Living Writers Series to feature acclaimed alums Elizabeth McKenzie and Kate Schatz

Elizabeth McKenzie received her B.A. in Literature from UC Santa Cruz in 1981. (Photo by G
Elizabeth McKenzie
Author Kate Schatz graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 2001 with a B.A. in Women’s Studies & C
Kate Schatz
Manuel Gonzales (Photo by Jessica Gonzales)
Manuel Gonzales
Githa Hariharan
Githa Hariharan

Out of Line--the spring edition of the Creative Writing Program’s 2016 Living Writers Series--features eight writers who generally have fun with the unexpected.

“I chose the theme ‘Out of Line’ because it characterizes the way many of these writers work across genres and generally seem to prize the element of surprise in their writing,” says literature professor Micah Perks. “I'm hoping it will encourage our students to think outside the box and have fun with their writing.”

The series kicks off on April 7 with Githa Hariharan, who was born in Coimbatore, India, and grew up in Bombay and Manila. Inspired by Italo Calvino’s writing about journeys and cities, her latest book, Almost Home: Finding A Place in the World From Kashmir to New York, combines memoir, travelogue, history, philosophy, and fiction to create layered stories about places around the globe.

Alumna Kate Schatz is a fiction writer and high school teacher, who combined her double major in feminist studies and creative writing to come up with the bestselling Rad American Women, A-Z. Her book has the distinction of being the first children’s book published by San Francisco’s famed City Lights Publishers in the company’s 60-year history. Schatz returns to UC Santa Cruz for her reading on April 14.

Manuel Gonzales, a writer in the witty tradition of George Saunders and Aimee Bender, will make an appearance on April 21. “He writes stories about wives who are made to feel small—literally--and take their terrible revenge, and passengers who live on a plane that never lands,” Perks noted. Or as one critic put it: “The 18 stories in Gonzales’s exhilarating first book, The Miniature Wife: and Other Stories, render the fantastic commonplace and the ordinary extraordinary.”

Charlie Jane Anders's first novel, All The Birds In The Sky, combines romance, sci-fi, fantasy, and dystopia in a smart novel about a witch and a tech genius who fall in love at the end of the world in San Francisco. Anders reads on April 28.

UC Santa Cruz alumna Elizabeth McKenzie is already a Baily Prize finalist for her latest novel, The Portable Veblen, receiving rave reviews from The New Yorker to the San Francisco Chronicle. Her book combines the philosophy of Thorstein Veblen with a talking squirrel to look at love, dysfunctional families, conspicuous consumption, and traumatic brain injuries. McKenzie returns to campus to read on May 12.

The series also includes Lev Grossman on May 19, the book critic at Time magazine since 2002. Grossman is the author of the New York Times bestselling The Magicians trilogy, which is now a television show on the Syfy channel.

Emerging San Francisco poets, Emily Hunt and Julien Poirier round out the series on May 26.

All of the readings will take place at the Humanities Lecture Hall on the UC Santa Cruz campus, beginning at 6 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.