Library display brings “Madonnas of Echo Park” author back home for a reading

Brando Skyhorse

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.


  1. Either Echo Park brings out the poetry in Brandon Skyhorse, or he brings out the poetry in Echo Park!
    Our neighborhood seemed magical in his reading. I was very glad to have had the chance to hear him.
    All of the speakers were well worth hearing. Many thanks.

  2. As part of Cal State L.A.’s One Campus, One Book (OCOB) initiative, award-winning author Brando Skyhorse will read from and discuss his national bestseller, The Madonnas of Echo Park, on Wednesday, May 8, at 4:30 p.m., in the Golden Eagle Ballroom on the CSULA campus.

    The University’s One Campus, One Book program—an initiative designed to encourage the campus community to read one book collectively—this year selected Brando Skyhorse’s The Madonnas of Echo Park.

    During the lecture, Skyhorse will discuss his journey as a writer, from his childhood home in Echo Park, to the MFA Writers’ Workshop program at UC Irvine, to New York City’s publishing industry. There will also be a preview of his memoir slated for publication in spring 2014.

    For more information, go to http://calstatela.libguides.com/OCOB or contact Christina Sheldon, instruction and reference librarian, at (323) 343-4824.

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