Meet the Authors
Oakland native, Kevin Allardice is a winner of the Donald Barthelme Prize and has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His short stories have appeared in The Santa Monica Review, The Florida Review, Gulf Coast, The North American Review and elsewhere. His recent novella, Family Genius, Species has been described as “a wickedly funny satire of parenting and privilege, sex and politics, set in the shadow of civil unrest.” Allardice was a Henry Hoyns fellow in fiction at the University of Virginia, where he received an M.F.A. in 2010. He currently lives in Berkeley, California.
Chris Feliciano Arnold is a widely renowned journalist, essayist and fiction writer. His work has been published in The Atlantic, Harper’s, Sports Illustrated, Playboy, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle and many more. Noted in both The Best American Sports Writing and The Best American Short Stories, Arnold is a recipient of a 2014 creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He currently teaches writing in the M.F.A. programs at the University of San Francisco and Ashland University. His first book, The Third Bank of the River: Power and Survival in the Twenty-First Century Amazon, is a work of narrative nonfiction published in June 2018. Arnold resides in Northern California.
Julie Barton is the New York Times bestselling author of Dog Medicine, How My Dog Saved Me From Myself, published by Penguin in 2016. Barton has been published in Brain Child Magazine, The South Carolina Review, Louisiana Literature, Two Hawks Quarterly, Westview, The Huffington Post, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Barton has a B.A. from Kenyon College, an M.F.A. in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and an M.A. in Women’s Studies from Southern Connecticut State University. Barton lives in Northern California with her husband Greg, two children, and small menagerie of pets.
Allison Brennan, a former consultant in the California State Legislature, published her latest book Abandoned in 2018. Brennan is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than three dozen thrillers and numerous short stories. Reviewers have called her “a master of suspense.” She’s been nominated for multiple awards, including the Thriller, RWA’s Best Romantic Suspense (five times), and twice won the Daphne du Maurier award. She currently writes two series—the Lucy Kincaid thrillers and the Maxine Revere Cold Case Mysteries. Brennan currently lives in Northern California with her husband Dan and her five children.
Kirstin Chen’s second novel, Bury What We Cannot Take was named 2018 best book of the year by Entropy, Popsugar and Book Bub. She is also the author of Soy Sauce for Beginners, a Kindle First selection, and an O, The Oprah Magazine “book to pick up now.” Awarded by the Steinbeck Fellows Program, Sewanee, Hedgebrook, the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference and the National Arts Council of Singapore, Chen’s writing has appeared in Real Simple, Literary Hub and Best New Singaporean Short Stories, among others. Chen holds an M.F.A. from Emerson College and a B.A. from Stanford University. She teaches creative writing at the University of San Francisco and Ashland University. Born and raised in Singapore, Chen currently resides in San Francisco.
Gregory Crouch’s newest work, The Bonanza King: John Mackay and the Battle Over the Greatest Riches in the American West recounts the story of John Mackay, who left an impoverished life in New York to discover one of the richest caches of gold and silver in the American west. Crouch is also the author of the true-life World War II flying adventure China’s Wings, and the mountaineering memoir Enduring Patagonia. A regular book critic, Crouch has reviewed more than 30 books for the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, The New York Times Book Review, and NPR Books, among others. He is a member of the National Book Critics’ Circle. Crouch has published stories in The Atlantic, National Geographic, Smithsonian, Time, and many other publications. As a 1988 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, Crouch completed U.S. Army Airborne and Ranger School, and led two infantry platoons. Crouch lives in Walnut Creek, California with his son Ryan and wife, artist Tina Roth.
Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis is a successful wine and service professional, as well as the successful author of Ten Grapes to Know, an authoritative and entertaining introduction to wine, and the basics of tasting, buying, and pairing. Fallis studied Hotel Administration at Cornell University and received her M.S. in 1997, becoming the fifth woman in the world to earn the title of Master Sommelier. Fallis is the author of the Grape Goddess® Guides to Good Living Series, including Wine, Champagne & Sparkling Wine, and Erotic Foods. Fallis currently works as the Master Sommelier for Planet Grape LLC, a wine consulting firm. She created the alter-ego Grape Goddess®, to help bring wine “down to earth” for consumers.
