At the L.A. Times Festival of Books, novelists Marisa Silver ("Mary Coin") and Rachel Kushner ("The Flamethrowers") sat down to speak with book critic David Ulin.
Silver and Kushner are good friends, and they talked about being "writing buddies" as well as the influence of living in the West on their writing life. Silver's new novel, "Mary Coin," imagines the life of a woman, living in a California coastal valley town during the Great Depression, who was immortalized in a famous Dorothea Lange photo of a migrant farmworker's family. Silver, who grew up in New York, says moving to L.A. was like being a tourist in a foreign country. "You come to a place you don't know and have to figure out from the ground up."
Kushner notes that L.A.'s spaciousness and privacy helps her as a writer. She also appreciates "being an outsider from the epicenter of the art world and publishing world."
In honor of our new interactive map of literary L.A., both Kushner and Silver talked about their favorite Los Angeles-based writers, including Nathanael West and his classic "Miss Lonelyhearts."