author interviews

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

For the Weekend, we’re bringing you poetry from writer, poet, and Fresno State professor Brynn Saito.

 

 

This week on Valley Edition: we visit residents of a community surrounded by highways, agriculture fields, and oil and gas development. We learn about their grassroots efforts to find out whether those industries are polluting their air.

In Kern County, we look into the case of Supervisor Leticia Perez who faces two conflict of interest charges relating to her ties to the marijuana industry.  

We also speak to an author who knew the Marlboro Man; he was a real cowboy from the San Joaquin Valley.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

We’ve looked at how redlining has influenced the development of certain regions in the city of Fresno, but what about the history of a particular neighborhood? One tract of homes in the Tower District is turning 100 this year. Those homes, in the so-called “Wilson Island”, have been recognized for their architectural significance and the social influence of their early inhabitants.

Jeannine Raymond lives in the Tower District today, and just published a book about those homes called “Fresno's Wilson Island, and Rosanna Cooper Wilson, the Woman Behind It.”

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

On Thursday, Fresno State alumna Marisol Baca was named Fresno’s fourth poet laureate. She is the first woman to hold the title. Baca is an English instructor at Fresno City College, and the co-founder of the Women Writers of Color-Central Valley collective. Her debut book, “Tremor,” published last year, won the Three Mile Harbor Press First Book Prize.

 

Listen to the interview above to hear about Baca's plan to expand connections between Fresno's elementary school students and local poets during her two-year term.

Kaden McAllister

April is spring break month for many schools, which for some families means it’s time for a vacation. But if you’re one of those parents who finds traveling with kids to be daunting, especially when it involves setting up tents and cooking outside, one guidebook series with a spin might help you out. It’s called Adventuring With Kids, and its newest installment focuses on Yosemite National Park.

Courtesy of Bridge + Delta Publishing

When you think of civil rights leaders from the Central Valley, names like Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta probably come to mind, but another fundamental figure in the farm-labor movement was Larry Itliong. The Filipino activist co-founded the United Farm Workers of America and was pivotal in the Delano Grape Strike. His life was recently memorialized in a children’s book, “Journey For Justice: The Life of Larry Itliong," co-written by historian Dr. Dawn Bohulano Mabalon and Gayle Romasanta. The book was illustrated by Andre Sibayan.

Monica Velez

A UC Merced professor spent 18 months examining how religion mixed with political advocacy helped people who were formerly incarcerated reintegrate into society. Edward Orozco Flores explores these issues in his new book, “Jesus Saved an Ex-Con.” He spent time in LA and Chicago.

Listen to the above interview to learn more about Orozco's research and why some formerly incarcerated people wanted to use their voices to change legislation.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Ethan Chatagnier is a Fresno State graduate, and he's just added to his Central Valley connections by making Fresno and Highway 99 the setting for two of the stories in his new book, “Warnings from the Future.” Across a total of ten short stories, Chatagnier writes about ethical dilemmas and conflicted characters. In a recent interivew, the Fresno State alumnus spoke to us about his process and how he decided to incorporate familiar places into his stories.

Listen to the interview above to hear more.

We’ve become more familiar with stories and reports about how widespread the opioid crisis has become, but what about the loved ones of those caught in addiction -- their family and friends? In her first book, Central Valley author Tina Hogan Grant writes about this from her own perspective. Her book is called, "Reckless Beginnings" and it’s based in part on her own life experience watching her sister suffer from a substance use disorder.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

It can be hard to find the right kind of care for your physical health, and it can be just as challenging to find the right care for your mental health. One Fresno State alumna’s latest book is about facing that challenge herself. Sarah Fawn Montgomery is an author from California’s Central Coast, and now an assistant professor at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts.

Author and Fresno State professor Steven Church has written several books, many of them as compilations of essays. His latest is called “I’m Just Getting to the Disturbing Part: On Work, Fear, and Fatherhood."

Bradley Hart / Thomas Dunne Books

Over the last year and a half, we’ve seen how the Trump Administration has threatened to pull away from trade agreements, close borders, and champion an “America First” agenda. But this isn’t the first time that phrase has gone around. Before the attack on Pearl Harbor, many in the U.S. actually favored a similar isolationist policy, with hopes to keep the U.S. military out of World War II. And it wasn’t just isolationists touting this idea. Among their ranks were Nazi sympathizers.

Since President Donald Trump took office there’s been a lot of attention on immigration policies and undocumented people. But, these talks have actually been taking place well before Trump’s candidacy. Here speaking with us is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who also happens to be undocumented, Jose Antonio Vargas. He just released his memoir “Dear America, Notes of an Undocumented Citizen" that chronicles his life being undocumented and the emotional toll that takes on him.

Jocelyn Dettloff

On April 13th 1997, Jocelyn Dettloff’s life changed forever. On a camping trip in Sub-Saharan Africa, an accident left her paralyzed. It also put her life on a new path, inspiring others, as she describes in her book “It Rained in the Desert: One Woman's Story of Spirit and Resilience”

Little A Books - Amazon

Fresno readers likely know the name Diana Marcum from seeing her byline in the Fresno Bee. During her tenure there, her longform journalism brought insight into people’s lives with the narrative quality rarely found in newsprint. As her career took her to the LA Times, Marcum won a Pultizer for her coverage of California’s great drought.

It’s been 76 years since Japanese immigrants and Americans were incarcerated, and sent to internment, also known today as concentration camps, during World War II. They were sent there by Executive Order 9066 from President Roosevelt. The action was under the pretense of defending national security on the West Coast. It wasn’t until the war’s end in 1945 that the government  began closing the camps. A new book co-written by Heather C. Lindquist and Edgar Award winning author Naomi Hirahara examines that period after the camp’s close, and before the redress in 1988, when the U.S.

Marshall W. Johnson / Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Seventy five years ago this month, the streets of Los Angeles turned violent in an event that came to be known as the Zoot Suit Riots. The cause is still unclear, but we know this: for 10 days in 1943, white service members attacked young Latino men on the streets of Southern California, while police turned the other way. The attacks are the subject of a new young adult novel by acclaimed children’s author Margarita Engle. In 2009, the Clovis author’s book "The Surrender Tree" won the prestigious Newberry Medal, the first book by a Latina to receive the honor.

Steve Yarbrough

The Central Valley has a rich literary tradition spanning generations. From Saroyan to Levine to Arax – journalists, poets, novelists and essayists have all found great inspiration in the valley’s soil, its people and the elements - good and bad - that make the region unique. The connection often extends even after a writer leaves the valley – as is the case with acclaimed novelist Steve Yarbrough.

University of Arizona Press

Five years ago, Valley Public Radio brought you the story of one man’s search for names that it seemed had been lost to history. Fresno author Tim Z. Hernandez was searching for the families of the 28 passengers who died in a plane crash in western Fresno County in 1948. The passengers on the U.S. Immigration Service flight were Mexican nationals en route from Oakland to El Centro.

Tanya Nichols

A new novel from Fresno-based author Tanya Nichols tells the story of an attorney, her young client, and how they both must deal with tragedies in their lives. The Circle Game is Nichols' second novel, and is set here in the San Joaquin Valley. She recently joined us on Valley Edition to talk about the process of writing the book, teaching creative writing at Fresno State, and about the inspiration for the novel.

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