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Susi Q launches inaugural “Evening with an Author” series featuring novelist Susan Straight

The Susi Q will launch its new “Evening with an Author” series in March, and is delighted to announce that award-winning novelist Susan Straight, author of more than eight books published to world-wide acclaim, has agreed to speak at the inaugural event.

“As a voracious reader, like so many of the people who attend the Susi Q’s many creative and educational programs, it’s long been a dream of mine to host an author series in Laguna Beach,” said Nadia Babayi, executive director of Laguna Beach Seniors at the Susi Q. “We’re a town known for our appreciation of the arts and I believe our ‘Evening with an Author’ series has the potential to become a fixture in our annual literary calendar. I see this series as complementing the wonderful AAUW literary luncheon that is held every year.”

Straight’s new novel, Mecca, published last year by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, was named by The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times as one of the Best Ten Books of 2022, as well as a best book of the year by NPR. Straight’s 2019 memoir, In the Country of Women, was a national bestseller, named an NPR best book of the year. Her work has been translated into Italian, French, Spanish, German, Turkish, Arabic, Swedish, Polish and Japanese. 

Susi Q launches

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Author Susan Straight

Straight is renowned for her incisive and insightful fictional forays into the life and times of her ethnically mixed community. She was born in Riverside, Calif., where she lives with her family, serving as Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at UC Riverside.

“I feel lucky every day to have been raised in Southern California, in a very diverse community, where my daily life as a child meant neighbors from Japan, Mexico, the Philippines, Louisiana, Mississippi, England, and my own parents, from Switzerland and Canada,” she said. “I grew up as well with families whose ancestors arrived from New Mexico and Mexico in the 1800s, whose stories about the landscape were fascinating. 

Mecca takes place in Coachella, Chino Hills, San Bernardino, Los Feliz, Hollywood and Santa Ana – all of the people I know who are nurses, animal control officers, housekeepers, police officers, field workers and parents are my inspirations,” said Straight.

Her books, in particular her memoir In the Country of Women, also celebrate the legacy of strong women whose hard work and deep love have helped shape the lives of their sons and daughters.

“For In the Country of Women, I wrote about six generations of tough, resilient women dreaming and working their way across America, from formerly enslaved ancestors of my in-laws to women surviving prairie and ranches like my grandmother, to my own life with my friends and my daughters as the next generation. 

“Speaking about this memoir in places like Turkey, Mexico and all across America, I’ve heard from women who say they were inspired to listen to stories from their aunts, mothers, grandmothers and friends, as these oral histories are often heard in cars, kitchens, hospitals and on porches. Younger women have told me they want to make sure they honor their elders, by writing down their stories and that makes me so happy,” said Straight.

Walter Mosely characterized Mecca as follows: “Susan Straight has written a hymn to all who have called the Golden State home.”

“An Evening with an Author” featuring Susan Straight will take place on Wednesday, March 29 from 5-7 p.m. at the Susi Q, 380 Third St., Laguna Beach. Tickets are $25, which includes a copy of Mecca. Esteemed co-host of the podcast “Writers on Writing” and arts columnist Marrie Stone will be the MC for the event, bringing her deep knowledge of the literary world to bear on the conversation. There’ll be plenty of time for attendees to ask questions. 

The convivial gathering will include refreshments, as well as wine available for a token donation. 

“I’m very excited,” Babayi added. “The evening promises to be a landmark event for the Susi Q. We are truly honored to have an author of Susan Straight’s caliber to launch the Author series.”

Register online at www.thesusiq.organd click on Classes. To RSVP by phone, call 949.715.8105, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Susi Q offers a wide range of educational and fun programs, classes and clubs for older adults – though all ages are welcome. The Susi Q’s Care Management Department provides free consultation, education and practical resources for vulnerable seniors, enabling them to stay safe, informed and independent. For more information on The Susi Q, the portal to access the best of Laguna’s community resources, visit


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