The “Madonnas of Echo Park” made author and Echo Park native Brandon Skyhorse a literary celebrity, with the novel featuring the stories of several neighborhood women attracting nationwide attention, awards and even interest from HBO. But despite national book reading tours, Skyhorse has made few – if any – public appearances in or near Echo Park – until now. On Saturday, May 4, Skyhorse will join other local authors in a reading – “The Voices of Echo Park” – at the Echo Park branch library and will return for another reading next Tuesday at Stories Books & Cafe.
How did Skyhorse, who grew up on Portia Street and attended Logan Street Elementary, find his way back to Echo Park? Author Carlene Sobrino Bonnivier gets the credit. The former Echo Park area resident volunteers at the Echo Park branch library on Temple Street, where she placed a sample of Skyhorse’s work in the lobby display case. That’s when Bonnivier decided to let Skyhorse know about the display. She said in an email:
I took a photo of it and sent it to Brando through his website. He wrote back right away and was very happy about it. We’ve been emailing since then. (He lives in New Jersey.) I asked him, somewhere along the way, if he’d like to do a book-signing at the Library when/if he found himself back in the neighborhood. “Yes,” he said. “Yes.”
When Skyhorse learned that his publisher had arranged for another book tour, he contacted Bonnivier, who organized the Saturday reading, which features Skyhorse, Bonnivier and Johneric Concordia, a spoken word poet and restaurant owner who also grew up in the neighborhood.
“The Voices of Echo Park'” begins at 2 p.m. at the Echo Park Library, 1410 W. Temple St. Saturday’s reading will be followed by a no-host reception for the authors down the street at Concordia’s restaurant, The Park Finest.