Mystery writer Naomi Hirahara will make two local appearances this week.

On Thursday, Feb. 20, at 6 p.m. in Pfau Library Special Collections (PL4005) on the CSU San Bernardino campus, Hirahara and poet Tanya Jarrett will speak as part of the CSUSB Visiting Writer Series. The readings will be followed by questions and answers and then by an open mic – bring some of your own work to read.

Naomi HIrahara
Naomi HIrahara

Hirahara is the award-winning author of the Mas Arai mystery series, which features a curmudgeonly Japanese American gardener and Hiroshima survivor who solves crimes in his community. The third in the series, “Snakeskin Shamisen,” won an Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Paperback Original. “Murder on Bamboo Lane,” the first in her new series with a young female multiracial LAPD bicycle cop, will be released in April.

Her middle-grade book, “1001 Cranes,” was awarded honorable mention in youth literature from the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association. A former editor of The Rafu Shimpo, Hirahara has also written, edited and published several nonfiction history books. She is currently co-writing a book on the lost communities of Terminal Island for Angel City Press on behalf of the Port of Los Angeles.

Jarrett is on tour from Tennessee. Her new book of poems, “Ain’t No Grave,” explores violence, racism, and resilience among African Americans in the South.

CSUSB is located at 5500 University Parkway, San Bernardino. For more information, email

On Friday, Feb. 21, from 3 to 4 p.m., Hirahara will participate in a panel discussion on “Exile and Place: Who Gets to Speak for L.A.” at the Mark Taper Auditorium, Los Angeles Public Library, 630 W. Fifth St., Los Angeles.

The panel, part of the Writing from California Literary Conference, also features Lisa See (“Snow Flower and the Secret Fan”), Lynell George (KCET’s “Artbound”) and Hector Tobar (“The Barbarian Nurseries”), with playwright Brighde Mullins (“Rare Bird”) moderating. The writers will discuss how ideas of nativity, naturalization, and exile inform contemporary writers.

The conference, being held from Feb. 20 to 22, also features such writers as Walter Mosely and Gary Snyder. It is one of two free conferences examining the literature of Alta California, north and south — from immigration to innovation, from the desert to the coast, spanning poetry, fiction, non-fiction, print and digital. Part 1 was held in San Francisco last October.

No reservations required. Seating available on a first-come, first served basis. Attendees are encouraged to stay for as many sessions as they’d like. For more information, visit

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