Our Paperback L.A. Book 2 contributors hail from many eras of L.A. literary life and write from many different vantage points. They’re all in good company.
JOSÉ ARNAZ dictated some of his Recuerdos for the Bancroft Library in 1878. He was born in Spain in 1820 and studied medicine before heading to Cuba and to then-Mexican California. As a merchant, he first traded by ship up and down the coast before opening general merchandise stores in Los Angeles and San Buenaventura, where he settled. He describes the pueblo of Los Angeles in 1840 as being populated by “500 or 800 souls, nearly all native Californians.”
COLLEEN DUNN BATES, a sixth-generation Californian, is publisher, founder, and editor of Prospect Park Books. She’s worked as a writer and editor in radio, newspapers, magazines, and books. She is also the board vice president of PubWest, a board trustee of Immaculate Heart High School, and the L.A. restaurant critic for Westways. With Susan LaTempa, she is coauthor of the book Storybook Travels: From Eloise’s New York to Harry Potter’s London, Visits to 30 of the Best-Loved Landmarks in Children’s Literature, as well as several editions of The Unofficial Guide to California with Kids.
RAY BRADBURY (1920–2012) was a prolific and influential American author credited by The New York Times with bringing science fiction into the mainstream through such books as Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2004. Bradbury’s family moved to Los Angeles when he was fourteen, and when still a teen he sold a joke to The Burns and Allen Show. He wrote more than thirty books, almost 600 short stories, and many screenplays, teleplays, and other works.
HELEN EVANS BROWN (1904–1964) was a noted author of cookbooks and was especially influential in the 1950s and ’60s. With her husband, a rare-book dealer, she owned a collection of about 10,000 gastronomy books in French and English. She is best remembered for her West Coast Cook Book as well as for The Complete Book of Outdoor Cooking, which she coauthored with James Beard.
DIANA SERRA CARY is the author of several books, including Hollywood’s Children: The Inside Story of the Child Star Era; Hollywood Posse, The Story of a Gallant Band of Horsemen Who Made Movie History; What Ever Happened to Baby Peggy: The Autobiography of Hollywood’s Pioneer Child Star (the basis for the 2012 film doc Baby Peggy: The Elephant in the Room); Jackie Coogan: The World’s Boy King: A Biography of Hollywood’s Legendary Child Star; and others. She worked for many years as trade-book buyer for the University of California, San Diego. In October 2017, at 99, she self-published her first novel.
JIM GAVIN is the author of Middle Men: Stories, published in 2013. It is his debut short story collection. He was born in Long Beach, grew up in Orange, and attended Loyola Marymount in L.A. He worked after graduation at the Orange County Register. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Zoetrope, Esquire, Slice, The Mississippi Review, and ZYZZYVA. He is creator and an executive producer of the AMC series Lodge 49. (Photo by Fred Shroeder.)
WENDY GILMARTIN is a licensed architect and writer living and building in Los Angeles. A fourth-generation Angeleno, she is L.A. partner at FAR frohn&rojas, with offices in L.A., Berlin, and Santiago, Chile. She is a visiting lecturer at California Polytechnic State University, Pomona and a member of the board of directors for the L.A. Forum for Architecture and Urban Design. She contributed to the book Latitudes: An Angeleno’s Atlasand Best Practices, and she was a columnist for LA Weekly. Her articles have appeared in publications including the Los Angeles Times, Landscape Architecture Magazine, KCET’s ARTBOUND, and The Architect’s Newspaper.
ERIC GUTIERREZ has written scripts for stage, screen and television, including the mini-series “Trials” for PBS; the Imagen Award-nominated theaterwork “By the Hand of the Father;” and the ground-breaking Telemundo flagship sitcom “Los Beltran,” an ALMA and GLAAD Award nominee. As a Burton Fellow at Harvard University he authored “A Faithful Son: A Memoir of Spiritual Companionship” and delivered the Commencement Address at Harvard Divinity School. He is also author of “Disciples of the Street,” (Seabury Books) and co-editor of “Suave: The Latin Male” (Universe Publishing), a Metro Source Notable Book. The recipient of a Brody Literary Fellowship, two Utne Reader Alternative Press Awards as editor, and a three time nominee for Best Feature Writer by the Western Magazine Publishers Association, Eric formerly taught at California Institute of the Arts and now serves on the Board of the Kenan Institute for the Arts.
