Channing Tatum is known for his work both on screen as an actor and behind-the-scenes as a producer and director. His credits include the Magic Mike and Jump Street franchises; Kingsman: The Golden Circle; Foxcatcher; Hail, Caesar!; The Hateful Eight; Dear John; and The Vow. He is also a New York Times bestselling author. The One and Only Sparkella (Feiwel & Friends), illustrated by Kim Barnes, is his first children’s book. In it we’re introduced to Ella, who is very excited for her first day at a new school. She is ready. She has her glimmering pencil case, her shimmering backpack, and her glittery hair ribbons. She can’t wait to meet the other kids and share her sparkly personality, but her first day doesn’t go the way she’d hoped. Her new classmates don’t like her disco-ball shoes, her PB&J with sprinkles sandwich, or her rainbow unicorn painting. Ella decides to be less sparkly at school the next day so the other kids won’t make fun of her. But with help from her dad, she soon learns the importance of just being herself, no matter what other people say. People called it a “delightful tale that encourages kids to embrace their individuality.”
Bill Teck is a director, actor, writer, and producer known for One Day Since Yesterday: Peter Bogdanovich & the Lost American Film, Generation ñ, and A Peña Family Album: The Best of Que Pasa USA. He was a producer and host of PBS’ New Florida, USA Broadcasting’s Outloud, and NBC’s Latin Access. Teck co-wrote The Official Spanglish Dictionary and his writing has appeared in publications such as Latina, The New York Press, the Miami Herald, Rock & Rap Confidential, and Hispanic Magazine. He is also the producer-director of the upcoming music documentary Disciple: The Lives of Stevie Van Zandt.
Whitney Terrell is a writer, educator, and the author of The Good Lieutenant: A Novel, The Huntsman, and The King of Kings County. His nonfiction appears in The New York Times, Harper’s Magazine, The Washington Post, Slate, and other publications. He is also an associate professor of English at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the co-host of the Fiction/Non/Fiction podcast at LitHub.com, with V.V. Ganeshananthan.
Brad Thor is the New York Times bestselling author of 21 thrillers, including Black Ice, Near Dark, Backlash, Spymaster, The Last Patriot, and Blowback, and in 2008 shadowed a Black Ops team in Afghanistan to research his thriller The Apostle. He has also served as a member of the Department of Homeland Security’s Analytic Red Cell Unit, lectured to law enforcement organizations on future threats, and been a keynote speaker for the National Tactical Officers Association annual conference. Thor has discussed terrorism, as well as how closely his novels of international intrigue parallel the real threats facing the world today, on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, FOX News, FOX Business, CNN, and MSNBC.
Michael Torres is a poet and educator. After spending his adolescence as a graffiti artist, his debut collection of poems, An Incomplete List of Names (Beacon Press, 2020), was selected by Raquel Salas Rivera for the National Poetry Series. Currently, he’s an assistant professor in the MFA program at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and a teaching artist with the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop.
Amor Towles is the author of The New York Times bestsellers Rules of Civility, named by The Wall Street Journal as one of the best books of 2011, and A Gentleman in Moscow. An investment professional for more than 20 years, Towles now devotes himself full time to writing. In The Lincoln Highway: A Novel (Viking), a story spanning just 10 days and told from multiple points of view, we meet 18-year-old Emmett Watson. It’s June 1954, and Emmett is driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the juvenile work farm where he has just served 15 months for involuntary manslaughter. His mother long gone, his father recently deceased, and the family farm foreclosed by the bank, Emmett’s intention is to pick up his 8-year-old brother, Billy, head to California, and start their lives anew. But then Emmett discovers that two friends from the work farm had hidden in the trunk of the warden’s car, and they have a different plan for his future: A fateful journey in the opposite direction – to New York City. A starred Kirkus review called it a “remarkable blend of sweetness and doom, [the book] is packed with revelations about the American myth, the art of storytelling, and the unrelenting pull of history. An exhilarating ride through Americana.”
Valentina Trava (México, 1981) – Promotora de lectura. Licenciada en Letras y profesora de Literatura mexicana. Desde el 2016 se dedica a promover la lectura desde diferentes plataformas digitales (youtube, instagram, twitter y facebook) y a crear comunidades de lectores. Como parte de sus actividades principales, coordina de manera virtual y presencial clubes de lectura tanto en México como en el extranjero. Trava entrevistará a la escritora Carmen Posadas sobre su trayectoria literaria y también sobre su más reciente novela: La leyenda de la Peregrina.
