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The Literary Southwest
Fall 2021 Online

Readings and conversations with the finest writers from the West and beyond: distinctive voices, diverse backgrounds, and multiple genres. All events presented free via livestream.


Tara WestoverAn Evening with Tara Westover

Friday, September 24, 7:00 pm

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Born in Idaho to a father opposed to public education, Tara Westover never attended school. An older brother taught her to read, and after that her education was erratic and haphazard, with most of her days spent working in her father's junkyard or stewing herbs for her mother. She was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. After that first encounter with education she pursued learning for a decade, graduating magna cum laude from Brigham Young University in 2008 and subsequently winning a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. She received an MPhil from Trinity College, Cambridge in 2009, and in 2014 was awarded a PhD in history. Currently, she is a Senior Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, working on projects related to media and political polarization.

Educated - Tara WestoverIn 2018, she published her memoir, Educated, which explores her struggle to reconcile her desire for education and autonomy with her desire to be loyal to her family. Educated made its debuti at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and remained on the list for more than two years. It was also a finalist for a number of national awards, including the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. The New York Times named Educated one of the 10 Best Books of 2018, and the American Booksellers Association voted it the Nonfiction Book of the Year. TIME Magazine named Westover one of the 100 most influential people of 2018. Educated has sold more than 8 million copies and has been translated into 45 languages.


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Thank you!

The Hassayampa Institute presents The Literary Southwest is made possible by Yavapai College and the Yavapai College Foundation, with additional support provided by Peregrine Book Company.


Program Director Jim Natal

Jim Natal

Literary Southwest Program Director


Jim Natal helped found the Hassayampa Institute’s The Literary Southwest series at Yavapai College in 2008 and has served as series director since then. Prior to that he curated and co-hosted literary series and events in Los Angeles for more than 10 years.

Natal is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Spare Room: Haibun Variations and 52 Views, both written entirely in the centuries-old Japanese haibun form. His previous full-length collections include Memory and Rain; Talking Back to the Rocks; and In the Bee Trees.

He is a multi-year Pushcart Prize nominee whose poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. A former executive for the National Football League’s Creative Services Group in Los Angeles for 25 years, Natal received his MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles in 2005.

With his wife, graphic designer and book artist Tania Baban, he founded indie publishing house Conflux Press in 2003.


The Literary Southwest: Featured Writers 2008-2021

  • Kim Addonizio
  • Ralph Angel
  • Jimmy Santiago Baca
  • Dorothy Barresi
  • Beau Beausoleil
  • Marvin Bell
  • Sherwin Bitsui
  • C.J. Box
  • Gayle Brandeis
  • Ron Carlson
  • Ana Castillo
  • K. L. Cook
  • Bernard Cooper
  • Ann Cummins
  • Marsha de la O
  • Alison Hawthorne Deming
  • Natalie Diaz
  • Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
  • Mark Doty
  • Camille T. Dungy
  • Geoff Dyer
  • B. H. Fairchild
  • Janet Fitch
  • Ben Fountain
  • Alan Dean Foster
  • Diana Gabaldon
  • Richard Garcia
  • Eloise Klein Healy
  • Steve Heller
  • Laraine Herring
  • Naomi Hirahara
  • Jane Hirshfield
  • Linda Hogan
  • T. R. Hummer
  • Sean Huze
  • Joe Ide
  • Tara Ison
  • Craig Johnson
  • Lisa Ko
  • Ron Koertge
  • Jim Krusoe
  • Ilyse Kusnetz
  • Laila Lalami
  • Susan Lang
  • Layli Long Soldier
  • Anthony Marra
  • Demetria Martinez
  • Domingo Martinez
  • Gerald McDermott
  • Christopher Merrill
  • Dunya Mikhail
  • Jane Miller
  • Manuel Muñoz
  • Sean Nevin
  • Naomi Shihab Nye
  • Tommy Orange
  • Susan Orlean
  • T. Jefferson Parker
  • Jewell Parker Rhodes
  • Alberto Rios
  • Sharman Apt Russell
  • Kay Ryan
  • Benjamin Alire Saenz
  • David St. John
  • James Sallis
  • Lisa See
  • Rebecca Seiferle
  • Rebecca Skloot
  • Arthur Sze
  • Susan Terris
  • Lynne Thompson
  • Laura Tohe
  • Peter Turchi
  • Brian Turner
  • Charles Harper Webb
  • Tara Westover
  • Al Young
  • Ofelia Zepeda