CHESTER HIMES (1909–1984) was the author of nearly twenty novels, dozens of short stories, and two volumes of autobiography, among which some of the best known are If He Hollers Let Him Go, a now-classic account of wartime Los Angeles as experienced by a black protagonist, and Cotton Comes to Harlem, one of a series of mysteries set in Harlem but based on two L.A. policeman he knew, written after he had self-exiled to France, where he lived for many years.
NAOMI HIRAHARA is the Edgar Award–winning author of the Mas Arai and Officer Ellie Rush mysteries, both set in Los Angeles, and is a former reporter and editor for The Rafu Shimpo, L.A.’s English-Japanese bilingual newspaper. She is also the author of biographies, reference books, and a novel for young readers, 1000 Cranes. Terminal Island: Lost Communities of Los Angeles Harbor, coauthored with Geraldine Knatz, received the Bruckman Award for Excellence in a Book about Los Angeles from the Los Angeles Public Library and the Award of Merit for Scholar/Authorship from the Conference of California Historical Societies.
PRESTON LERNER is a Los Angeles writer whose work has been published in The New York Times Magazine, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Wired, Texas Monthly, and Travel & Leisure. Formerly a contributing editor at Popular Scienceand a contributing writer at Automobile Magazine, he’s now a contributing editor at Road & Track, often covering automobile racing. He’s the author of one novel, Fools on the Hill, and five books of nonfiction. His latest book is Speed Read Ferrari.
H.E. LOUGHEED’s description of his father’s innovations for harvesting wild mustard was published in January 1951, in Westways. He was a member of the Stanford University class of 1900 and later of the Lorquin Natural History Club in Pasadena.
BENJAMIN MADLEY is associate professor of history at UCLA. Madley is a historian of Native America, the United States, and colonialism in world history. He was born in Redding, California, and lives in L.A. His book An American Genocide received the L.A. Times Book Prize for History, the Raphael Lemkin Book Award from the Institute for the Study of Genocide, the California Book Awards Gold Medal for Californiana, and other awards. The book was named a New York Times Book Review Magazine Editor’s Choice, and at the 2016 Dee-ni’ Night was designated an option for the Tolowa Dee-Ni’ Nation’s tribal gift, among other recognitions.
DANNY MARTINEZ is a freelance photographer from the Los Angeles area. His work encapsulates the gritty, the beautiful, the bizarre, and the artful that surround him at any given point. He first encountered photography on a deep level while taking a high school film photography course. He received his BA from California State University, Long Beach in 2007.
GINA B. NAHAI is a best-selling author, columnist, and emeritus professor of creative writing at USC. Her novels have been translated into eighteen languages, and she has received the Los Angeles Arts Council Award, the Persian Heritage Foundation’s Award, the Simon Rockower Award, and the Phi Kappa Phi Award. Her writings have appeared in numerous national and international publications as well as in a number of literary and academic journals and anthologies. She is a monthly columnist for the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angelesand is a three-time finalist for an L.A. Press Club award. Her most recent novel, The Luminous Heart of Jonah S., was a finalist for the Jewish Book Council’s fiction award in 2014 and long-listed for the Dublin International Literary Award.
NELLIE VAN DE GRIFT SANCHEZ (1856–1935) was a translator and romanticizer of the Californio period (Spanish Arcadia, 1929). She is best known for The Life of Mrs. Robert Louis Stevenson, a biography of her sister.
MICHELLE SHOCKED is a singer-songwriter. She lived on a houseboat in the Los Angeles harbor from 1989 to 1994.
ANN SUMMA has made award-winning portraits of the famous and not so famous for more than thirty years, has worked for many major publications, and has taught photography at Otis College of Art and Design for twenty years. Her photos documenting L.A.’s late-seventies punk subculture are collected in the book The Beautiful and the Damned. Her personal work explores underrepresented people of all ages and ethnicities working together to experience and create life as a radical departure from the stereotypes presented in mainstream media. She lives in L.A. and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
HARTMUT WALTER is a UCLA professor emeritus with research interests in biogeography, globalization impacts on nature, animal ecology, ornithology, and extinction geography. He leads bird photography walks for Samy’s Photo School and is the author of Eleonora’s Falcon: Adaptations to Prey and Habitat in a Social Raptor.