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About Us

About Us

In business for twenty-five years, Literary Affairs’ mission is to promote great literature and foster a community of book lovers in Southern California. The brainchild of lifelong bibliophile and entrepreneur Julie Robinson, Literary Affairs is unique in its commitment to offering a full range of services tailored to the literary lifestyle, including book clubs, conversations with acclaimed authors in intimate locales, and literary travel adventures. As facilitators of over 50 book clubs per month all over Los Angeles, we know that we are not alone in feeling that reading books enriches our lives, makes us more human and helps us better understand and have compassion for the world we live in.

Meet The Team

JULIE ROBINSON, CEO/Founder

Julie Robinson is the founder and creative force behind Literary Affairs. She has been offering her clients a variety of intellectual and entertaining experiences to take them “Beyond the Book” for twenty-five years. Julie’s sphere of influence with book buyers has long been recognized by publishers and publicists. Selection as a Literary Affairs Book of the Month or placement on her highly regarded reading list ensures a book will be chosen by hundreds of book clubs through word of mouth. Literary Affairs has highly qualified facilitators leading over 50 book clubs a month across Los Angeles and Julie creates intimate interviews and events with top writers in luxury settings as well as Literary Escapes with best-selling authors at spas and resorts. Over the years Literary Affairs produced a podcast of great conversations with authors and discussions of classic literature called Beyond the Book. Julie is proud to have partnered with The National Book Foundation through her Literary Affairs Medici Foundation to provide their after school BookUp reading program to middle school kids in South Central LA. Her foundation also presented a $5000 Medici Book Club Prize for many years at The Beverly Hills Literary Escape, a yearly book festival that Julie produced for many years. Julie is currently serving on the advisory board of The Council of the Library Foundation and hosting Charitable Round Tables to support various charities along with The Library Foundation.

Julie’s intimate, highly-anticipated events at unique venues consistently sold out. Over the years Literary Affairs has produced successful, prestigious events and book club interviews for many authors including Lisa See, Elizabeth Gilbert, Colum McCann, Ethan Canin, Mona Simpson, Abraham Verghese, Joseph O’Neill, Dinaw Mengestu, Muriel Barbery, Dara Horn, Nathan Englander, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Geraldine Brooks, Jennifer Egan, Dani Shapiro, Marisa Silver, Thrity Umrigar, Paula McLain, Celeste Ng, Lily King, Richard Blanco, Andre Dubus III, Chang-Rae Lee, Karen Joy Fowler, Maria Semple, Nancy Horan, Ruth Ozeki, Lauren Groff, Marianne Wiggins, Judith Freeman, Gail Tsukiyama, Alex Gilvarry, T.C. Boyle, Meg Wolitzer, Tobias Wolff and Michael Cunningham to name just a few.

During the pandemic she pivoted to a Books & Bathrobes online series to keep the conversations going during our isolation with bestselling authors including Lily King, Colum McCann, Kevin Wilson, Steph Cha, Madeline Miller, Emma Straub, Brit Bennett, Nick Hornby, Ayad Akhtar, and Yaa Gyasi. Julie also expanded her drop-in book clubs and a zoom program for the Beverly Hills Public Library to include readers from all over the country.

After all of these years, Julie is now the Book Club facilitator emeritus. She now works hard to train a new generation of facilitators, curate book club selections for thousands of readers and produce author events for her Charitable Round Table.

AMANDA MASON, Digital Media Specialist

Amanda Mason likes to refer to herself as “a Jill of all trades”, having worked in film, television, public housing, non-profit advocacy, and now healthcare. In addition to working as a registered nurse, Amanda designed and has managed the Literary Affairs web site since 2016. Her role with us recently expanded to include management of our newsletters and podcasts. In her free time, she bakes, loves on her dogs, eats an unhealthy amount of Tex-Mex, and works on her screen adaptation of a popular romance novel. Amanda holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations from Texas Tech University and an Associates of Applied Science in Nursing from Howard College. She lives in San Angelo, Texas, with her four dogs Bernadette, Weasley, Oliver and Otter, but misses Los Angeles as one does a lost limb.

