "The Little Brother takes on a real-life situation from the headlines, but Victoria Patterson etches it into fiction - the sad and scary kaleidoscope of family, loyalty and betrayal."

Victoria Patterson Book Cover
Maggie Shipstead portrait

Maggie Shipstead

Maggie Shipstead is the author of two novels: Astonish Me, An Amazon Best Book of the Month, and a Huffington Post “Books We’re Talking About,” and Seating Arrangements, a New York Times bestseller, finalist for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, and winner of both the Dylan Thomas Prize and the L.A. Times Book Prize for First Fiction. She is a graduate of Harvard and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford. Her writing has appeared in many publications including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. In 2012, she was a National Magazine Award finalist for fiction. She lives in Los Angeles.

The Boston Globe called Astonish Me, “Bold and thrilling,” while The New Yorker said, “Shipstead rises to the challenge of evoking the excitement of dance, and her descriptions are all the more powerful for emphasizing the hard work behind the grace.”

Maggie Shipstead Book Cover

Jane Smiley

Jane Smiley

Jane Smiley is one of America's most admired and prolific writers.  Her numerous novels include The Age of Grief, The Greenlanders, Ordinary Love and Good Will, A Thousand Acres, Moo, Horse Heaven, Good Faith, Ten Days in the Hills, and Golden Age, the final volume in her trilogy, which also includes Some Luck and Early Warning. In addition, she has written five works of nonfiction; five young adult novels, as well as essays in magazines like Vogue, The New Yorker, Harper's, and others. She won an O. Henry Award for her short story "Lily." and a Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for A Thousand Acres. She was elected a member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2001, won the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, and chaired the judges' panel for the prestigious Man Booker International Prize in 2009. She obtained a BA in literature at Vassar College, and an MA, MFA, and PhD from the University of Iowa. From 1981 to 1996 she was a Professor of English at Iowa State University.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said, "The term Golden Age may well refer to this stage of Ms. Smiley's career, for her trilogy is thoroughly radiant." The Los Angeles Times said, ". . . a satisfying if solemn finale to a monumental portrait of an American family and an American century."

Jane Smiley Golden Age

Breakout Session Authors

In addition to the four authors who will speak in the Main Ballroom,
we have added a special breakout session with these authors who will speak concurrently.

Bond Portrait

Cynthia Bond

Cynthia Bond’s debut novel, Ruby, became a New York Times bestseller and was named an Oprah Book Club 2.0 selection, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and an Indie Next Pick. A PEN Rosenthal Fellow, Bond attended Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, then moved to New York and attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She founded the Blackbird Writing Collective in 2011. Cynthia has taught writing to at-risk and homeless youth for over fifteen years, and is on staff at Paradigm Malibu Adolescent Treatment Center. A native of East Texas, she lives in Los Angeles with her daughter. She is currently completing the second book in the Ruby Trilogy.

The Los Angeles Review of Books said of Ruby, “A beautifully wrought ghost story, a love story, a survival story... [A] wonderful debut.” “Bond proves to be a powerful literary force, a writer whose unflinching yet lyrical prose is reminiscent of Toni Morrison’s.” —O, The Oprah Magazine

Cynthia Bond Book Cover
Jan Ellison Portrait

Jan Ellison

Jan Ellison’s debut novel, A Small Indiscretion was both an Oprah Editor’s Pick and a San Francisco Chronicle Book Club Pick. Jan’s essays and stories have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street JournalNarrative Magazine and elsewhere. She received an O. Henry Prize for her first short story to appear in print. Jan has an undergraduate degree from Stanford University and an MFA from San Francisco State. She had a brief career in her twenties at a Silicon Valley startup, marketing risk management software to derivatives traders. The company went public, Jan became a mother, and instead of leaning in she leaned out, became a stay-at-home mom, and began to write. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and their four children.

The Huffington Post said of A Small Indiscretion, “Part psychological thriller, part character study, I peeled back the pages on this book as fast as I could,” while Flavorwire raved, “The plot explodes delightfully, with suspense and a few twists . . . both juicy and beautifully-written.”

Ellison Book Cover

Nayomi Munaweera

Nayomi’s first novel, Island of a Thousand Mirrors, was long-listed for the Man Asia Literary Prize and won the Commonwealth Regional Prize for Asia. Her new novel, What Lies Between Us, is set in the idyllic hill country of Sri Lanka, where a young girl grows up surrounded by her loving family. When tragedy strikes, she and her mother seek safety by immigrating to America. There the girl reinvents herself as an American teenager, but even as she assimilates and thrives, the secrets of her past follow her into adulthood. When the past and the present collide, she sees only one terrible choice. Nayomi earned her B.A. from the University of California, Irvine and her Master’s from the University of California,

Riverside.The Huffington Post raved, “Munaweera's prose is visceral and indelible, devastatingly beautiful -- reminiscent of the glorious writings of Louise Erdrich, Amy Tan, and Alice Walker, who also find ways to truth-tell through fiction.”

what lies between us

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The Pasadena Festival of Women Authors
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