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Pasadena Festival of Women Authors

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PFWA 2020 author photos and jacket art

From the Organizers:

The Pasadena Festival of Women Authors is proud to be celebrating seven award-winning women authors. The Festival will feature Madeline Miller, author of the bestselling novels Circe and The Song of Achilles as well as six other acclaimed authors — Yangsze Choo, Lydia Fitzpatrick, Myla Goldberg, Laila Lalami, Chia-Chia Lin, and Etaf Rum.

Due to the coronavirus we are not able to hold the 2020 Pasadena Festival of Women Authors that was scheduled for August 29, 2020 in person. Instead, PFWA will be presenting the 2020 author talks online. Donors to the 2020 event will be the first to receive access to the videos in early September. The videos will be made available to the public later in September.

Purchase your Book from Creating Conversations

We hope that you will support our bookstore partner, Creating Conversations by purchasing our author's books from this website. All of the authors books are listed below. Simply set up an account and then shop for your favorite books, either before you watch the author speak or afterward. Participating authors' books are listed on this page.

And, as a bonus, Creating Conversations will include a signed bookplate with each book purchase!!!




About The Pasadena Festival of Women Authors

The PFWA brings together a group of diverse, well-published authors to discuss their work with enthusiastic readers whose love of literature inspired the event. The PFWA is sponsored by the Pasadena Literary Alliance, an all-volunteer nonprofit organization. The Pasadena Festival of Women Authors recognizes the accomplishments of women authors, raises money for literary programs at community non-profits, and advances community dialogue about literature. From its inception in 2009 the PFWA has raised more than $375,000 for literary programs in the community and has presented 60 women authors to the community. The 2019 the grantees were Pasadena City College: Writer-in-Residence & Summer Creative Writing Academy, Pasadena Senior Center: The Lifetime Learning Masters Series, Pasadena Public Library: One City, One Story Program, PEN America: Emerging Writers Stipend, and WriteGirl: Writing Workshops for High School Girl.

In 2017, to meet demand, the PLA established the Open Book Series, a year-round literary salon that provides opportunities for the community to enjoy authors of all kinds — both established and emerging, national and local, men and women, writers of fiction and nonfiction — in settings that complement the author’s work or background and allow for engagement with the attendees.

See you in 2021!

On Saturday April 10, 2021, the 2021 Festival, with a whole new line up of fabulous authors, will be held at the Pasadena Convention Center. Donations to the 2020 event will be credited to the 2021 event and will include the same seating.


For more information, visit the Pasadena Literary Alliance site.


Event Date: 
Saturday, August 29, 2020 - 4:00pm
Pasadena, CA 91101
Circe Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316556323
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Back Bay Books - April 14th, 2020

"A bold and subversive retelling of the goddess's story," this #1 New York Times bestseller is "both epic and intimate in its scope, recasting the most infamous female figure from the Odyssey as a hero in her own right" (Alexandra Alter, The New York Times).


In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child -- not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power -- the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.


Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.


But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.


With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man's world.


#1 New York Times Bestseller -- named one of the Best Books of the Year by NPR, the Washington PostPeopleTime, Entertainment WeeklyBustleNewsweek, the A.V. Club, Christian Science MonitorRefinery 29, Buzzfeed, Paste, Audible, KirkusPublishers Weekly, Thrillist, NYPL, SelfReal Simple, Goodreads, Boston Globe, Electric Literature, BookPage, the Guardian, Book Riot, Seattle Times, and Business Insider.

Circe Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316556347
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown and Company - April 10th, 2018

Hardcovers available.

The Song of Achilles: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062060624
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco - August 28th, 2012

The Night Tiger: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250175465
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Flatiron Books - January 7th, 2020

The Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick

"A sumptuous garden maze of a novel that immerses readers in a complex, vanished world." --Kirkus (starred review)


An utterly transporting novel set in 1930s colonial Malaysia, perfect for fans of Isabel Allende and Min Jin Lee


Quick-witted, ambitious Ji Lin is stuck as an apprentice dressmaker, moonlighting as a dancehall girl to help pay off her mother's Mahjong debts. But when one of her dance partners accidentally leaves behind a gruesome souvenir, Ji Lin may finally get the adventure she has been longing for.


Eleven-year-old houseboy Ren is also on a mission, racing to fulfill his former master's dying wish: that Ren find the man's finger, lost years ago in an accident, and bury it with his body. Ren has 49 days to do so, or his master's soul will wander the earth forever.