ABIGAIL CARNEY, Facilitator

Abigail Carney is a fiction writer, screenwriter, and playwright. She received her B.A. from Yale University and her M.F.A. in Fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was an Iowa Arts Fellow and received the Deena Davison Friedman Prize for Fiction. Her plays include The Gloaming (the Lucille Lortel Theatre), Dust Can’t Kill Me (a folk musical produced at the New York Musical Festival), and Sunday Morning (the Road Theatre in Los Angeles).

ELIZABETH CRAWFORD, Facilitator

Elizabeth Crawford is a teacher, scholar, and PhD candidate in English at UCLA, where she studies aerial point of view and narrative voice in the early-twentieth-century novel. Her favorite place to be is in the classroom, emboldening students to tackle famously difficult modernist texts through close reading and critical analysis. She has received numerous accolades for her work with undergraduates and recently was awarded the prestigious UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award. When she’s not raving about Virginia Woolf, she’s digging into her other academic interests, including Anglo-Saxon literature, narrative representations of time, and the history and contemporary politics of the ISBN.

Elizabeth holds two master’s degrees, one in education from UC Santa Cruz and the other in humanities and social thought from NYU. Before that she earned her BA in English from UC Berkeley, for which she wrote an honors thesis on gender and social control in the novels of Lewis Carroll. Along the way, she worked as an assistant editor for a New York trade publisher and an eighth-grade English teacher for a middle school in the Bay Area. Despite growing up in coastal Santa Cruz, CA, she never learned to surf, opting instead for reading, hiking, and birdwatching.

KIRA HOMSHER, Facilitator

Kira K. Homsher is a writer from Philadelphia, currently living in Los Angeles. She received her B.A. from Temple University and her M.F.A. in Fiction from Virginia Tech, where she won the University Writing Program Outstanding GTA award in recognition of her teaching. She has held editorial positions with magazines such as The Believer, Carve Magazine, and X-R-A-Y Lit Mag

Kira’s work has received support from the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts and the Ragdale Foundation, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, Best Small Fictions, and the Shirley Jackson Awards. She was a finalist in contests held by The Kenyon Review, American Short Fiction, Shenandoah, and CRAFT, and her writing appears or is forthcoming in Kenyon Review Online, Indiana Review, Passages North, Longreads, and DIAGRAM, among many other magazines.

ERIN MARIE LYNCH, Facilitator

Erin Marie Lynch is the author of the poetry collection Removal Acts (Graywolf Press, October 2023). Her poems appear in POETRY, New England Review, DIAGRAM, Narrative, Poetry Daily, Best New Poets, and other publications. She has received awards and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, MacDowell, the Wurlitzer Foundation, Indigenous Nations Poets, and the Hugo House. Currently, she is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Southern California. She lives in Los Angeles.

LAURA NELSON, Facilitator

Laura is a writer, teacher, and artist living in Los Angeles. Alongside writing on film, art, and collective experiments in education, she hosts study groups, poetry readings, film screenings, residencies, and experimental spaces of learning within cities. She studied Literature as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and has a Ph.D. in American Studies from Harvard, where she taught courses on literature, film, cultural history, and education.

JESSICA PIAZZA, Facilitator

Jessica Piazza is a poet, writer and professor. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, she holds a Ph.D. in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California, where she currently teaches writing. She is the author of two full-length poetry collections: her multiple award-winning debut Interrobang, and Obliterations (co-written with Heather Aimee O’Neill), as well as the chapbook This is Not a Sky, and a children’s book, Olivia Otter Builds Her Raft. Jessica co-founded Bat City Review in Austin, TX and Gold Line Press in Los Angeles. She was the 2019 recipient of the Amy Clampitt Residency in Lenox, Massachusetts, where she spent six months working on a new poetry collection and a historical fiction novel. When Jessica isn’t writing or teaching, she’s cooking; she posts her culinary creations at @KitchenFling on Instagram. She has been a facilitator with Literary Affairs since 2012.

