Literary LA May ’11

Another packed month:

  • Skylight Books: Thurs 5/5 7:30pm, Geoff Dyer (sometimes fiction writer but mainly essayist–his book on jazz, But Beautiful, is an all-time favorite) with a new essay collection, Otherwise Known as the Human Condition; Thurs 5/12 7:30pm, Patrick deWitt with his novel The Sisters Brothers, a reworking of the Western some are comparing to Charles Portis; Sat 5/14 5pm, new readings from West Coast litmag ZYZZYVA, and a chance to meet new editor Laura Cogan, who takes the helm from founder Howard Junker after 25 years; Thurs 5/19 7:30pm, Bret Easton Ellis reads from Imperial Bedrooms, now out in paperback
  • The New Short Fiction Series–LA’s longest-running spoken-word series–relocates to The Writers Junction in Santa Monica (1001 Colorado Ave) for its annual Emerging Voices Show, always a good time, featuring six fresh new literary voices–$10 in advance, $15 at the door.
  • ALOUD at the Central Library: Thurs 5/12 7pm, Gary Shteyngart talking about Super Sad True Love Story; Tues 5/17 7pm, Francisco Goldman, discussing what sounds like a wrenching novel, Say Her Name, inspired by his wife’s death
  • Some great readings this month at UCLA’S Hammer Museum, one of the best literary venues in town (all events at 7pm): Wed 5/11, release party for the inaugural issue of The Rattling Wall, an exciting new LA literary journal–readers include Neal Pollack, Sam Dunn, Matthew Zapruder and Lou Mathews; Tues 5/24, Norman Rush; Wed 5/25, readings from Salvatore Scibona and Karen Russell, whose new novel Swamplandia! is drawing a lot of attention; Tues 5/31, playwright/screenwriter David Mamet, in conversation with magician and frequent collaborator Ricky Jay
  • Vroman’s: Wed 5/11 7pm, Danzy Senna and her new collection of stories, You Are Free; Fri 5/20 7pm, Geraldine Brooks and Caleb’s Crossing; Sun 5/22 5pm, Emma Donoghue and her harrowing novel Room
  • Book Soup: Fri 5/20 7pm, Julie Orringer and her widely praised new novel The Invisible Bridge (I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve read from her story collection How to Breathe Underwater)
  • Last but not least, Sun 5/22, Word Theatre presents an evening of fiction by Charles Baxter, whose Gryphon: New and Selected Stories is just out; readers include JK Simmons and Baxter himself; doors at 6pm, show at 6:30; at Soho House in West Hollywood, 9200 Sunset Blvd