In 2014, Leslie Schwartz was sentenced to 90 days in Los Angeles County Jail for a DUI and battery of an officer. She served her time at the tail end of a 414-day relapse into alcohol addiction after more than a decade of sobriety. During that year and seven weeks, she was in what she describes as a “chronic state of blackout.” The damage she inflicted upon her friends, her husband and teenage daughter – to say nothing of herself – was nearly impossible to fathom. She could no longer work, losing job after job; her family eventually moved away; and her friends, no longer able to help, left. She found herself completely alone in the mental illness that accompanies alcoholism…until Lynwood jail. Known for people doing the hardest time anyone will ever do in the state of California, it was here in this brutal place – “each minute an entire anthem to human depravity” – that she began a path toward restoration.
Leslie Schwartz is the author of two literary novels, Jumping the Green, winner of the James Jones Literary Society Awardfor Best First Novel and Angels Crest. In addition to her novels, Schwartz has published short stories, articles, essays and book reviews in The Los Angeles Times, Poets & Writers, Teachers & Writers, Sonora Review, and the online journal Narratively Speaking. A past president of the board of directors for PEN USA, she has taught writing at UCLA Exten
Meghan Daum is the author of four books, most recently the collection of original essays The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion, which won the 2015 PEN Center USA Award for creative nonfiction. She is also the editor of the New York Times bestseller Selfish, Shallow & Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not To Have Kids. Her other books include the essay collection My Misspent Youth, the novel The Quality of Life Report, and Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived In That House, a memoir. For more than a decade Meghan was an opinion columnist at The Los Angeles Times, covering cultural and political topics. She now writes the Egos column in The New York Times Book Review, reviewing new memoirs. Meghan has written for numerous magazines, including The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, and Vogue. She is the recipient of a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2016 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and is on the adjunct faculty in the MFA Writing Program at Columbia University's School of the Arts.