Adam Fisher grew up in Silicon Valley programming computers and reading science fiction. He went east to study and pursue journalism, earning a B.A. degree from Duke University. His first book, the widely acclaimed Valley of Genius: The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley was a smash hit and “must read” for anyone in tech. Since then, Fisher has written nine books including two coloring books. He is currently Editor-in-Chief of The Winthrop Group, an archival and history consulting firm, and spends time thinking about the future, tracing its origins, and writing about it for Wired, MIT Technology Review, and The New York Times Sunday Magazine. He lives in San Rafael, California with his wife and daughter.
Called a “writing machine” by The New York Times and a “master storyteller” by the Midwest Book Review, Sofia Grant has written dozens of novels for adults and teens under the name Sophie Littlefield. She has won Anthony and RT Book Awards and been shortlisted for Edgar®, Barry, Crimespree, Macavity, and Goodreads Choice Awards. She now writes under her own name. Her latest book, The Daisy Children, is described as, “Moving…a multilayered story of heartache, hope, and healing,” by Publishers Weekly. Grant now lives in Oakland, California where she explores diners and dive bars with her friends, visits her grown-up kids, and hikes.
Vanessa Hua is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and the author of the novel, A River of Stars, and a short story collection, Deceit and Other Possibilities. For two decades, she has been writing, in journalism and fiction, about Asia and the diaspora. She has received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, the San Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award, and a Steinbeck Fellowship in Creative Writing, as well as honors from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Asian American Journalists Association. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and elsewhere. A Bay Area native, she works and teaches at the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto.
Lydia Kiesling is the editor of The Millions, an online magazine reviewing books, arts, and culture. Her debut novel, The Golden State, was longlisted for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize. Vanity Fair describes it as “a quiet adventure that tackles questions of motherhood, academic pursuits, sexism, and immigration…” Kiesling was a 2018 National Book Foundation “5 under 35” honoree. Her essays and criticism have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Guardian, Slate, Salon, The New York Times Book Review, and The Best American Essays 2016. Kiesling lives in San Francisco with her family.
R.O. Kwon is the award-wining author of The Incendiaries. Translated into five languages, Incendiaries was named a best book of the year by over forty publications. The novel is an American Booksellers Association Indie Next #1 Great Read and Indies Introduce Selection. It is a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Award for Best First Book, Los Angeles Times First Book Prize, and Northern California Independent Booksellers Association Fiction Prize. Kwon’s writing appears in The Guardian, The Paris Review, Vice, BuzzFeed, Time, and elsewhere. She has received awards and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Yaddo, MacDowell, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Sewanee Conference. Born in South Korea, she has mostly lived in the United States.
Allie Larkin is the internationally bestselling author of the novels Stay, and Why Can’t I Be You. Larkin’s third novel Swimming for Sunlight releases April 2019, and is described as a “thoughtful, charming novel about hope after loss and friendships that span generations.” Her short fiction has been published in Summerset Review and Slice, and nonfiction in the anthologies, I’m Not the Biggest Bitch in This Relationship and Author in Progress. Larkin now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, with her husband, Jeremy, and their fearful, faithful German Shepherd, Stella.
Rachel Levin is a San Francisco-based journalist who covers food, travel, trends, and the occasional rock star. Her work has been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Slate, Food & Wine, Wall Street Journal, and more. She has been a senior travel editor at Sunset magazine, a longtime contributing writer for San Francisco magazine, a founding editor at the online magazine OZY, and most recently, the San Francisco restaurant critic for Eater. She is the 2018 recipient of the Karola Saekel Craib Excellence in Food Journalism Fellowship from the San Francisco Chapter of Les Dames D’Escoffier, and her essays have been anthologized multiple times in Best Food Writing. Her first book, Look Big And Other Tips For Surviving Animal Encounters Of All Kinds was published by Ten Speed Press in Spring 2018. Levin graduated with honors from Colgate University with a degree in Philosophy. She is a member of the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto, and lives with her family in the Bay Area at the top of an absurdly steep hill.
Michael David Lukas has been a Fulbright Scholar in Turkey, a night-shift proofreader in Tel Aviv, a student at the American University of Cairo, and a waiter at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in Vermont. Translated into more than a dozen languages, his first novel The Oracle of Stamboul was a finalist for the California Book Award, the NCIBA Book of the Year Award, and the Harold U. Ribalow Prize. His second and most recent novel, The Last Watchman of Old Cairo, was published in 2018. A graduate of Brown University and the University of Maryland, he is a recipient of scholarships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Montalvo Arts Center, New York State Summer Writers’ Institute, Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and Elizabeth George Foundation. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Slate, National Geographic Traveler, and Georgia Review. He lives in Oakland and teaches at San Francisco State University.
