Voices From Leimert Park and Voices From Leimert Park Redux

By Brian Dunlap

downloadNOTE: This is the third book in Los Angeles Literature’s Black History Month series highlighting the L.A. literature written by black authors.

There are two poetry anthologies that capture the black literary talent from the headquarters of black creativity in Los Ángeles, The World Stage in Leimert Park. The anthologies, Voices from Leimert Park and Voices from Leimert Park Redux, were published 11 years apart in 2006 and in 2017. They both capture the stories, ideas and perspectives of black Los Ángeles and beyond in a myriad of poetic forms and angles.

Continue reading


In The Not Quite Dark

By Brian Dunlap

31179356NOTE: This is the second book in Los Angeles Literature’s Black History Month series highlighting the L.A. literature written by black authors.

The story collection In The Not Quite Dark by Los Ángeles native Dana Johnson is about race, specifically blackness, gentrification, love and class in L.A. Many of these stories take place downtown and weave the city’s history into their narratives.

Continue reading

If He Hollers Let Him Go

By Brian Dunlap

downloadNOTE: In honor of Black History Month, Los Angeles Literature is highlighting the city’s literature written by black writers. They have all left an indelible mark on the city of Angels. In the first installment, Los Angeles Literature is highlighting If He Hollers Let Him Go by Chester Himes.

Continue reading

Literary History: Playwright Wakako Yamauchi, Remembered For ‘And the Soul Shall Dance’

By Rafu Shimpo
From: Rafu Shimpo

Los Angeles Literature Note: This obituary of Wakako Yamauchi was published in August in L.A.’s Japanese newspaper Rafu Shimpo. Yamauchi was an important writer in the Nisei Literary community and beyond, especially in Los Ángeles, breaking out after WW II and Japanese internment. Related to the article published earlier this month titled “Literary History: Los Ángeles’ Nisei Literary Community Before WWII.”

wakako-207x300@2xGARDENA — Wakako Yamauchi, a renowned Nisei writer best known for her play “And the Soul Shall Dance,” passed away on Aug. 16 at her home in Gardena. She was 93.

She is remembered for depicting the struggles of Japanese immigrants and their children during the Great Depression and World War II, which she personally experienced.

Continue reading

Literary History: Los Ángeles’ Nisei Literary Community Before WWII

By Brian Dunlap

download (1)On the night of October 7, 1934, in Los Ángeles, “11 Nisei writers and poets, seven women and four men,” gathered to discuss the creation of a literary organization for second generation Japanese Americans. Prolific columnist and poet Mary Oyama said, “for the first time ever, creative Nesei writers sat down together at one table.”

Continue reading

Speaking up for ALOUD at the Central Library


This month marks the 25th anniversary of the reopening of the Los Angeles Central Library after a cataclysmic fire and phoenix-like rebirth. It is also the 25th anniversary of ALOUD, the library’s landmark program of conversations and performances that has played a crucial role in reviving the image of the city center as a cultural destination Continue reading

Naomi Hirahara’s Los Angeles

By Mike Sonksen
From: Los Angeles Review of Books

phpThumb_generated_thumbnailEditor’s note: Naomi Hirahara has been a pillar of the mystery community since she published her first Mas Arai novel in 2004. To commemorate her final Mas novel, I asked Mike Sonksen, a.k.a. Mike the Poet, bard and historian of contemporary Los Angeles, to go on a walk with Naomi and write a profile that would do her justice. It was a huge task, but I believe he succeeded.


NAOMI HIRAHARA IS one of the most prolific Los Angeles writers of the last few decades. Best known for her Edgar Award–winning seven-book Mas Arai crime novel series, she has also authored several nonfiction titles on Southern California Japanese-American history. Her newest Mas Arai mystery title and the final one of the series, Hiroshima Boy, was just published by Prospect Park Books in March 2018, and in April her latest nonfiction title, Life After Manzanar, was published by Heyday.

Continue reading