Grossmont College Literary Arts Festival to Celebrate 25 Years


The Grossmont College Literary Arts Festival is back after a one-year COVID-19 hiatus, marking its 25th anniversary with virtual events starting Monday and ending Thursday.

The free festival, open to the public, is hosted by the English Department’s Creative Writing Program and highlights student poetry, memoir, literature and writings. It also provides the opportunity to hear writers from across the country discuss their inspirations and challenges.

Find registration links, writer biographies and workshop descriptions at

The schedule:

Monday, 2:15 p.m .: Gill Sotu hosts Poetry SLAM. Open to all Grossmont College students. Limited to 12 participants. The top six advance to the second round, from which a Grand Slam champion is named.
7 p.m. – 8:15 p.m. Rock novelist and biographer Jim Ruland. Host of the “Vermin on the Mount” reading series, Ruland will read from his new book, “Do What You Want” (Hachette Books 2020), a biography of the revolutionary punk group of LA Bad Religion.
Tuesday, 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m .: Playwright Matthew Salazar-Thompson. A stage actor, director, playwright and lecturer, Salazar-Thompson has written dozens of plays, with commissions including the San Diego Repertory Theater, North Coast Repertory Theater, Point Loma Playhouse, and Coronado Playhouse. “The 146 Point Flame”, based on the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire of 1911, was described in Southern Theater Magazine as one of the top 10 immigration plays.
2-3: 15 pm Lily Hoang, poet, essayist, author of fairy tales. Hoang is the author of five prose books, including “A Bestiary” and the 2016 recipient of the Cleveland State University Poetry Center Non-Fiction Book Award. In 2017, she was Mellon Scholar in Residence at Rhodes University in South Africa.
7 p.m. – 8:15 p.m. Student reading of New Voices. The outstanding student writers in this semester’s Creative Writing courses perform new and original works. A program booklet to read is provided. A Q&A follows.
Wednesday, 2:15 p.m .: Why Lit Matters student panel. Moderated by professors Lisa Ledri-Aguilar and Sarah Martin, this panel of students from Grossmont College shares moving testimonies on the role that literature has played in their career.
7 pm-8:15pm Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, poet, essayist, immigration advocate, founder of Undocupoets. Castillo is the author of the “Dulce” chapbook (BOA editions 2018), and of the “Cenzontle” collection (2018), winner of the 2017 A. Poulin Jr. award. Recipient of the Barnes and Noble Writers for Writers award, Castillo was the first undocumented student to graduate from the University of Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers Program.
Thursday, 2:15 p.m .: Julia Dixon Evans, novelist. Winner of the Magazine Award 2019 for fiction, Dixon Evans reads an excerpt from her first novel, “Comment s’flammer” (Dzanc Books, 2018). As a reporter, Evans wrote the cultural report for Voice of San Diego and covers the local arts and culture scene for KPBS.
7-8:15 p.m. Carl Phillips, poet, essayist. Queer African-American author, poet and former chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, Phillips will read an excerpt from his latest collection of poetry, “Pale Colors in a Tall Field” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2020). Phillips has written 15 internationally renowned poetry books. Four-time finalist for the National Book Award and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, his accolades include the Lambda Literary Award, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Prize for Literature, Theodore Roethke Memorial Foundation Poetry Award, the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Male Poetry and scholarships from the Guggenheim Foundation, Library of Congress, and Academy of American Poets.

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