More Dreamers of the Golden Dream
Virtual Book Launch with Susan Straight and Douglas McCulloh
FREE • Saturday, October 2 • 2:30–3:30 PM
Join Inlandia Institute online for a conversation with renowned writer Susan Straight and eminent photographer Douglas McCulloh, as they discuss their powerful new book, More Dreamers of the Golden Dream. The book, based on a 2013 museum exhibition, is being published by Inlandia in celebration of a new and updated exhibition which will open at the Riverside Art Museum October 7th during Arts Walk. The authors will give audience members a sneak peek into the material in the exhibition as well as their own experiences creating the book.
The essays of Joan Didion and James Baldwin were early inspirations for Straight who has collaborated with McCulloh for the book version of More Dreamers of the Golden Dream. “Didion wrote about California as no one else had, but though I learned so much from her elegant and incisive sentences, I felt as if she didn’t know my people—here in inland Southern California—and I determined to write about them. The history of Riverside’s Eastside, in particular, is part of my family,” says Straight. Unique to Southern California, the inland area saw an epic migration of former military men from a wide range of places. Straight’s father-in-law and many of his neighbors were Black men from Oklahoma, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and elsewhere who chose Riverside after being stationed at March Air Force Base. Their stories of life in Southern California always fascinated Straight, and her generation heard amazing stories of the Old South and the New California. The community has remained close and strong, but the older people are disappearing now and the Eastside is becoming fragmented due to fire, loss, and development.
Susan Straight was born in Riverside, California, where she still lives with her family. Her memoir, In the Country of Women (Catapult Books, 2020) was a national bestseller. It was a Best Book of the Year by NPR and CodeSwitch, longlisted for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence, and a Finalist for the Clara Johnson Prize for Women’s Literature. Her new novel, Mecca, will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in March 2022. She has published eight novels. Highwire Moon and I Been in Sorrow’s Kitchen and Licked Out All the Pots were national bestsellers, and her trilogy of one family’s journey from slavery to California includes A Million Nightingales, Take One Candle, and Between Heaven and Here. She has been a Finalist for the National Book Award and the National Magazine Award; she received the Edgar Prize for Best Mystery Story, the O Henry Prize, the Lannan Prize, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her fiction and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The Guardian, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Harper’s, The Believer, O Magazine, Real Simple, Alta, Reader’s Digest, Family Circle and other journals. She is Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at UC Riverside.
Douglas McCulloh is an artist, writer, and senior curator at the California Museum of Photography. His work has been shown nationally and internationally in more than 250 exhibitions including Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing; Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City; Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles; Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans; and Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. McCulloh’s most recent books are In the Sunshine of Neglect (Inlandia Institute), and The Great Picture: Making the World’s Largest Photograph (Hudson Hills Press, New York). Exhibitions curated by McCulloh have shown in a range of venues including Kennedy Center for the Arts, Washington D.C.; Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Winnipeg; Flacon Art Center, Moscow; Center for Visual Art, Denver, Colorado; Manuel Álvarez Bravo Center, Oaxaca; Sejong Center, Seoul, South Korea; and, of course, UCR ARTS: California Museum of Photography. He is an honors graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara and holds an M.F.A. from Claremont Graduate University.
This event is supported in part by an award from the California Arts Council, a state agency. Learn more about the California Arts Council at www.arts.ca.gov.