The City of West Hollywood invites community members to celebrate literature and local authors with its 2022 WeHo Reads literary series.
Featured authors and poets of the WeHo Reads 2022 season include:
- Ryka Aoki, author of the new science fiction novel Light from Uncommon Stars who was honored by the California State Senate for her work with Trans/Giving, a performance series for trans and genderqueer individuals;
- Patrick Nathan, a Lambda Literary Award finalist and author of the nonfiction book Image Control and debut novel Some Hell;
- Lynell George, whose book A Handful of Earth, A Handful of Sky delved into the creative life of cherished local author Octavia Butler;
- Lynne Thompson, current City of Los Angeles Poet Laureate, whose book of poetry, Fretwork, won the Marsh Hawk Press poetry prize; and
- Cassandra Lane, whose memoir, We Are Bridges, won the 2020 Louise Meriwether First Book Prize.
Together, these and other poets and authors are embarking on a journey of healing and creativity in the midst of sorrow. The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating a reckoning with injustice that has animated the literary scene for decades, and is highlighting the importance of creative work in shaping our ability to live through difficult times.
This year’s theme for WeHo Reads is Road to Joy. The Road to Joy will invite guest poets and authors to discuss how they create joy in their writing and in their lives and invite readers to participate and find their own paths to healing and contentment with moments of guided meditation, art appreciation, writing prompts, a photography contest, and other creative projects.
There will also be a special October 2022 event featuring a selection of poets from the Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship Program. These poets laureates were all chosen by the Academy to receive a $50,000 award to help support creative work and community engagement projects, and several of them will gather to share about the projects they created.
WeHo Reads 2022 launches on Tuesday, January 25, 2022 at 6 p.m. with poets and writers sharing songs, poems, and reflections on healing and hope. Shonda Buchanan will open the event with a song and discuss her memoir Black Indian, which explores her family’s legacy of being African Americans with American Indian roots and how they dealt with not just society’s ostracization but the consequences of this dual inheritance. Peter J. Harris will discuss the Black Man of Happiness Project’s See You campaign, which excavates historical photos of Black men “emanating a sense of joy.” Imani Tolliver will recount her intersectional and sacred journey as a Black queer woman and share excerpts from her memoir-in-verse Runaway. Imani has worked with the justice system and its intersection with the arts for more than a decade.
The series will be presented live online on the City of West Hollywood’s WeHo Arts YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/wehoarts and is produced by BookSwell, LLC.