Featuring Stephanie Burt, Steven Barnes, and Boris Dralyuk, with host Richard Foss


Steven Barnes


Steven Barnes is a New York Times bestselling, award-winning novelist and screenwriter who is the creator of the Lifewriting™ writing course, which he has taught nationwide. In addition to being an author and writing instructor, he is also a life coach, CST coach and certified hypnotist. He has more than 30 years’ experience in the self-development arts, including hypnosis certification with Transformative Arts Institute in Marin, CA, training as a yoga and Tai Chi instructor, and fourth-degree black belt. He has counseled executives, royalty, prominent politicians and Hollywood celebrities at the Moonview Sanctuary in Santa Monica. His website is at https://stevenbarneslife.wordpress.com/

Stephanie Burt



Stephanie Burt is a poet, literary critic, and professor with eight published books, including two critical books on poetry and three poetry collections. Her essay collection Close Calls with Nonsense (Graywolf Press, 2009) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. The New York Times called Burt “one of the most influential poetry critics of her generation.” The recipient of a 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship, her writing has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the London Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, the Believer, and the Boston Review.

Bonus video: See a reading by Stephanie of a wonderful poem about ferrets on the “recommended reading” page

Boris Dralyuk



Boris Dralyuk is the Executive Editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books and the translator of several volumes from Russian, including Isaac Babel’s Red Cavalry and Odessa Stories (Pushkin Press), Leo Tolstoy’s Lives and Deaths (Pushkin Press), and Mikhail Zoshchenko’s Sentimental Tales (Columbia University Press).  He is also the editor of 1917: Stories and Poems from the Russian Revolution (Pushkin Press), and co-editor, with Robert Chandler and Irina Mashinski, of The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry (Penguin Classics). His website is at https://bdralyuk.wordpress.com/about/

Richard Foss



Richard Foss has been writing professionally since 1986 and has contributed to over thirty different publications, including the Encyclopedia of World Food Cultures and the Oxford Companion to Sweets. He taught culinary history at Osher Institute/UCLA Extension, and is on the board of the Culinary Historians of Southern California. His book on the history of rum was released in 2012. “Food in the Air and Space; the surprising history of food and drink in the skies,” followed in 2014. He curating an exhibition called “Cooking Up A New West” that will open at the Autry Museum of the American West in 2022. His website is at richardfoss.com

Funded by:

City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs logo

NEA Big Read logo


Culinary Historians of Southern California logo

The Institute for Art and Olfaction logo