As the days tick relentlessly by, a series of unexplained deaths racks the district, along with whispers of men who turn into tigers. Ji Lin and Ren's increasingly dangerous paths crisscross through lush plantations, hospital storage rooms, and ghostly dreamscapes.


Yangsze Choo's The Night Tiger pulls us into a world of servants and masters, age-old superstition and modern idealism, sibling rivalry and forbidden love. But anchoring this dazzling, propulsive novel is the intimate coming-of-age of a child and a young woman, each searching for their place in a society that would rather they stay invisible.


A work of incredible beauty... Astoundingly captivating and striking... A transcendent story of courage and connection. --Booklist (starred review)

The Night Tiger: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781250175458
Published: Flatiron Books - February 12th, 2019

Hardcovers available.

The Ghost Bride: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780062227331
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - August 5th, 2014

Feast Your Eyes: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781501197857
Published: Scribner - February 18th, 2020



2020 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence Finalist


2019 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist


"A daringly inventive parable of female creativity and motherhood" (O, The Oprah Magazine) from Myla Goldberg, the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of Bee Season, about a female photographer grappling with ambition and motherhood--a balancing act familiar to women of every generation.


Feast Your Eyes, framed as the catalogue notes from a photography show at the Museum of Modern Art, tells the life story of Lillian Preston: "America's Worst Mother, America's Bravest Mother, America's Worst Photographer, or America's Greatest Photographer, depending on who was talking." After discovering photography as a teenager through her high school's photo club, Lillian rejects her parents' expectations of college and marriage and moves to New York City in 1955. When a small gallery exhibits partially nude photographs of Lillian and her daughter Samantha, Lillian is arrested, thrust into the national spotlight, and targeted with an obscenity charge. Mother and daughter's sudden notoriety changes the course of both of their lives, and especially Lillian's career as she continues a life-long quest for artistic legitimacy and recognition.

Feast Your Eyes: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781501197840
Published: Scribner - April 16th, 2019

Hardcovers available.

Bee Season: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780385498807
Published: Anchor - May 15th, 2001

The Other Americans: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780525436034
Published: Vintage - March 17th, 2020

Late one spring night in California, Driss Guerraoui--father, husband, business owner, Moroccan immigrant--is hit and killed by a speeding car. The aftermath of his death brings together a diverse cast of characters: Guerraoui's daughter Nora, a jazz composer returning to the small town in the Mojave she thought she'd left for good; her mother, Maryam, who still pines for her life in the old country; Efraín, an undocumented witness whose fear of deportation prevents him from coming forward; Jeremy, an old friend of Nora's and an Iraqi War veteran; Coleman, a detective who is slowly discovering her son's secrets; Anderson, a neighbor trying to reconnect with his family; and the murdered man himself.


As the characters--deeply divided by race, religion, and class--tell their stories, each in their own voice, connections among them emerge. Driss's family confronts its secrets, a town faces its hypocrisies, and love--messy and unpredictable--is born. Timely, riveting, and unforgettable, The Other Americans is at once a family saga, a murder mystery, and a love story informed by the treacherous fault lines of American culture.

The Other Americans: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524747145
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Pantheon - March 26th, 2019

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Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781524747169
Published: Pantheon - September 22nd, 2020

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Lights All Night Long: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780525558750
Published: Penguin Books - February 4th, 2020

A gripping and deftly plotted narrative of family and belonging, Lights All Night Long is a dazzling debut novel from an acclaimed young writer


"Lights All Night Long is utterly brilliant and completely captivating. . . . One of the most propulsive, un-put-downable literary novels I've read in ages."--Anthony Marra, author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena


Fifteen-year-old Ilya arrives in Louisiana from his native Russia for what should be the adventure of his life: a year in America as an exchange student. But all is not right in Ilya's world: he's consumed by the fate of his older brother Vladimir, the magnetic rebel to Ilya's dutiful wunderkind, back in their tiny Russian hometown. The two have always been close, spending their days dreaming of escaping to America. But when Ilya was tapped for the exchange, Vladimir disappeared into their town's seedy, drug-plagued underworld. Just before Ilya left, the murders of three young women rocked the town's usual calm, and Vladimir found himself in prison.


With the help of Sadie, who has secrets of her own, Ilya embarks on a mission to prove Vladimir's innocence. Piecing together the timeline of the murders and Vladimir's descent into addiction, Ilya discovers the radical lengths to which Vladimir has gone to protect him--a truth he could only have learned by leaving him behind. A rich tale of belonging and the pull of homes both native and adopted, Lights All Night Long is a spellbinding story of the fierce bond between brothers determined to find a way back to each other.