Danny Trejo is one of Hollywood’s most recognizable, prolific, and beloved character actors. Famed for his ultra-baddie roles in series like Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, and director Robert Rodriguez’s global, billion-dollar Spy Kids and Machete film franchises. Killed on screen at least 100 times, Trejo has been shot, stabbed, hanged, chopped up, squished by an elevator, and even melted into a mass of bloody goo. Off-screen, he’s a hero beloved by recovery communities and fans alike. Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood (Atria Books), co-written with fellow actor Donal Logue, is an unsparing telling of a much more complicated story. It’s an up and down journey that starts in an abusive home and includes struggles with heroin addiction, stints in some of the country’s most notorious state prisons from an early age, global fame, and his emergence as a powerful public speaker – from prison yards to NPR – sharing his road to recovery and redemption. Director Rodriguez praised the book, noting that “Danny’s incredible life story shows that even though we may fall down at some point in our lives, it’s what we do when we stand back up that really counts.”
Gabriel Trujillo Muñoz
Gabriel Trujillo Muñoz (Mexicali, México, 1958). Narrador, poeta y ensayista. Ha escrito novelas históricas, policiacas, de fantasía y de ciencia ficción. Su obra ha sido publicada en Estados Unidos, España, Argentina, Francia, Italia, Alemania y Canadá. Entre sus obras de ficción destacan Mezquite Road (1995), Espantapájaros (1999), El festín de los cuervos (2002), Transfiguraciones (2008), Trenes perdidos en la niebla (2010), Moriremos como soles (2011), Vecindad con el abismo (2014), Música para difuntos (2014), Shiashian (2018) y El hombre fuerte del circo (2020). Es miembro correspondiente, desde 2011, de la Academia Mexicana de la Lengua.
Brian Turner is the author of My Life as a Foreign Country: A Memoir (W. W. Norton & Company), and two poetry collections, Phantom Noise and Here, Bullet. His poetry and essays have been published in The New York Times, National Geographic, Poetry Daily, The Georgia Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, and other journals. His Guernica magazine series The Kiss is now published as an anthology (The Kiss, W. W. Norton & Company).
Dawn Turner is a journalist and the author of the novels Only Twice I’ve Wished for Heaven and An Eighth of Augus. A former columnist and reporter for the Chicago Tribune, she has written commentary for The Washington Post, PBS NewsHour, CBS Sunday Morning, NPR’s Morning Edition, Chicago Tonight, and elsewhere. Three Girls from Bronzeville: A Uniquely American Memoir of Race, Fate, and Sisterhood (Simon & Schuster) is about three Black women – Dawn, tall and studious; her sister, Kim, younger by three years and headstrong as they come; and her best friend, Debra, already prom-queen pretty by third grade – friends since childhood. Third-generation daughters of the Great Migration, they come of age in the 1970s, in the warm glow of the recent civil rights movement. But promises of “friends forever” fade as fate intervenes, first slowly and then dramatically, sending them careening in wildly different directions. In examining their fortunes, Turner explores race, opportunity, friendship, sisterhood, and the forces that allow some to flourish while others falter. Publishers Weekly praised the book, saying “by turns beautiful, tragic, and inspiring, [It] is a powerful testament to the bonds of sisterhood and the importance of understanding the conditions that shape a person’s life choices.”
Shelly Tygielski is the founder of Pandemic of Love, which has been featured on The Kelly Clarkson Show, CBS This Morning, CNN Heroes, and Upworthy. She was called one of the “12 Powerful Women of the Mindfulness Movement” by Mindful.org and has appeared in The New York Times and The Washington Post. The practice of mindfulness is most often touted for its profound mind, body, and spirit benefits. In Sit Down to Rise Up: How Radical Self-Care Can Change the World (New World Library), Tygielski shows that mindfulness can also be a powerful tool for spurring transformative collective action, and asserts that profound social change can be achieved by looking inward. In this memoir-manifesto-how-to mashup, she shares her evolution from a Jerusalem-born child of traditional Sephardic Orthodox parents to a middle-class American suburban youth to an executive in corporate America. As Tygielski used self-help practices to heal from physical and emotional challenges, she realized that finding true health and peace is not a solo endeavor, but rather one that lives in connection with others. She tells us her practice began as “me” work and evolved into “we” work – and that this is possible for all of us.
