JULIE ROBINSON, CEO/Founder
Julie Robinson is the founder and creative force behind Literary Affairs and a yearly writer’s festival, The Beverly Hills Literary Escape. She has been offering her clients a variety of intellectual and entertaining experiences to take them “Beyond the Book” for over two decades. 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 like Miraval in Arizona. Literary Affairs produces a podcast of great conversations with authors and discussions of classic literature called Beyond the Book, which can be found on their website and subscribed to on iTunes. Over the past few years 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 presents a $5000 Medici Book Club Prize each year at The Beverly Hills Literary Escape to the Best Book Club Book of the year. Julie is currently serving on the advisory board of The Council of the Library Foundation.
Julie’s intimate, highly-anticipated events at unique venues consistently sell 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, Linda Olsson, Alex Gilvarry, Robert Goolrick, T.C. Boyle, Meg Wolitzer, Tobias Wolff and Michael Cunningham to name just a few.
AMANDA MASON, Digital Media Specialist
Amanda Mason likes to refer to herself as “a Jill of all trades”, having worked in film, television, healthcare, public housing, and non-profit advocacy. 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. She lives in San Angelo, Texas, with her two dogs Bernadette and Weasley, but misses Los Angeles as one does a lost limb.
FLYNN BERRY, Facilitator
Flynn Berry is a novelist, and the author of Under the Harrow and A Double Life. Her work has been translated into seventeen languages. Both of her novels were New York Times Editors’ Picks, and Under the Harrow won the Edgar award for best first novel. Under the Harrow is currently being adapted for television by Paramount. She is a graduate of Brown University and has an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers.
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.
PETRINA CROCKFORD, NYC Facilitator
Petrina Crockford has received honors from the Rolex Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, an Amtrak residency, and she was the 2015-16 Gerald Freund Fellow at the MacDowell Colony. Her writing has appeared in the Feminist Wire, Meridian, LUMINA, and Words Without Borders, among others, and she’s written for the Paris Review. After studying English Lit. at Yale, she worked in the editorial departments at the Paris Review, Art Forum, and Knopf. She’s currently a Provost’s Fellow in Literature and Creative Writing at USC.
KIRA HOMSHER, Facilitator
Kira K. Homsher is a writer from Philadelphia, currently living in Los Angeles. She holds an M.F.A. in Fiction from Virginia Tech, where she won the University Writing Program Outstanding GTA award in recognition of her teaching. Currently, she works as Audience Editor for Longreads and The Atavist and holds editorial positions with Carve Magazine and X-R-A-Y Lit Mag.
The winner of Phoebe Journal‘s 2020 nonfiction contest and a Pushcart nominee, her writing also appears or is forthcoming in Kenyon Review Online, Indiana Review, Passages North, DIAGRAM, and others. You can find her at kirahomsher.com.
BELINDA HUIJUAN TANG, Facilitator
Belinda Huijuan Tang is a fiction writer living in Los Angeles. Her debut novel, A Map for the Missing, will be published by Penguin Press in 2022. She received her B.A. from Stanford University, a M.A. from Peking University in Beijing, and an M.F.A in Fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Truman Capote Fellow and Michener Copernicus Post-Graduate Fellow. In 2019, she was a work-study fellow at Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.
SHOSHANA OLIDORT, Facilitator
Shoshana Olidort is a writer, critic, and translator. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from Stanford University and is web editor for the Poetry Foundation. Her work has appeared in Lit Hub, the Times Literary Supplement, the Los Angeles Review of Books, World Literature Today, and the Paris Review Daily, among other publications.
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.
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.
CALLIE SISKEL, Facilitator
Callie Siskel is the author of Arctic Revival, selected by Elizabeth Alexander for a 2014 Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in the A Public Space, Ninth Letter, Yale Review, Poetry Northwest, 32 Poems, and other journals. She has received scholarships to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference.
She holds a BA in English from Yale University and an MFA in poetry from Johns Hopkins University, where she was a lecturer in the Writing Seminars. 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 poetry.
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