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California Book Club: Natalia Molina
"A Place at the Nayarit" author Natalia Molina sits down for a conversation with CBC host John Freeman and special guest Alex Espinoza.

Molina—a MacArthur Fellow and a distinguished professor at the University of Southern California—is a preeminent historian, examining questions of community and belonging and race. In this, her third book, she turns her attention inward, to her family. The author’s grandmother Doña Natalia Barraza opened a restaurant called the Nayarit in Los Angeles in 1951, and it quickly became not only a beloved eatery but also a community center for both its workers and its patrons, many of whom had emigrated from Mexico. Molina’s work here walks the line between personal history and research, framing the restaurant as an essential landscape and highlighting the necessity of placemaking, especially in a city where divisions can be fueled by ethnic differences and entrenched discrimination.

Oct 20, 2022 05:00 PM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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Natalia Molina
Author, “A Place at the Nayarit”
Molina is a distinguished professor of American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California. A 2020 MacArthur Fellow, she is the author of “How Race Is Made in America: Immigration, Citizenship, and the Historical Power of Racial Scripts; Fit to Be Citizens? Public Health and Race in Los Angeles, 1879–1939”; and “A Place at the Nayarit: How a Mexican Restaurant Nourished a Community.”
Alex Espinoza
Special guest
Espinoza is the author of the novels “Still Water Saints” and “The Five Acts of Diego León.” His latest book is “Cruising: An Intimate History of a Radical Pastime.” His work has appeared in several anthologies and journals including VQR, the New York Times Sunday Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, and NPR. His awards include a 2009 Margaret Bridgeman Fellowship in Fiction to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, a 2014 Fellowship in Prose from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a 2014 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation for The Five Acts of Diego León. Espinoza teaches at UC-Riverside where he serves as the Tomás Rivera Endowed Chair of Creative Writing.
John Freeman
John Freeman was the editor of “Granta” until 2013. His books include “How to Read a Novelist,” “Tales of Two Cities,” and “Tales of Two Americas.” “Maps,” his debut collection of poems, was released 2017. He is an executive editor at Knopf and teaches at the New School and New York University. His work has appeared in the New Yorker and the Paris Review and has been translated into 20 languages.