Neda Ulaby reports on arts, entertainment, and cultural trends for NPR’s Arts Desk. Her radio and online stories explore political and economic realities, cultural issues, obsessions, and transitions. She also hosts Culturetopia, a podcast of NPR’s best arts stories. Before joining NPR, Ulaby worked as managing editor of Chicago’s Windy City Times and co-hosted a local radio program, What’s Coming Out at the Movies.
Luis Alberto Urrea
Luis Alberto Urrea is the author of 17 books – including his most recent one, The House of Broken Angels – and he has won numerous awards for his poetry, fiction, and essays. His landmark work, The Devil's Highway: A True Story, a nonfiction account of a group of Mexican immigrants lost in the Arizona desert, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
David Valdes is the author of the nonfiction books Homo Domesticus, The Rhinestone Sisterhood, and the Today Show pick A Little Fruitcake, as well as a dozen produced plays. A former Boston Globe columnist and Huffington Post blogger whose posts have received more than a million hits, he currently writes for Medium. Spin Me Right Around (Bloomsbury Y.A.) is a young adult novel that suggests a back to the future with a twist, as Luis Gonzalez, a gay teen, travels to his parents’ teenage era to save a closeted classmate’s life. All Luis wants is to go to prom with his boyfriend, something his “progressive” school still doesn’t allow. Not after what happened with Chaz Wilson. But that was ages ago, when Luis’ parents were in high school; it would never happen today, right? He’s determined to find a way to give his LGBTQ friends the respect they deserve. When a hit on the head knocks him back in time to 1985, he meets the doomed young Chaz himself and the homophobes running the campus, including Gordo, aka Luis’ estranged father. It turns out a conservative school in the ’80s isn’t the safest place to be a gay kid – and Luis is in over his head. Kirkus called it “a page-turner … A great read offering entertainment, encouragement, and plenty to reflect upon.”
Keila Vall de la Ville
Keila Vall de la Ville is a Venezuelan-born author. She has edited the anthologies Entre el aliento y el precipicio/Poéticas sobre la belleza (Between the Breath and the Abyss/Poetics on Beauty) and 102 Poetas Jamming, and her fiction and nonfiction work has been included in several American and European anthologies. She is also a columnist for ViceVersa and the Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional. Her novel Los días animales, which won the International Latino Book Awards for Best Novel 2018, has now been translated into English as The Animal Days (Katana Editores). It chronicles a woman’s story of movement, as both a lifestyle and a rite of passage, as it follows Julia’s journey of love and rock climbing across three continents. Joy is linked to self-destruction, love is inseparable from death, freedom is twinned with unbearable solitude, and life is worth only as much as a given moment. The taste for risk and vertigo never stop: they feed each other as the abyss approaches. Julia, determined to never look back, lives perpetually on the brink, even if it means shedding her own skin in the process. Alberto Barrera Tyzka, recipient of the Tusquets and Alfaguara prizes, called it “a moving story about love, violence, freedom, and self-discovery.”
Stevie Van Zandt
Stevie Van Zandt is a musician, songwriter, actor, radio host, and activist. He is best known as the guitarist of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and the lead member of Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul. He is also known for his acting work, most notably in The Sopranos and Lilyhammer; his radio work as the host of Little Steven’s Underground Garage; and his devotion to music education through the TeachRock.org music history curriculum. In 2014, he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Unrequited Infatuations: A Memoir (Hachette Books) chronicles his remarkable story, one that begins in a bedroom in suburban New Jersey in the early 1960s and unfolds on some of the country’s biggest stages. While still a teenager, Van Zandt met Bruce Springsteen, a like-minded outcast/true believer who became one of his most important friends and bandmates. As “Miami Steve,” Van Zandt anchored the E Street Band as it conquered the world of rock and roll. In time, he used his fame to push for change, masterminding the recording of the anti-apartheid anthem “Sun City” and developing a curriculum to teach students of all ages through the medium of music history. Paul McCartney said “Unrequited Infatuations is a wonderfully original take on a Rock ’n’ Roll autobiography.”
Raquel Vasquez Gilliland
Raquel Vasquez Gilliland is a Mexican American poet, novelist, and painter. She has published two collections of prose: Dirt and Honey: Poems and Tales From the House of Vasquez. Her previous young adult novel is Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything. Moon, the central character in How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers), accepts her fate as the ugly, unwanted sister hidden in the background of her twin, a social media star. But when she takes a job on a tour bus full of beautiful influencers, her unexpected bunkmate and new nemesis is the grumpy and hot Santiago. As chance and destiny bring them together, she starts to question her fate as the unnoticed, unloved wallflower. Booklist praised it as “amazingly realistic; this book is the coming-of-age story that teens need, wrapped in a gorgeously poetic package.”
