Past Events > Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West > USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences


Event poster

Monday, September 16, 2019

7:30 p.m., Rothenberg Room, The Huntington

Free, reservation required:

A reception and autograph session follow the program.

Join us for a chat with authors Susan Straight and Lisa See as they discuss Straight’s recent memoir, In the land of women.

In the land of women is a treasured social story and personal narrative that reads like a love song to America and indomitable women. In inland Southern California, near the desert and the Mexican border, Susan Straight, a self-described book aficionado, and Dwayne Sims, an African-American basketball player, began dating in high school. After college, they married and moved to Amherst, Massachusetts, where Straight met her teacher and mentor, James Baldwin, who encouraged her to write. Once back in Riverside, over driveway barbecues and fish fries with the big, tight-knit Sims family, Straight — and eventually his three daughters — heard the stories of Dwayne’s female ancestry for decades. Some women escaped violence in post-slavery Tennessee, some escaped murder in Jim Crow Mississippi, and some fled violent men. Straight’s mother-in-law, Alberta Sims, is the descendant at the heart of these memoirs, while other women in Straight’s family reflect the struggles and resilience of women moving forward, from Switzerland, from Canada and from the Colorado Rockies to California.

SUSAN RIGHT has published eight novels, including wireframe moon, Between Heaven and Hereand A Million Nightingales. She was a finalist for the National Book Award, the Los Angeles TimesBook Award and National Magazine Award. She is the recipient of the Robert Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award from the Los Angeles TimesBook Prize, the Edgar Prize for Best Short Story, the O. Henry Prize, the Lannan Literary Prize for Fiction, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. His stories and essays have been published inthe new yorker, The New York Timesthe Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, Granta, McSweeney’s, black clock, Harper’s, and other journals. She is professor emeritus of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside. She was born in Riverside, where she lives with her family.

LISA SEE is theNew York Timesbestselling author of The Hummingbird Lane Tea Girl, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, peony in love, Shanghai Girls, chinese dollsand dreams of joywhich debuted at No. 1. She is also the author of On the mountain of gold, which tells the story of his Chinese-American family’s move to Los Angeles. See also wrote a mystery series set in China. His books have been published in 39 languages. See received the Golden Spike Award from the Chinese Historical Association of Southern California and the History Maker’s Award from the Chinese American Museum. She was also named National Woman of the Year by the Chinese American Women’s Organization.


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