Monday, April 23

11AM-12:15PM • Griffin Gate (Student Center, Building 60) • reading and book signing

fiction writer, essayist, and memoirist JIM RULAND

Photo © Jim Ruland
LAF 2018 Jim RulandThe 22nd Annual Literary Arts Festival launches this year with a reading from San Diego memoirist, blogger, and fiction writer, Jim Ruland.


About the Author

Named by Los Angeles Magazine in 2014 as one of "Six Must-Read Books to Finish Out the Summer," Ruland's award-winning debut novel, Forest of Fortune (Gallery Books), is set at a failing tribal gambling palace, the Thunderclap Casino, and weaves together the stories of three struggling characters—an alcoholic, an epileptic, and a gambling addict—who change their luck. The Los Angeles Times Review of Books praises Ruland's novel for being "not your average casino story: ghosts, legends, and mystery darken and curl at its edges. Desperation and the humor in desperation run amok." Booklist says Forest of Fortune "is not quite a supernatural thriller, more like a stylishly written contemporary noir with some seriously weird overtones. Ruland's character design is impeccable; these are very real people, each with his or her personal issues to sort out and pretty much the unlikeliest heroes you'll meet for the next while."


Ruland's other books include his short story collection, Big Lonesome (Gorsky Press 2017, and two co-authored nonfiction works: My Damage (DaCapo Press 2016) and Giving the Finger (Lyons Press 2014). As an article writer, Ruland regularly blogs on the subject of punk rock for the indie nonprofit magazine, Razorcake, writes a monthly column on sports, gambling and casino culture for Eephus, and is a book reviewer for San Diego CityBeat, Los Angeles Times, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. His memoir and fiction have appeared in a variety of journals, including The Believer, Esquire, Granta, Hobart and Oxford American, and others.


A U.S. Navy veteran, a NEA award recipient, and a member of the Golondrina arts collective in Barrio Logan, Jim Ruland has for the past fourteen years run Vermin on the Mount, a Southern California-based reading series praised for being irreverent and controversial. Boasting its humble beginnings at a Chinatown bar, the highly praised Vermin On the Mount continues to showcase a variety of established and rising talents, including Amelia Gray, Jami Attenberg, Scott O’Connor, and many others. Jim Ruland currently lives and works in San Diego.



Forest of Fortune. Gallery Books, 2014. ISBN: 978-1440579899.

Jim Ruland Forest of Fortune Jim Ruland The Big Lonesome

Big Lonesome. Gorsky Press, 2005. ISBN: 978-0975396438.

Campbell, Scott and Jim Ruland. Giving the Finger: Risking It All to Fish the World's Deadliest Sea. Lyons Press, 2014. ISBN: 978-0762791316.

Jim Ruland and Scott Campbell Jr Giving the Finger Jim Ruland and Keith Morris My Damage The Story of a Punk Rock Survivor.

Morris, Keith and Jim Ruland. My Damage: The Story of a Punk Rock Survivor. Da Capo Press, 2016. ISBN: 978-0306824067.


  • “At the Orpheu Cafe.” Fiction. Nothing to Declare: A Guide to the Flash Sequence. Eds., Robert Alexander, Eric Braun & Debra Marquart. White Pine Press, 2016.
  • “Flesh Air.” Fiction. States of Terror Vol. 1. Eds., Matt Lewis and Keith McCleary. Ayahuasca Publishing, 2014.
  • “Homeward Bound.” Essay. Incoming: Veteran Writers on Returning Home. Eds., Justin Hudnall, Julia Dixon Evans & Rolf Yngve. So Say We All, 2016.
  • “Kessler Has No Lucky Pants.” Fiction. California Prose Directory 2014. Ed., J Ryan Stradal. Outpost 19, 2014.
  • “Ode to Joy.” Essay. Hobart Handbook on Baseball. Eds., Jensen Beach and Aaron Burch. Hobart Publishing, 2015. 



“’Homeward Bound’ by Jim Ruland.” Posted 23 January 2015 by So Say We All. Duration: 00:08:14. [video]

“Jim Ruland reads ‘Horror Show’ at UCSD's Gillman Theater.” Posted 19 October 2010 by So Say We All. Duration: 00:06:14. [video]


“Jim Ruland Reading ‘Dutch Harbor Nights’ at Skylight Books.” Posted by RazorcakeGorsky on 1 July 2013. Duration: 00:06:33.






7-8:15PM • Griffin Gate (Student Center, Building 60)

NEW VOICES student reading

Exceptional writers from this semester's creative writing classes and workshops come together to perform some of their best new and original works of fiction, literary nonfiction, poetry, drama, spoken word, mixed media word art, and other hybrid and innovative forms.


About This Event

LAF 2018 New Voices program coverThis semesterly event is a crowd favorite for Grossmont faculty and students, alike, and is a tradition dating back almost all the way to the beginnings of Grossmont College, itself. At the end of each semester, our Creative Writing Program faculty select students from their courses who have composed stand-out original works, and invite them to participate in an evening of readings. Students typically invite family members, friends, instructors and peers, making it one of the more popular literary events. The event features a New Voices booklet containing the printed versions of their works that allows audiences to read along if they like, and gives participating students take home a keepsake of the evening.


LAF 2018 New VoicesStudents selected for inclusion in the New Voices program are also given priority consideration for the campus literary journal, Acorn Review, which is edited and produced by students under the advisorship of Creative Writing Program faculty member, Julie Cardenas.


The next eagerly awaited issue of Acorn Review will be available in 2018.



  • Acorn Review official website
  • Acorn Review on Submittable
  • Chest-O-Drawers Press [coming soon]