Claire Vaye Watkins
Claire Vaye Watkins is the author of Gold Fame Citrus: A Novel and the short story collection Battleborn. In I Love You but I’ve Chosen Darkness: A Novel (Riverhead Books), a writer leaves behind her husband and infant daughter to get on a flight for a speaking engagement in Reno, not carrying much besides a breast pump and a spiraling case of postpartum depression. We follow her in her temporary escape from domestic duties as she grabs at the opportunity to reconnect with old friends. Soon, she’s on an extended romp away from the confines of marriage and motherhood – and embarking on a seemingly bottomless descent into the past. Deep in the Mojave Desert where she grew up, she meets ghosts at every turn. She can’t go back in time to make any of it right; what is her way forward? But it’s when she’s alone in the wilderness that she begins to make herself at home in the world at last. Booklist called it a “wily fusion of autobiography and imagination. [Watkins is] reckless, infuriating, ribald, incisive, and hilarious. In the spirit of Edward Abbey, Hunter Thompson, and Joy Williams, Watkins has forged a desert tale of howling pain and a chaotic quest for healing mythic in its summoning of female power in a realm of double-wides, loaded dice, broken glass, and hot springs.”
Lourdes Vázquez (Puerto Rico) – Poeta y narradora. Reside en Estados Unidos. Entre sus últimos libros se encuentran Adagio con fugas y ciertos afectos (2019) y Not Myself Without You (2012). Una selección de su poesía ha sido publicada en italiano: Appunti dalla Terra Frammentata (2012); así como la crónica The Tango Files ( 2016). Recibió el Premio Juan Rulfo de cuento, así como menciones de honor para su poesía. En la Feria del Libro de Miami comparte Orígenes de lo eterno y así las cosas (Editorial Verbum, 2020), una colección de cuentos que busca en hechos y documentos de limitada trascendencia dialogar con el pasado y redimir la soledad de estos tiempos.
Nuyorican poet Elisabet Velasquez has performed her work in many places, including Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Pregones Theatre, Brooklyn Museum, American Museum of Natural History, the Nuyorican Poets Café, and Rutgers, Williams College, Princeton, James Madison University, and Harvard. When We Make It (Dial Books) is her debut young adult novel-in-verse. Sarai is a first-generation Puerto Rican eighth-grader growing up in Bushwick, Brooklyn, in the 1990s, watching the truth, pain, and beauty of the world both inside and outside her apartment. She questions the society around her, her Nuyorican identity, toxic masculinity, and housing insecurity in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood. A love letter to anyone who was taught to believe that they would not make it, the book speaks to those who feel their emotions before they can name them, and to those who still may not have all the words but still have a story to tell. Kirkus called it “raw, breathtaking, and brilliant. ... Velasquez, a Bushwick native herself, tells a real, on-the-block narrative of the neighborhood through Sarai, with biting pieces that masterfully weave themes of religion, street life, sexual assault, language, poverty, the complexities of Boricua/Puerto Rican/Nuyorican identity, and so much more.”
Isvett Verde is a staff editor of The New York Times opinion section. She is also a contributor to Home in Florida: Latinx Writers and the Literature of Uprootedness (University of Florida Press). The collection showcases what editor Anjanette Delgado calls “literatura del desarraigo,” a Spanish literary tradition. Home in Florida features fiction, nonfiction, and poetry by Verde, Richard Blanco, Jennine Capó Crucet, Ana Menéndez, Achy Obejas, and many others. These writers – first-, second-, and third-generation immigrants to Florida from places such as Cuba, Mexico, Honduras, Perú, Argentina, and Chile – reflect the diversity of Latinx experiences across the state. Together, they explore what exactly makes Florida home for those struggling between memory and presence.
