The distinct and diverse voices of the San Fernando Valley, in particular California State University, Northridge, will be heard next week as part of Los Angeles’ celebration of the written word, Lit Crawl L.A.
The second-annual event, this year dubbed Lit Crawl L.A.:NoHo, is scheduled to take place from 7 to 11 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 22, in the North Hollywood Arts District centered along Lankershim Boulevard. Restaurants, bars, galleries, theaters and other area venues are hosting an evening of innovative presentations by some of the best writers — emerging and established — on Los Angeles County’s literary scene.
Among the evening’s offerings is “Voices From the Valley,” which will feature readings by established and emerging creative writers from CSUN’s undergraduate and graduate writing program.
English professor and acclaimed writer Martin Pousson, who organized the session, noted that CSUN is the only university to have a session spotlighting works by its students and alumni.
“The word is out,” he said. “People are recognizing the richness of diversity we have in our creative writing program, in part because of the rich diversity of our student population. In some writing programs, there is a danger that what is produced is a monolithic story or poem. But that has never been the case at CSUN.
“We see stories from veterans, poems from transgendered people,” he continued. “We see writings from people of various genders, religions, ethnicities, races and nations of origin. There is a richness of diverse intersections of identity at CSUN, and that is the power that influences the writings of our students. They speak of places and of people who haven’t had a voice before.”
“Voices From the Valley” will feature works by CSUN alumni Joseph Mattson, novelist, author of “Empty the Sun” and “Eat Hell,” and winner of a prestigious 2011 City of Los Angeles Artist’s Fellowship and finalist for the 2010 Southern California Independent Booksellers Association Fiction Award; and Kim Young, poet, author of “Night Radio,” which won the Agha Shahid Ali Prize in Poetry, and a Kate Tufts Discovery Award Finalist.
Recent CSUN grads and current students taking part in the reading are Gina Srmabekian, a graduate student in creative writing and a Glimmer Train Top 25 New Writers Short Story Award winner; Karlee Johnson, who received a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from CSUN in May and a Glimmer Train Top 25 New Writers ShortStory Award winner; Cody Deitz, a graduate student in creative writing and an Academy of American Poets Prize Honorable Mention; and Brandon Krause, who received his bachelor’s degree in creative writing from CSUN in May and is a winner of the Cargoes National Poetry Prize.
The session will be emceed by recent CSUN graduate Justin la Torre, winner of a Glimmer Train Honorable Mention New Writers Short Story Award and singer/songwriter for the band Becoming Avalon.
“Voices From the Valley” is scheduled to take place from 7 to 7:45 p.m. in Gallery 800 at the historic Lankershim Arts Center, 5108 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood.
For more information about Lit Crawl L.A.:NoHo, visit the website http://litcrawl.org/la/. For more information about “Voices From the Valley,” visit the website http://litcrawl.org/la/events/cal-state-northridge-university-distinguished-alumni-writers/.