Thank you for joining us for the 2007 Women & Words conference. For the past year, the Executive
Committee has worked to bring you the top women authors from around the country, to share their passion
for writing, and the stories that come from their hearts. It is our pleasure to bring this spectacular event to
you in the city we love, Los Angeles. We hope that this day will become your annual celebration of women’s
words and achievements that you will look forward to year after year, and share with your friends so that
they will have a chance to join in the celebration in 2008.
Sheila Irani Lewin, Executive Director
Our Distinguished Authors
Gail Tsukiyama is the best selling and award winning author of “Women Of The
Silk”, “The Samurai’s Garden”, “The Language of Threads”, “Dreaming Water” and
the newly released “The Street Of A Thousand Blossoms”. Ms. Tsukiyama was born
in San Francisco, her mother a Chinese immigrant, her father Japanese born in Hawaii.
This multicultural upbringing is reflected in the deeply personal stories about Chinese
women, which she has been writing since her first novel, “Women of The Silk”, was
published in 1991. An unexpected bestseller, it launched her successful writing life,
winning her a prestigious Academy of American Poets award. Ms. Tsukiyama
considers herself an examiner of what she calls the lives of Early Chinese Feminists as
embodied by the silk workers in her first novel. She has also tackled the topics of the
differences between Chinese and Japanese culture, and the daily struggles of young
women growing up in WWII Hong Kong in her novel “Night Of Many Dreams.” A
resident of the San Francisco Bay area, she has been a part time lecturer in Creative
Writing at San Francisco State University, as well as a freelance book reviewer for the
San Francisco Chronicle. She was one of nine fiction authors to appear during the first
Library of Congress National Book Festival.
Nicole Mones began a textile business in China in 1977, six weeks
after the government declared an end to the Cultural Revolution. She
ran this business for eighteen years, building relationships and
learning about China, before she turned to writing about that country.
“The Last Chinese Chef” is her third novel; she is also the author of
the novels “Lost In Translation” and “A Cup Of Light”, which are in
print in ten languages. All three novels were Booksense picks. Lost In
Translation, a NY Times Notable Book and Editor’s Choice, won the
Pacific Northwest Bookseller’s Association Book Award and the
Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for best work of fiction by any American
Woman. Since 1999 Nicole has written about Chinese food for
Gourmet magazine, covering the food scenes in cities like Beijing , Shanghai , Yunnan Province , and the San Gabriel Valley. An excerpt of “The Last Chinese Chef” appeared in
Gourmet (August 2006) marking the first time Gourmet magazine has published fiction in its history of more than 60
years. In her newest novel Nicole touches the personal stories of Sam, a Chinese-American-Jewish chef and Maggie, a
widowed food writer who is suddenly confronted with a paternity claim by a Chinese family, against her late
husband’s estate. “The Last Chinese Chef” is rich with meaning and lore and an examination of loving relationships. The descriptions of food make the aromas and textures float right off the page.
Anita Amirrezvani was born in Tehran and currently lives in Northern California. She
has received fellowships from the National Arts Journalism program, the NEA’S Arts
Journalism Institute for Dance, and the Hedgebrook Foundation for Women Writers.
She was a dance critic for a decade with the San Jose Mercury News and the Contra
Costa Times. Anita’s debut novel, “The Blood Of Flowers” has been sold to publishers th Century Iran who in 24 countries. It is an enchanting story of a 14 year old girl in 17grows up in a poor village as the fastest rug-knotter. When her father dies, she and her
mother are forced to seek shelter with wealthy relatives in Isfahan, where they learned
that material riches often go hand-in-hand with a poverty of the spirit and that gender is
a cruel sorting mechanism in medieval society. The lyrical writing will draw you into
the narrator’s world, aching for her success but fearing that it may never come. It blends
strong women characters, both good and bad, with the magical Persian folktales that
help bring to life a vivid picture of the beautiful Isfahan with her river, her bridges,
mosques and gardens. As a carpet is woven together knot by knot and row by row to create a treasure, so has the
author woven us “The Blood of Flowers”, word by word, story by story. Erika Schickel is the author of “You’re Not The Boss Of Me: Adventures of a Modern
Mom”. A native of New York City and graduate of Barnard College, she started out as an actress and performance artist, working closely with The Blue Man Group developing
their seminal show, Tubes for the Astor Theater in lower Manhattan. She came to Los
Angeles in 1989 to pursue an acting career. Along the way she wrote and starred in
several one-woman shows, most notably Wild Amerika a Darwinian exploration of
mating, motherhood and monogamy. That show was later adapted for radio and produced
by LA Theater Works for their series The Play’s The Thing on NPR. Eventually Erika realized that though she loved acting, her real gift was for writing. She began placing
short pieces in several weekly newspapers, including the LA Weekly and LA City Beat.
