Living Writers Series Winter 2023

Thursdays, 5:20 to 6:55 PM  Humanities 1 Lecture Hall 206 

This event is free and open to the public. No RSVP necessary. 


January 19Jaime Cortez

Jaime Cortez is a writer and visual artist based in Watsonville, California, and the San Francisco Bay Area. His fiction, essays, and drawings have appeared in diverse publications that include Kindergarde: Experimental Writing For Children (edited 2013 by Dana Teen Lomax for Black Radish Press), No Straight Lines, a 40-year compendium of LGBT comics (edited 2012 by Justin Hall for Fantagraphics Press), Street Art San Francisco (edited 2009 by Annice Jacoby for Abrams Press), and Infinite Cities, an experimental atlas of San Francisco (edited 2010 by Rebecca Solnit for UC Berkeley Press). He wrote and illustrated the graphic novel Sexile for AIDS Project Los Angeles in 2003.

Cortez often combines humor and tragedy to tell stories of resilient survivors who exist on the margins of the economy, the law, and social acceptability. Gordo is Jaime’s debut collection of short stories. Black Cat, an imprint of Grove Atlantic Press, is the publisher of the book.

Cortez spent his early years in San Juan Bautista and Watsonville, two California farm towns where the stories are set. He received his B.A. in Communications from the University of Pennsylvania, and his fine art MFA at UC Berkeley. His website is


February 2: K-Ming Chang

K-Ming Chang is a Kundiman fellow, a Lambda Literary Award finalist, and a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree. She is the author of the New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice novel Bestiary (One World/Random House, 2020), which was longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award. In 2021, her chapbook Bone House was published by Bull City Press. Her most recent book is Gods of Want (One World/Random House, 2022). Her next books are a novel titled Organ Meats (One World) and a novella titled Cecilia (Coffee House Press). She loves folklore, vampire literature, and birdwatching in her home state of California.


February 23: Shruti Swamy

Shruti Swamy is the author of the story collection A House Is a Body, which was a finalist for the PEN/Bingham Prize, the LA Times First Fiction Award, and longlisted for the Story Prize. Her novel, The Archer, was longlisted for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, and won the California Book Award for fiction. The winner of two O. Henry Awards, her work has appeared in The Paris Review, McSweeny's, AFAR Magazine, and the New York Times.

She is the recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, A Steinbeck Fellowship from San Jose State University, and grants from the Elizabeth George Foundation, the San Francisco Arts Council, and Vassar College. She is a Kundiman Fiction Fellow, and lives in San Francisco.


March 2: Sara Freeman

Sara Freeman is a Canadian-British writer based in the United States. She graduated from Columbia University with an MFA in fiction in 2013. At Columbia, she won the Henfield Prize for the best piece of short fiction by a graduate student. Her debut novel, Tides, winner of the 2022 Bridge Book Award, was published by Grove Atlantic (US), Hamish Hamilton (Canada), and Granta (UK) in January 2022. 


March 16: Student Reading 


Sponsored by The Puknat Literary Endowment, The Porter Hitchcock Poetry Fund, The Laurie Sain Endowment, The Humanities Institute, Bookshop Santa Cruz, and Two Birds Books (where the writers' books are available for purchase)