Four Pulitzer winners to highlight Point Loma Nazarene writers symposium

Clockwise from top left: Anthony Doerr, William Finnegan, Maria Hinojosa and N. Scott Momaday
The four Pulitzer Prize-winning writers lined up for this year’s Writer’s Symposium by the Sea are, clockwise from top left, Anthony Doerr, William Finnegan, Maria Hinojosa and N. Scott Momaday.
(File photos)

In a first for the event, all four writers scheduled for Point Loma Nazarene University’s 28th annual Writer’s Symposium by the Sea are Pulitzer Prize winners.

The symposium is set for Feb. 21-24 with the theme “Writing That Celebrates.”

“Not only are these writers giants in their own orbits, they have changed the way we think about the world,” Dean Nelson, founder and host of the symposium, said in a statement. “I promise that your spirits will be elevated when you hear what they have to say.”

Nelson also is director of the journalism program at Point Loma Nazarene.

Here are the writers lined up for the 2023 edition:

• Feb. 21: Anthony Doerr is the author of “All the Light We Cannot See,” which was awarded the 2015 Pulitzer for fiction and the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, and “Cloud Cuckoo Land,” a finalist for the 2021 National Book Award and currently a finalist for Novel of the Year in the British Book Awards. “All the Light We Cannot See” was recently made into a four-part Netflix series starring Mark Ruffalo and Hugh Laurie.

• Feb. 22: William Finnegan is an award-winning staff writer for The New Yorker magazine and the author of five books, including the Pulitzer-winning “Barbarian Days,” a memoir about his passion for surfing.

• Feb. 23: Maria Hinojosa is the author of “Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America,” “Raising Raul: Adventures Raising Myself and My Son” and “Crews: Gang Members Talk with Maria Hinojosa.” She is the founder of Futuro Media, anchor of the Emmy Award-winning talk show “Maria Hinojosa: One-on-One” and a Pulitzer winner for the 2021 podcast series “Suave.” She also has reported for PBS, CBS, CNN and NPR.

• Feb. 24: N. Scott Momaday received a Pulitzer Prize for his first novel, “House Made of Dawn.” His books also include “The Way to Rainy Mountain,” “In the Bear’s House,” “In the Presence of the Sun: Stories and Poems, 1961-1991,” “The Gourd Dancer” and the children’s book “Circle of Wonder.” He also wrote the play “The Indolent Boys.”

Most of the writers will be interviewed by Nelson about their work, the craft of writing and the value of storytelling. Finnegan will be interviewed by Ben Cater, who teaches surf history and culture at PLNU, and the discussion will focus on surfing.

The Doerr, Finnegan and Hinojosa interviews will be in person beginning at 7 p.m. on the PLNU campus. The Momaday interview was conducted at his home because his health prevented him from traveling. The interview will be posted online at 7 p.m. Feb. 24.

Past symposium speakers have included Ray Bradbury, Anne Lamott, Amy Tan, Alice Walker, Cornel West, Billy Collins, Joyce Carol Oates, Nikki Giovanni, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jeannette Walls, Mary Karr and many others.

“If you are drawn to good stories — reading them or telling them — then you’ll want to be here,” Nelson said. “You may even realize that you’re ready to do some writing yourself.”

The writers’ interviews will be preceded Monday, Feb. 20, by PLNU’s Student Short Film Festival, featuring the winning films submitted to a campus contest. The 2023 festival also will feature work by director/producer Jared Callahan, followed by a discussion with the filmmakers.

Writer’s Symposium by the Sea

When: Tuesday through Friday, Feb. 21-24

Where: Point Loma Nazarene University, 3900 Lomaland Drive. (N. Scott Momaday interview is online.)

Cost: $10-$50.50 (Doerr, Finnegan and Hinojosa interviews)

Tickets and information:


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