Moderated by Eryn Brown, Editorial Director, Zócalo Public Square
Everybody loves a debut novel. The thrill of discovering a new literary voice, the culmination of years of solitary work, and the possibility of so much more to come will always be catnip to publishers, reviewers, and of course, readers. First-time novelists often pour much of themselves and their family experiences into these works—lending a particular richness and depth. Emerging from a diverse, dynamic place like Los Angeles, debut novels invite us to step into unknown neighbors’ hearts, minds, and milieus, and offer us new ways to behold and understand our city and our world. What is the experience—creative, intellectual, emotional—of writing a first novel, and how is it different than working on a short story, poem, or screenplay? When first-time novelists explore the world in a place like L.A., can the city—its mood, its vastness, its populations—become a crucible for forging new visions and ideas? And how do these writers approach perhaps the most daunting question: What’s next?
Debut novelists Fatimah Asghar, Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemi, and Ryan Lee Wong visit Zócalo and ALOUD to read from their books, and to discuss the excitement and challenges of putting out a first novel, what inspires their craft, and why Los Angeles had to be a part of it all.