Erika has had several pieces included in literary anthologies, including “Another City: Writing from Los Angeles ”. Many of these stories focused on her experience raising her
daughters and were gathered together for her current memoir. In “You’re Not The Boss
Of Me” she makes the everyday world of child rearing and commonplace activities such as a visit to the park or a jaunt to her local strip club with a girlfriend into funny, curious
and thought provoking encounter. As one reader put it: “If you are a Mom who can become lost in the scent of your
baby’s hair, while forgetting to wash your own, then this book is for you.” Walmart chose “You’re Not The Boss Of
Me” for their “Latest and Greatest” book promotion and the book was featured in People Magazine’s Mother’s Day
Shopping Guide. These days Erika is a regular book critic and op-ed contributor for The Los Angeles Times and The
Chicago Tribune. She also writes online for LA Observed.com, HipMama.com, and The Daily Reel.
Gabrielle Pina won the 2002 Pacificus Foundation Literary Prize for achievement in
short fiction. She is a faculty member at the University Of Southern California ’s Master
of Professional Writing Program and a member of the adjunct faculty at Pasadena City
College. Also in 2002 her thesis project “Bliss” became a novel and led to a national book
tour and a three book deal with Random House. Gabrielle’s second novel “Chasing
Sophea” has become a book club favorite with its poignant and universal themes of
revelations and reckoning. In this novel the well-crafted characters are unforgettable. The
author clearly brings to light the psyche’s protective response to trauma and the difficult
but worthwhile process the main character and her family must endure if wholeness is to
be accomplished. In the face of mental illness and maternal loss this novel proves once
again that emotional courage and an open heart can overcome all obstacles.
Merrill Markoe is an Emmy award winning writer who also authored three
books of humorous essays; the novel “It’s My F-----ing Birthday” and co
authored the novel “The Psycho Ex Game”. She has worked as a T.V.
correspondent and written for television (Late Night with David Letterman,
Newhart, Mary Taylor Moore, Moonlighting, Sex and The City, movies and
numerous publications). In her new book “Walking In Circles Before Lying
Down”, the main character, Dawn Tarnauer’s life isn’t exactly a success story.
Already twice divorced, the young Californian is too busy job hopping to start a
career, her current boyfriend insists on living “off the grid,” her Life Coach sister
perpetually interferes with incomprehensible affirmations, her eccentric mother is
busy promoting the culmination of her life’s work: The Every Holiday Tree, and her father is ending his brief third
marriage while scheduling two dates for the same night. Dawn’s only source of security and comfort is Chuck, a pit-bull mix from the pound. Filled with sharp wit, and canine conversation that would make doctor Doolittle’s jaw drop, Merrill Markoe’s engaging, cleverly written novel is about the confusing search for love and the divine acts of dogs.
Whether one is reading Merrill’s razor sharp commentary on Mel Gibson’s Drunken Rant in The Huffington Post or
viewing her endorphin producing on-line videos, Merrill’s unique perspective of life in this modern age is one that will
keep you laughing out loud.
Women & Words Past Authors:
2004: Chitra Divakaruni Liz Dolan Patt Morrison Sena Jeter Naslund Lisa See
2005: Martha Beck Denise Hamilton Helie Lee Shirley Taylor Haizlip Jane Juska Cassandra King
2006: Mary Gordon Sonia Nazario Denise Nicholas Nina Revoyr Karen Stabiner Susan Straight
GRATEFUL APPRECIATION FOR THE DEDICATION OF OUR EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
Joanna Beacom Roslyn Fanello Linda Friedman Teresa Jones Denise Neumann
Women & Words awarded six scholarships to Creative Writing Graduate Students sponsored by:
We would like to gratefully acknowledge our sponsors for their generous silent auction gifts.
Audio Books by Random House Audio Publishing Group/Books on Tape
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Petros Restaurant, 451 Manhattan Beach Blvd. Manhattan Beach CA. 90266 (310) 545-4100 Strange Invisible Perfumes, 1138 Abbott Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291 (310) 314-1505 www.siperfumes.com Younique Medical Spa, 1227 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401 (310) 434-0099 www.youniquemedspa.com
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