How does LA inspire new novelists?

Everyone loves a first novel. The thrill of discovering a new literary voice, the culmination of years of solitary work, and the possibility of much more to come will always be catnip for editors, reviewers, and of course readers. Beginning novelists often dedicate a large part of themselves and their family experiences to these works, which gives them a particular richness and depth. Emerging from a diverse and dynamic place like Los Angeles, early novels invite us into the hearts, minds, and backgrounds of unfamiliar neighbors, and offer us new ways to see and understand our city and our world. What is the experience – creative, intellectual, emotional – of writing a first novel, and how is it different from working on a short story, a poem or a screenplay? When novelists discover the world for the first time in a place like LA, can the city – its atmosphere, its vastness, its people – become a crucible for forging new visions and ideas? And how do these writers tackle perhaps the most daunting question: what’s next?

Early novelists Fatimah Asghar, Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemiand Ryan Lee Wong visit Zócalo and ALOUD to read excerpts from their books and discuss the excitement and challenges of releasing a first novel, what inspires their craft and why Los Angeles needed to be part of it.

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