“Hey, you should join our group!” I heard author Sue Ganz-Schmitt say, as she walked by me in Pine Tree Circle, Topanga’s version of a strip shopping center. I knew Sue through our involvement with Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum. I knew she’d published her book “Planet Kindergarten,” so when she mentioned ‘the group,’ my ears perked up. Turned out, she was talking about Topanga Authors’ Group. I thought, ‘Well, I’m a writer, not quite an author.’ It’s for everyone, she assured me.
When she told me about the group’s budding speaker’s series, I said, “I want to produce it.” This wasn’t completely out of the blue. I’d been producing literary events for years and concerts more recently at Theatricum, co-producing with Inara George and others to expand options for audiences with music, poetry, and improv comedy.
Sue took me up on my offer. For the next four years, I conceived and co-presented a monthly slate of readings, open mics, panels, and roundtables with Oleg Kagan, our wonderfully collaborative community librarian. In the first two years, our events were consistently well attended and our email list grew to more than 300 people. It was time to go public with all the literary sharing and community building. I suggested that we present a literary festival. Oleg donned his superhero cape and made it happen. We named it TRANSPORT Topanga Literary Festival, because that’s what stories do. ~ KgZ