Lights All Night Long: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780525558736
Published: Penguin Press - April 2nd, 2019

Hardcovers available.

The Unpassing: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780374279363
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - May 7th, 2019

Hardcovers available.

The Unpassing: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250619457
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Picador - July 21st, 2020

Finalist for the 2019 NBCC John Leonard Prize for Best First Book. Shortlisted for the Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize. One of Entertainment Weekly's 10 Best Debut Novels of 2019. Named one of the Best Books of 2019 by TIMEThe Washington Post, and Esquire. New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice.


A singularly vast and captivating novel . . . What makes Lin's novel such an important book is the extent to which it probes America's mythmaking about itself. --The New York Times Book Review

A searing debut novel that explores community, identity, and the myth of the American dream through an immigrant family in Alaska


In Chia-Chia Lin's debut novel, The Unpassing, we meet a Taiwanese immigrant family of six struggling to make ends meet on the outskirts of Anchorage, Alaska. The father, hardworking but beaten down, is employed as a plumber and repairman, while the mother, a loving, strong-willed, and unpredictably emotional matriarch, holds the house together. When ten-year-old Gavin contracts meningitis at school, he falls into a deep, nearly fatal coma. He wakes up a week later to learn that his little sister Ruby was infected, too. She did not survive.


Routine takes over for the grieving family: the siblings care for each other as they befriend a neighboring family and explore the woods; distance grows between the parents as they deal with their loss separately. But things spiral when the father, increasingly guilt ridden after Ruby's death, is sued for not properly installing a septic tank, which results in grave harm to a little boy. In the ensuing chaos, what really happened to Ruby finally emerges.


With flowing prose that evokes the terrifying beauty of the Alaskan wilderness, Lin explores the fallout after the loss of a child and the way in which a family is forced to grieve in a place that doesn't yet feel like home. Emotionally raw and subtly suspenseful, The Unpassing is a deeply felt family saga that dismisses the American dream for a harsher, but ultimately more profound, reality.

A Woman Is No Man: A Read with Jenna Pick Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062699770
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - February 4th, 2020




New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice - A Washington Post 10 Books to Read in March Newsweek Best Book of the Summer - A USA Today Best Book of the Week - A Washington Book Review Difficult-To-Put-Down Novel - A Refinery 29 Best Books of the Month - A Buzzfeed News 4 Books We Couldn't Put Down Last Month - A New Arab Best Books by Arab Authors - An Electric Lit 20 Best Debuts of the First Half of 2019 - A The Millions Most Anticipated Books of 2019

"Garnering justified comparisons to Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns... Etaf Rum's debut novel is a must-read about women mustering up the bravery to follow their inner voice." --Refinery 29

In her debut novel Etaf Rum tells the story of three generations of Palestinian-American women struggling to express their individual desires within the confines of their Arab culture in the wake of shocking intimate violence in their community--a story of culture and honor, secrets and betrayals, love and violence. Set in an America at once foreign to many and staggeringly close at hand, A Woman Is No Man is an intimate glimpse into a controlling and closed cultural world, and a universal tale about family and the ways silence and shame can destroy those we have sworn to protect.

"Where I come from, we've learned to silence ourselves. We've been taught that silence will save us. Where I come from, we keep these stories to ourselves. To tell them to the outside world is unheard of--dangerous, the ultimate shame."

Palestine, 1990. Seventeen-year-old Isra prefers reading books to entertaining the suitors her father has chosen for her. Over the course of a week, the naïve and dreamy girl finds herself quickly betrothed and married, and is soon living in Brooklyn. There Isra struggles to adapt to the expectations of her oppressive mother-in-law Fareeda and strange new husband Adam, a pressure that intensifies as she begins to have children--four daughters instead of the sons Fareeda tells Isra she must bear.

Brooklyn, 2008. Eighteen-year-old Deya, Isra's oldest daughter, must meet with potential husbands at her grandmother Fareeda's insistence, though her only desire is to go to college. Deya can't help but wonder if her options would have been different had her parents survived the car crash that killed them when Deya was only eight. But her grandmother is firm on the matter: the only way to secure a worthy future for Deya is through marriage to the right man.

But fate has a will of its own, and soon Deya will find herself on an unexpected path that leads her to shocking truths about her family--knowledge that will force her to question everything she thought she knew about her parents, the past, and her own future.

A Woman Is No Man: A Read with Jenna Pick Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062699763
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - March 5th, 2019

Hardcovers available.