I attended a fascinating conference over the weekend, one that was stimulating and depressing at the same time. It was the California Studies Association conference at
There were many incredible panels, including one on immigration and the border, one on the
But my favorite panel, of course, had to do with books. It was called Writing California, and it examined the work of four distinguished authors: John Steinbeck, Carey McWilliams, Wallace Stegner, and Mike Davis.
Rick Wartzman, a BusinessWeek columnist and former reporter for the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times, talked about his upcoming book Obscene in the Extreme: The Burning and Banning of John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath, which will be released in September. The Grapes of Wrath is set in
Phillip Fradkin, the author of a new biography about Wallace Stegner, talked about the writer and teacher. Peter Richardson, the author of a biography about the writer Carey McWilliams, talked about he was “one of the most important writers of whom we have never heard.”
UC Berkeley Professor Richard Walker discussed the works of Mike Davis, a prolific writer who came to great public attention with the publication of City of Quartz. It was wonderful to hear
What stood about these authors is that they all wrote elegantly and prolifically about
“Maybe there is no such thing as a