Circumstances have changed since Eduardo Santiago, founder of the Idyllwild Authors Series, announced this season, the fifth, would be the last.
Local bibliophiles can now rejoice. Santiago is considering subsequent seasons for a number of reasons. “I was a part timer when that decision was announced,” he said. “Now, with Mark’s [Mark Davis, Santiago’s husband] move to the Hill and his new position at Idyllwild Arts, we’ll both be full timers.”
Santiago also explained that, as a book coach, one of his authors had just landed a major deal with Random House. “I want to bring her up her,” he explained.
But more than any other factor, Santiago stressed the cachet the series has developed with Los Angeles and Southern California-based writers. “There are so many excellent writers that want to come up for the series and others, like Tod Goldberg [the final author of the fifth season], who want to come back.”
In a look-back over the last five years, Santiago extolled the levels of excellence and variety of the authors who have been featured in his series: “The Idyllwild Authors Series has featured 45 writers over the last five years. Janet Finch [“White Oleander”] and Cynthia Bond [“Ruby”] were Oprah Book Club selections. Hope Edelman’s book “Motherless Daughters” spent 24 weeks on the New York Times Bestsellers list. Quinn Cummings [“Notes from the Underwire: Adventures from my Awkward and Lovely Life”] was an Oscar-nominated actress before becoming an author; Lisa Teasley, Rob Roberge, Toni Ann Johnson, Gary Phillips and Samantha Dunn have won numerous literary awards, and Tod Goldberg, our final author this season [“Gangsterland”] is in the running for the Hammett Prize, the leading award for crime fiction writers. In addition we have featured local authors Duff Brenna, Jill Sikorski, Sabrina Verney, Richard Barker and Ron Singerton.
“And there has not been a one of them who has not been open-hearted, generous, kind, and peculiar. In many ways it mirrors what is so extraordinary about the Idyllwild community.”
Another highlight was when Karen Black, 1970 Oscar-nominee for “Five Easy Pieces,” turned the tables on Santiago, a lifelong fan, when she interviewed him about his book “Tomorrow They Will Kiss,” to close the second season of the series. “I have been in love with her since I was a boy,” he remembered. “If she was in a movie, I would see it. That she would come up here was awesome. And she was sick at the time.” [Black died in 2013 at the age of 74 after a long battle with cancer.]
Reflecting on the future, Santiago said, “If there is a sixth season, it will come back in a different form, maybe once a month like Chris Singer’s speaker series. I’d also like to look at possible tie ins – maybe with the Idyllwild Library and with Idyllwild Arts. I’ll know more in January about what form it will take.
“I’m so excited to be living in Idyllwild full time. I fit right in, having started the series with no money, just hope - like Idyllwild, that has the same ‘can-do’ attitude. Somebody here is always making art and I get to make a little art on Sunday afternoon.”
For more about Santiago see www.eduardosantiago.com.