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The Literary Southwest
Fall 2020 Online

Readings and conversations with writers from the west and beyond: distinctive voices, diverse backgrounds and multiple genres. All events presented admission free and open to the public


Lisa KoAn Evening with Lisa Ko

Friday, September 25, 7:00 pm

Watch live stream here | YC's Youtube channel

Lisa Ko's debut novel, The Leavers, was a finalist for the 2017 National Book Award, the 2018 Pen/Hemingway Award, and the 2017 Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Award; it won the 2016 PEN/Bellweather Prize for socially engaged fiction.

The LeaversThe Leavers was named a best book of the year by NPR, Entertainment Weekly, BuzzFeed, and the Los Angeles Times, among others. The first-generation daughter of Chinese immigrants from the Philippines, Ko's writing has appeared in Best American Short Stories 2016, The New York Times, O the Oprah Magazine, and elsewhere. Ko, a former librarian, has been awarded fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the MacDowell Colony.

Born in Queens and raised in New Jersey, she now lives in Brooklyn.


Ben FountainAn Evening with Ben Fountain

Friday, November 13, 7:00 pm

Watch live stream here | YC's Youtube channel

Ben Fountain's most recent book is a nonfiction narrative, with history, of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Beautiful Country Burn Again, which is based on his Pulitzer Prize-nominated essays and reportage on that election for The Guardian. His debut novel, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, has been called the "Catch 22 of the Iraq War." It was adapted into a 2016 feature film directed by three-time Oscar winner Ang Lee. A new novel, The Jacmel Wreck, is forthcoming in 2021.

Billy Lynn's Long Half Time WalkHe is also the author of a short story collection, Brief Encounters with Che Guevara. Fountain’s work has received the National Book Critics’ Circle Award for Fiction, the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction, the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, the PEN/Cerulli Award for Excellence in Sports Writing, an O. Henry Award, two Pushcart Prizes, and a Whiting Writer’s Award, and has been a finalist for the National Book Award in both the U.S. and the U.K. (international authors division).

His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, The Wall Street Journal, Le Monde (France), Esquire, The Paris Review, Harper’s, and elsewhere. He spent five years as a "pretty good" attorney in private practice in Dallas, Texas before embarking on his stellar writing career.


Thank you sponsors

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 2008-2020

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Al Young
  • Ofelia Zepeda