Why We Write: Roadshow – May

Purchase Tickets / Seating Limited


We’re excited to announce our spotlight speakers and guest host for the special Why We Write: Roadshow event at Cooks Chapel, Packing House, Anaheim on Wednesday, May 16. Interested in joining the Why We Write: Roadshow? Submit your essay for consideration.

Shauna Barbosa is the author of the poetry collection Cape Verdean Blues (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Southeast Review, Boulevard, Lit Hub, Lenny Letter, Awl, Colorado Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Foundry, Wildness, The Atlas Review, PANK, and others. She is a 2018 Disquiet International Luso-American fellow. Shauna received her MFA from Bennington College in Vermont and currently resides in Los Angeles, California.

Amanda Fletcher is the Emerging Voices Fellowship manager at PEN America Los Angeles. A 2012 Emerging Voices Fellow herself, she is also a former writer and editor for After Party Magazine, and her travel and feature writing have appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Orange County Register, Coast Magazine, Hippocampus Magazine, and the Ignite Magazine blog. She previously worked with a global nonprofit for which she helped young chief executives tell their stories, and she has been a moderator for the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, taught writing workshops for at-risk communities, and read sections of her memoir in progress for Tongue and Groove, Dirty Laundry Lit, Vamp, and Roar Shack. She is a graduate of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. 

Ryan Gattis is a writer & educator. His most recent novel, Safe, is a heist thriller about a DEA safecracker gone rogue, ripping off gang-owned drug safes in order to help citizens hurt during the market crash of 2008. It’s essentially Robin Hood Noir. The book is set in the same world of South Central Los Angeles as his previous novel, All Involved: A Novel of the 1992 L.A. Riots, which was grounded in 2.5 years of research & background spent with former Latino gang members, firefighters, nurses, & other L.A. citizens who lived through it. All Involved won the American Library Association’s Alex Award & the Lire Award for Noir of the Year in France; translated into 11 languages, it has been called “a high-octane speedball of a read” by The New York Times & its film rights were acquired by HBO. Gattis is also the author of Kung Fu High School (out now in the UK as Kung Fu, to be re-released in the USA in Sept. 2017).

Nancy Lynée Woo is an incorrigible optimist, a 2015 PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellow, and the author of two chapbooks, Bearing the Juice of It All (Finishing Line Press, 2016) and Rampant (Sadie Girl Press, 2014). She teaches poetry workshops called Surprise the Line and is co-founder of the Long Beach Literary Arts Center. She holds a degree in sociology from UC Santa Cruz and works as a ghostwriter, content editor and arts organizer.

Moderator, Eric Newman is a writer, researcher and PhD Candidate in English at UCLA. His works explores the intersection of race, gender and sexuality in twentieth century American literature. A former reporter for Condé Nast and Nielsen Business Media, he is currently the Gender & Sexuality editor for the Los Angeles Review of Books as well as a co-host and executive producer of the LARB Radio Hour on KPFK LA 90.7FM. He lives in Santa Monica.

Host, Michael Martin feels naked without a pen and notebook in his pocket at all times. He fell in love with words in the 1st Grade after a book writing assignment, an experience he loved so much that he wrote two. In 6th grade he accidentally joined the newspaper staff, which resulted in a seven year journalism stint through high school. In addition to making music and hand cut surrealist collages he now spends the bulk of his creative time writing. He’s written almost two million words of “Morning Pages” in the past four years, a practice he credits with giving him the focus and confidence to write and finish his first book, a road trip memoir called THE FILTHY AMERICAN: European Journeys of Drunkenness, Angst, and Dirty Laundry.



Join the community and submit, subscribe, and support the Why We Write: Roadshow and Orange County Tour. Live events will be produced throughout Orange County and feature author readings from curated essay submissions. Each event will be recorded for audio podcast and video documentary. Produced in partnership with Anaheim Packing District and The LAB.

The LAB Anti-Mall, Costa Mesa
Wednesday, April 18 / Free
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Cooks Chapel, Packing House, Anaheim
Wednesday, May 16 / $9
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

1888 Center, Orange
Wednesday, June 20 / $9
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Inspired by George Orwell’s 1946 essay “Why I Write,” we developed an introspective project to highlight our motives for writing and asked the international community to share their story and join the conversation.

Over the last month, this collaborative project received submissions from Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Denmark, England, India, Indonesia, Israel, Malta, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Scotland, Singapore, United Kingdom, and 33 States in America.

Why We Write is produced in conjunction with the 1888 Podcast Network—a curated collection of educational and entertaining podcasts. Each program is designed to provide a unique platform for industry innovators to share stories about art, literature, music, history, science, or technology.

Select episodes are presented live at the 1888 Center or around Orange County, California. All programs are recorded and archived as a free resource to download and stream on our website or with your favorite podcast app.

Artwork by David Moscati.