Jessica was recently interviewed about her experience with the Amy Clampitt Residency. Read the story at The Berkshire Eagle.

LEILANI RIEHLE, Facilitator

Leilani Riehle, like 1/3 of a cat, has had three lives. In her first one, she earned a PhD in English Literature from UCLA where she specialized in narrative form, pop culture, and nineteenth-century British novels. She wrote a dissertation on Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen (among others), received a fair amount of fellowship support, and was awarded the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award. While teaching is one of the great joys of her life, grading is not. Leilani therefore left academia and made her way as a single mother by facilitating book clubs, editing copy, touring with a band, and becoming a law school application consultant. She now works in the non-profit world of legal advocacy as the Director of Operations for the Loyola Social Justice Law Clinic. In addition to teaching, Leilani’s other passions include great books, cultural criticism, genre films, french bulldogs, and good conversation.

ONA RUSSELL, Facilitator

Ona Russell holds a PhD in literature from UC San Diego, where she also taught for many years. Several of her courses were innovative and interdisciplinary, focusing on the similarities between seemingly disparate disciplines. One such course, literature and the law, was approved by the California Bar Association for continuing legal education, so Ona took her talk on the road, speaking to lawyers around the state.

Ona is the author of three award-winning historical mysteries and one stand-alone novel as well as numerous published essays and academic articles. She is also a credentialed mediator and the host of Authors in the Tent, a five-season Literary Hub sponsored author interview video series. Among her many notable guests were Congressman Adam Schiff, Susan Straight, Hector Tobar and T.C. Boyle. Last but definitely not least, Ona is a mother, animal lover, and walks several miles a day, mainly to counteract the deleterious effects of her bagel obsession.

AMY SILVERBERG, Facilitator

Amy Silverberg is a writer and comedian based in Los Angeles. Her short fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, TriQuarterly, The Southern Review, Necessary Fiction, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and many other publications. Her short story “Suburbia!” appeared in the 2018 edition of Best American Short Stories edited by Roxane Gay, and is currently optioned for a film.

Amy’s stand-up comedy has been featured on Comedy Central, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. In 2018, she was selected as a “New Face” at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal, the largest and most prestigious festival of its kind. Former “New Faces” include Jimmy Fallon, Kevin Hart, and Ali Wong. She runs a monthly comedy show at the Hollywood Improv called “What Now?”

Amy also writes for television, most recently “The Movie Show” coming to the SYFY Channel. Currently, she is pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Southern California, where she is a Dornsife Doctoral Fellow in fiction. She’s working on a novel.

LINDSEY SKILLEN, Facilitator

Lindsey Skillen is currently pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing (Fiction) & Literature at the University of Southern California, where she has taught in the honors writing program, directed the Association of English Graduate Students, and served on the editorial board of Ricochet Editions. Her most recent publications can be found in -tele and Cosmonauts Avenue, where she was long-listed for a prize judged by Ottessa Moshfegh. She was the recipient of the Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation Scholarship for the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley workshop, and the Vaclav Havel Scholarship for the Prague Summer Program for writers, and had also received support from Tin House Summer and Winter workshops and the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop. She received an MFA in Fiction from New York University, where she was a Goldwater Fellow, Managing Editor of Washington Square Review, and a Provost Visiting Graduate Student Fellow at the NYU Global Research Institutes in London and Prague. She’s read at the L.A. Times Book Festival, the NYU Emerging Writers reading series at KGB Bar in NYC, and The Wooly and Broken Shelves in Gainesville, FL. As an undergraduate at the University of Florida her work was featured in Prairie, The Fine Print, and Tea Literary Magazine, where it was awarded the Palmetto Prize for Fiction. Her story “A Sunny Place for Shady People” was selected for publication in plain china, a national anthology of the best undergraduate writing. She was hand-selected by Joyce Carol Oates for participation in her Master Class and spent a summer reading for The Book Group Literary Agency. She has volunteered her time with Still Waters in a Storm, Women Who Submit, and as a mentor with WriteGirl.

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