Founded by Dave Eggers in 1998, McSweeney’s has become an iconic West Coast magazine, book publisher, community organizer, center for literacy, and producer of fun. McSweeney’s executive editor Jordan Bass leads a roundtable discussion with writer Kevin Moffett, 826LA executive director Joel Arquillos, and Mona Simpson, covering the magazine’s current endeavors, its involvement in community life—directly, and through its sister organization 826 National—and what it means to keep written arts a central force in twenty-first century culture.
Joel Arquillos is the executive director at 826LA, a non-profit writing and tutoring organization that serves youth ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and supports teachers by helping them get their students excited about writing. With locations in Echo Park, Mar Vista, and inside of Manual Arts Senior High School in South Los Angeles, 826LA has become the largest chapter in the 826 National network serving thousands of under-resourced youth throughout Los Angeles every year. 826LA is also the home of the Time Travel Marts — whimsical storefronts that financially support 826LA's free writing programs. Prior to relocating to Los Angeles, Joel worked alongside Dave Eggers and Ninive Calegari as Director of National Programs for 826 National. In that role, he oversaw the opening of 826 Boston, developed the evaluative tools being used at all 826 chapters, and, as a result of Dave Eggers's 2008 Ted Prize wish, he helped create OnceUponaSchool.org, a website that documents and pays tribute to collaborations between individuals and public schools. From 1998 to 2006, Joel taught social studies in the San Francisco Unified School District. Through a collaboration with the Bay Area Writing Project and the National Writing Project, Joel helped pioneer and implement curriculum using blogging and social media for learning in urban classroom settings.
Kevin Moffett's first collection of stories, Permanent Visitors, won the John Simmons Short Fiction Award, judged by George Saunders, and was long-listed for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and the Believer Book Award. His new collection, Further Interpretations of Real-Life Events was released in March 2012 from Harper Perennial. He is a frequent contributor to McSweeney's and his stories and essays have appeared in Tin House, the Harvard Review, American Short Fiction, the Chicago Tribune, the Believer, A Public Space, and in three editions of The Best American Short Stories (2006, 2009, and 2010). He has received the Nelson Algren Award, the Pushcart Prize, and a literature fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts. He won the National Magazine Award in 2010 for "Further Interpretations of Real-Life Events.” He lives in Claremont, California, with his wife and son.
Some Favorite Writers
This series of readings is organized by Mona Simpson, author of Casebook, My Hollywood, Anywhere But Here, and Off Keck Road. Readings are followed by discussions with Simpson.
This series is supported, in part, by the UCLA Department of English and Friends of English.
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