Vendela Vida is the author of six books, including Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name and The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty. She is a founding editor of The Believer and co-editor of The Believer Book of Writers Talking to Writers and Confidence, or the Appearance of Confidence: The Best of the Believer Music Interviews, as well as a founding board member of 826 Valencia, the San Francisco writing center for youth. In We Run the Tides: A Novel (Ecco), Vida has crafted an achingly beautiful story of female friendship and betrayal, set in the changing landscape of San Francisco. Walking to school in their foggy oceanside neighborhood, teenagers Eulabee and Maria Fabiola witness a horrible act. Or did they? The girls can’t agree on what happened, and their rupture is followed by Maria Fabiola’s sudden disappearance, which rocks their quiet community and exposes unspoken truths. Suspenseful and poignant, Tides is a masterful portrait of a place on the brink of radical transformation – mirrored by the changing lives of the teenage girls at its center – that speaks to innocence lost, the pain of too much freedom, and the struggle to find one’s authentic self.
José A. Villar-Portela
José A. Villar-Portela is a poet, translator, and editor. He serves as the editor/translator of the O, Miami Poetry Festival, editor of Jai-Alai Magazine, assistant editor and head of Spanish-language acquisitions of Jai-Alai Books, and the programming director of Reading Queer.
Devon Walker-Figueroa’s poems have appeared in various publications, including The Nation, POETRY, The American Poetry Review, the Lana Turner journal, and Ploughshares. Philomath: Poems (Milkweed Editions), her debut collection, was selected for the 2020 National Poetry Series by Sally Keith. In Philomath, Walker-Figueroa offers reflections of overgrowth and the places that haunt us. Beginning with the town that lends its name to the book, she wanders out into fields and farmland and beyond, guiding readers toward a kind of witness that doesn’t flinch from the bleak or bizarre. She writes in quiet awe of nature, of memory, and beauty and the poet’s (sometimes reluctant) obligation “to keep an eye / on what is left” of the people and places that have impacted us.
Dawnie Walton is a fiction writer and journalist whose work explores identity, place, and the influence of pop culture. She has also been an executive-level editor for magazine and multimedia brands that include Essence, Entertainment Weekly, Getty Images, and LIFE. Fiercely independent Opal, the central character in Walton’s The Final Revival of Opal & Nev (37 Ink), pushes against the grain in her style and attitude, the very embodiment of Afro-punk before the term existed. She believes she can be a star. So when aspiring British singer/songwriter Neville Charles discovers her at a bar’s amateur night, she takes him up on his offer to make rock music together for the fledgling Rivington Records. But then a violent, life-changing incident – sparked by a rival band signed to her label brandishing a Confederate flag at a concert – throws her dreams into chaos. It will change the lives of those she loves, and be a deadly reminder that repercussions are always harsher for women. Especially Black women who dare to speak their truth. The New Yorker called it a “lively take on the music industry’s commercialism, racism, and sexism, and also a commentary on how history and memory are refracted through changing cultural currents.”
Cora and Quinn, the main characters in Jasmine Warga’s The Shape of Thunder (Balzer + Bray), are best friends but haven’t spoken in a year. They live next door to each other, but they exist in separate worlds of grief. Cora is still grappling with the death of her sister in a school shooting, and Quinn is carrying the guilt of what her brother did. On Cora’s 12th birthday, Quinn leaves a box on her doorstep with a note. She's decided that the only way to fix things is to go back in time to the moment before her brother changed all their lives forever – and stop him. Despite herself, Cora wants to believe. And so, the two former friends begin working together to open a wormhole in the fabric of the universe. But as they attempt to unravel the mysteries of time travel to save their siblings, they learn that the magic of their friendship may be the key to saving themselves. Publishers Weekly noted that “Warga’s lyrical language and credible rendering of both middle school life and of the tensions of two families coping differently with personal devastation make for a perceptive, sensitively told novel about the effects of gun violence.”
Elizabeth Warren is the senior senator from Massachusetts and a former presidential candidate. She is the author of a dozen books, including A Fighting Chance and This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class, both of which were national bestsellers. Polly, the protagonist of Warren and illustrator Charlene Chua’s Pinkie Promises (Henry Holt and Co./BYR), knows she’s strong and capable. But whenever she offers to help her uncle or brother or neighbor, they tell her: “That’s not what girls do.” Then Polly goes to a rally to meet a woman running for president, and they make a pinkie promise to remember all the things that girls do. The story is based on Warren’s real-life experience as a presidential candidate. In an interview with People, she mentioned that whenever she’d meet a young girl on the campaign trail, “I’d drop down to my knees and ask her name and then say, ‘My name is Elizabeth, and I’m running for president because that’s what girls do.’ And then we do pinky promises. … It’s a reminder that for a long time women have been shut out of the process, devalued, told to be quiet. We’re just not doing that anymore.”