Laura McLively is a food and nutrition expert with a unique combination of expertise in both the clinical and community health setting, and in recipe development and food writing. She is the author of the acclaimed, The Berkeley Bowl Cookbook and creator of MyBerkeleyBowl.com, both of which showcase original recipes using unusual fruits and vegetables from California’s most iconic market, Berkeley Bowl. She is passionate about sharing her love of colorful, plant-based eating with her readers, clients, and patients. As a Registered Dietitian, McLively has spent the bulk of her career delivering program development, nutrition therapy, chronic care quality improvement and panel management in the community health setting. She currently is the Nutrition and Chronic Care Quality Improvement Consultant for the Native Indian Health Center in Oakland. McLively received her B.A. in Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley and her Registered Dietician License from the University of Virginia. She lives in Oakland.
A leading oncologist at the University of California, San Francisco, Dr. Pamela Munster serves as an Associate Professor for Department of Medicine (Hematology/Oncology), Director of Early Phase Clinical Trial Program, and Associate Director of Investigational Therapeutics for Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. Munster has advised thousands of women on how to cope with the realities of breast cancer, but at age forty-eight, she too received a diagnosis of breast cancer, as well as the feared BRCA gene mutation. She realized that being a true “expert” in a disease spans far beyond the scope of her medical training. In her 2018 book Twisting Fate: My Journey with BRCA―from Breast Cancer Doctor to Patient and Back, Munster gives a personal, yet practical guide to the medical and emotional facets of this life-changing diagnosis. Having received her medical degree at the University of Bern, Switzerland, Munster now lives in the Bay Area.
Christie Nelson is an author, writer and life-long Bay Area native. In her new book, Beautiful Illusion, Nelson mixes fact and fiction, inspired by the 1939 World’s Fair on Treasure Island. Describing herself as “a San Franciscan at heart;” she was born and raised first in the Marina and then in the outside lands of Park Merced. Educated in public schools, as a teenager, she traveled by walking, riding buses, streetcars, and cable cars. Nelson received a B.A. degree in Humanities & Psychology from Dominican University in Marin, and now lives in San Rafael, California.
Micah Perks is an acclaimed author and writer. Her short stories and essays have appeared in Epoch, Zyzzyva, Tin House, The Toast, OZY and The Rumpus, amongst many journals and anthologies. She has won an NEA, five Pushcart Prize nominations, and the New Guard Machigonne 2014 Fiction Prize. Perks’ latest collection of linked short stories, True Love and Other Dreams of Miraculous Escape is a magical and funny, profound and seductive exploration of the life-bending power of love. She received her B.A. and M.F.A. from Cornell University, and now lives with her family in Santa Cruz where she co-directs the creative writing program at UC Santa Cruz.
Julia Scheeres is a journalist and nonfiction author. Her second book, A Thousand Lives: Untold Story of Jonestown, was named a “best book of the year” by several papers, and won the Northern California Independent Booksellers’ “Nonfiction Book of the Year” Award in 2012. The novel follows the experiences of five Peoples Temple members who went to Jonestown. Born in Lafayette, Indiana, Scheeres received a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a master’s in journalism from the University of Southern California. She has been a contributor to The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Wired News, and LA Weekly, and she is currently an editor at Reedsy, in Berkeley. She lives in San Francisco, California.
Chaithanya Sohan is an Electrical Engineer by day and an author by chance. Her dubut novel, America Deconstructed is a short story collection inspired by real journeys of people who immigrated to America and is released March 2019. A montage into the lives of sixteen immigrants and their journey in America, America Deconstructed has been described as “a triumph … it reveals humanity in all its raw struggles and beauty …” Sohan is working on her second novel and lives in California with her husband, child, mom and “90 pounds of German Shepherd goodness named Zed.”
High-tech executive Anna Yen has worked at a wide range of tech companies. She spearheaded investor relations for industry leaders such as Tesla Motors, Market Watch, and Pixar Animations Studios, and reported directly to some of Silicon Valley’s top leaders. She has co-founded several tech start-ups and is currently Managing Director at Ellipsis, an investor relations firm. Her first novel Sophia of Silicon Valley ̶ a lively, satirical novel about one woman’s journey storming the corridors of geek power, is based on her own experiences during the most innovative times of Silicon Valley. Yen received a B.S. degree from Santa Clara University and a Master’s in Finance at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She currently lives in San Francisco.