Five firsts: Dana Johnson on identity, code switching, and erasure

Five firsts: Dana Johnson on identity, code switching, and erasure

Every month, I interview an author I admire on her literary firsts. July’s featured writer is Dana Johnson, author of Break Any Woman Down. This award-winning short story collection is complex and provocative, often starring characters in the margins of society.  A black stripper tries to figure out what she wants...
The TNB Book Club: Get literary gems delivered to your door for under $10

The TNB Book Club: Get literary gems delivered to your door for under $10

A couple weeks ago, I got home to find a little, nondescript package at my door — a cardboard fold-up marked only with my and the return addresses. Which made me wonder: Who is Fat Possum Records and why did they send me mail and could it be anthrax? Of...
L.A. Girly Book Club: Fiction, food, and fun excursions

L.A. Girly Book Club: Fiction, food, and fun excursions

What is a book club without appies and drinks? Well, I guess it would still be a book club, technically. But if you prefer your literary discussions to take place over wine and cheese plates at a fun spot in the city, join the L.A. Girly Book Club. The Girly...
3 Summer smoothie bowls for every diet -- to match your current read

3 Summer smoothie bowls for every diet — to match your current read

Summer is my favorite season because it’s the time for all things cool: sundresses, Shakespeare in the park, and smoothie bowls for breakfast. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I like to match my smoothie to my current read. Want to do the same while procrastinating on that...
July giveaway: Dana Johnson's Break Any Woman Down

July giveaway: Dana Johnson’s Break Any Woman Down

The first time saw Dana Johnson was on a panel at Skylight Books. I can’t remember what the panel was actually about, but I remember clearly what Dana said about her MFA experience — that she didn’t go right out of college, she waited a while until she was really hungry,...
Cake Time interview with The Rumpus

Cake Time interview with The Rumpus

Thank you to The Rumpus for interviewing me about Cake Time and writing! Here’s a quick excerpt from A Funny Inevitability: In Conversation with Siel Ju: Rumpus: You ended the novel on this note of uncertainty with the character in this common adult situation, with someone who doesn’t want to...
June book reviews: Mostly New York stories

June book reviews: Mostly New York stories

Brief reviews of books by contemporary authors I read this month — along with photos of what I ate while reading. The list is ordered by the level my enjoyment: The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson (FSG, 1949) “They want attention and praise and sometimes they’ll do almost...
Belletrist: Emma Roberts starts a book club for the age of Instagram

Belletrist: Emma Roberts starts a book club for the age of Instagram

Do people read anymore? Apparently not, according to the headlines. The Washington Post reports that literary reading’s been victim to a long, steady decline (only 43% of Americans managed to read even a single literary work in an entire year!) — and The New Yorker reports statistics aren’t likely to...
#90X90LA: Summer heats up with daily lit events

#90X90LA: Summer heats up with daily lit events

Lit lovers in Los Angeles are going to be busy this summer, because a season-long series is set to bring the city 90 literary and cultural events in 90 days. Yes, an event a day for 90 days, starting July 5! Called #90X90LA, this series is put together by local...
The Book Drop: Handpicked reads delivered from an indie bookstore

The Book Drop: Handpicked reads delivered from an indie bookstore

If you’re like me, you love reading shelf talkers at independent bookstores — You know, those handwritten notes from the booksellers recommending books they love. These shelf talkers often pique my interest enough to pick up books I’ve never heard of before — and more often than not, I end...
Taste New York in L.A.: 5 new restaurants

Taste New York in L.A.: 5 new restaurants

I’ve declared June New York month because I’m in New York right now on my east coast book tour! I’ve been so excited about this trip that before flying out, I actually prepped by checking out New York restaurants that recently opened in Los Angeles. Apparently the west coast is...
Get Your Free eBook: A Guide to Literary Los Angeles

Get Your Free eBook: A Guide to Literary Los Angeles

So you’re lit-curious. Maybe you’re a young writer thinking about signing up for your first poetry workshop. Or maybe you’re already an established novelist planning to visit Southern California. Or maybe you just love reading books, and want to meet other bibliophiles. Or maybe you’re a writer simply looking for...

Hi! I’m Siel, a writer and reader.

Each month I interview an author who inspires me about the pleasures, perils, and practical hows of writing a first book — to help you forge your own creative path.

I also blog about living a literary life in Los Angeles, and give away a book I love each month! Sign up for my monthly newsletter to get entered into the drawing.

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My novel-in-stories Cake Time is available now!

Cake Time by Siel JuIndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Book club discussion questions for Cake Time

“A promising start for a brave and unapologetically bold new writer.”

Kirkus (starred review)

Cake Time is a delicious indulgence. Treat yourself to its dark, seductive intimacies and savor the gritty sugar of its unsentimental humor.”

— Jillian Lauren, NY Times bestselling author of Some Girls: My Life in a Harem, and Everything You Ever Wanted

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