BookSwell is producing the WeHo Reads 2022 literary season!

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Great news! BookSwell has been selected by the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division to produce the 2022 WeHo Reads season. BookSwell founder and managing editor Cody Sisco proposed a series of eight online events on the theme of creating joy in the midst of sorrow that will take the audience on a memorable journey throughout 2022.

Literary communities have continued to struggle through difficult times and yet many writers are not only confronting sources of pain and injustice but also creating paths toward healing, lightness, and joy. We aim to recognize the contribution of writers and lift up their voices.

Stay tuned for more info!


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If you missed our events in 2020 and 2021, catch up on our YouTube channel or check out the highlights below:

  • RISING UP: Poets Take A Stand

    This reading featured four poets from different backgrounds who are concerned with issues of social justice. Lisbeth Coiman, Deborah J. Hunter, Teresa Mei Chuc, and Leonora Simonovis will share their poems of resistance to stand up to racism, dictators, and the machinery of war itself. This online event, produced by Lisbeth Coiman in collaboration with Bookswell, was free to attend via Zoom and YouTube. All proceeds from pay-what-you-will ticketed donations went to Stop AAPI Hate.


  • Times of Thirst and Desire: An Erotic Lit Fundraiser for AIDS Walk 2020

    Thursday, September 10, 20208:00 PM – 9:00 PM PDT Explore the erotic landscape of desire as depicted by Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, Tai Farnsworth, M. Kiguwa, Yesika Salgado, and Dare Williams in this AIDS Walk LA 2020 fundraiser. About this Event Following in the tradition of queer resistance and activism during the AIDS pandemic, we gather to celebrate writers exploring thirst for contact. The COVID-19 pandemic tests the boundaries of danger and desire. The benediction to “stay safe” even as we pursue intimacy feels familiar. We’ve prepared for this. We’ve lived it before. This reading will explore the erotic landscape of desire as depicted by Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, Tai Farnsworth, M. Kiguwa, Yesika Salgado, and Dare Williams. We’ll discuss how our bodies’ intersections are reshaped by social distancing and the appeal of kink and fetish and all types of subversive and defiant sexual relations. This event is free to attend. All proceeds from pay-what-you-will ticketed donations will go to APLA Health (formerly AIDS Project Los Angeles), an L.A. not-for-profit health services organization that provides a lifeline of care to LGBTQ+ patients and other underserved communities. About the Writers Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, author of Posada: Offerings of Witness and Refuge (Sundress Publications 2016), and is a former Read More …


  • YOU DOWN FOR THE CAUSE OR WHAT? Writers of color discuss allyship, featuring Sehba Sarwar, Tanya Ko Hong, Lisbeth Coiman, and Chris L. Terry

    The Black Lives Matter uprising has inspired people around the world to take to the streets and demand justice and transformational change. Companies and organizations are issuing statements of support. Social media is deluged with posts in support of the movement. As writers, it’s imperative that we pose penetrating questions not just to others but within ourselves and strive toward honesty and change, even when issues are hidden and obscured. At this gathering, writers will share their work and create space to discuss questions such as: Has the US has entered a new era of allyship? Has a new generation committed to an anti-racist future? Or are we seeing performative allyship that will fade away with the next news cycle? In a literary reading featuring Sehba Sarwar, Tanya Ko Hong, Lisbeth Coiman, and Chris L. Terry will raise questions and reflect on what it means to be an ally and how writers of color can generate and examine their work in the context of a larger movement. Audience members are encouraged to bring quotes from Black authors to share in the chat. The event is free to attend via Zoom, Facebook Live, and YouTube. All proceeds from pay-what-you-will Eventbrite tickets Read More …


  • The Arrival: A Juneteenth Reading with bridgette bianca, F. Douglas Brown, Camari Carter-Hawkins, Natashia Deón, and Ashaki M. Jackson

    June 18 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm Other Ways to Watch the Replay Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BookSwellClub/live/ YouTube: https://youtu.be/D4n920Q4Wig According to the National Museum of African American History & Culture: “Juneteenth marks our country’s second independence day. Though it has long been celebrated among the African American community, it is a history that has been marginalized and still remains largely unknown to the wider public. The legacy of Juneteenth shows the value of deep hope and urgent organizing in uncertain times.” People across America and around the world are rising up to demand justice because Black lives matter. We are celebrating Juneteenth, its history and its lessons, with poets who’ll share their words with us. At an online gathering featuring bridgette bianca, F. Douglas Brown, Camari Carter-Hawkins, Natashia Deón, and Ashaki M. Jackson, we’ll be raising money for Black Lives Matter LA and other social justice organizations. About the BookSwell Read and Relate series To keep connections alive between readers and writers during troubled times, BookSwell is organizing Read & Relate, a virtual video chat salon celebrating books, writers, and the literary life. We’ll be using Zoom to conduct the salon and the feed will also be shared via Facebook Live and YouTube. Audio and Read More …


  • Writing Better Futures in Times of Crisis

    Description Is dystopia a model for living or a warning to prevent? Could certain narratives, (such as the zombie apocalypse/every man for himself scenario) be dangerous to societal thinking? How can science fiction and speculative narratives promote community mindedness in an uncertain future? Is it the responsibility of the author to create stories with all these ideas in mind? To debate these questions, we’re gathering science fiction and speculative fiction authors who’ve written utopian and dystopian stories. BookSwell Read & Relate vidchat salon host Cody Sisco will welcome guest host Kate Maruyama along with guest authors Cecil Castellucci, Matthew Kressel, PJ Manney, Nisi Shawl, and Sherri L. Smith. Watch Now About BookSwell’s Read & Relate vidchat salon To keep connections alive between readers and writers during troubled times, BookSwell is organizing Read & Relate, a virtual video chat salon celebrating books, writers, and the literary life. We’ll be using Zoom to conduct the salon and the feed will also be shared via Facebook Live. Audio and video may be recorded and re-shared via BookSwell’s social media channels. The Exposition Park – Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Regional Library of the Los Angeles Public Library system is a collaborating partner on the Read More …


  • BookSwell Read & Relate: a salon w/ guest host Mariano Zaro from Poetry LA

    Save the date: April 24 at 6 pm What is said and what is left unsaid in poetry? How do we communicate across gulfs of understanding and secrets unspoken? How do we interpret what we hear others say? Our journeys to the present moment have all taken different twists and turns and making connections can be remarkably tenuous in our chosen homelands. Author and poet Mariano Zaro brings a potent nostalgia and intimate observations to the task of tracing a journey from his boyhood Spanish village to his coming of age and arrival in California. Join Mariano and his featured guests, including Kim Dower, Alicia Elkort, and Steven Reigns, in a discussion of our journeys, making a literary life in LA, and poetic examinations of memory and destiny. About BookSwell’s Read & Relate vidchat salon To keep connections alive between readers and writers during troubled times, BookSwell is organizing Read & Relate, a biweekly virtual video chat salon celebrating books, writers, and the literary life. We’ll be using Zoom to conduct the salon. Audio and video may be recorded and re-shared via BookSwell’s social media channels. Join Zoom Meetinghttps://zoom.us/j/824771903 Watch via Facebook Livehttps://www.facebook.com/BookSwellClub/live/ Mariano Zaro Mariano Zaro is the author of Read More …