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Launch for Meg Elison / Find Layla, with Somaiya Daud, Rory Power, Adam Sass and Maggie Tokuda-Hall

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Booksmith hosts a virtual event with Meg Elison for the launch of her new novel Find Layla. She's joined by Somaiya Daud, Rory Power, Adam Sass and Maggie Tokuda-Hall for a panel discussion.

This is a free event, but RSVP is required.


Underprivileged and keenly self-aware, SoCal fourteen-year-old Layla Bailey isn’t used to being noticed. Except by mean girls who tweet about her ragged appearance. All she wants to do is indulge in her love of science, protect her vulnerable younger brother, and steer clear of her unstable mother.

Then a school competition calls for a biome. Layla chooses her own home, a hostile ecosystem of indoor fungi and secret shame. With a borrowed video camera, she captures it all. The mushrooms growing in her brother’s dresser. The black mold blooming up the apartment walls. The unmentionable things living in the dead fridge. All the inevitable exotic toxins that are Layla’s life. Then the video goes viral.

When Child Protective Services comes to call, Layla loses her family and her home. Defiant, she must face her bullies and friends alike, on her own. Unafraid at last of being seen, Layla accepts the mortifying reality of visibility. Now she must figure out how to stay whole and stand behind the truth she has shown the world.

A heartbreaking and all-too-real portrait of many children’s lives, Find Layla tugs at your heartstrings as you root for Layla to stay strong, seek kindness, and believe in herself in the midst of crisis and uncertainty. 

Meg Elison is a Bay Area author and feminist essayist. Her debut novel, The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, won the 2014 Philip K. Dick award. Her second novel, The Book of Etta, was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick, and both were longlisted for the James A. Tiptree award. She has been published in McSweeney's, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Catapult, and many other places. Elison is a high school dropout and a graduate of UC Berkeley. Find her online, where she writes like she's running out of time at www.megelison.com, or follow her on Twitter @MegElison.

Somaiya Daud lives, works, and writes from Seattle, Washington. In 2018 her debut novel, Mirage, was released in the United States with Flatiron Books and the United Kingdom with Hodder & Stoughton. It was hailed as “poetically written”, “immersive and captivating” and “beautiful and necessary” by The School Library Journal, Booklist and Entertainment Weekly. Mirage has been shortlisted for the Children’s Africana Book Award and the Arab American Book Award. In 2020 Somaiya received her PhD in English Literature studies with a focus on world literature and nineteenth-century orientalism.

Rory Power grew up in New England and went on to earn an MA in prose fiction from the University of East Anglia. She now works as an editor of crime fiction and story consultant for TV, and is the New York Times bestselling author of Wilder Girls and Burn Our Bodies Down. To learn more about Rory, go to itsrorypower.com and follow @itsrorypower on Twitter and Instagram.

Adam Sass began writing books in Sharpie on the backs of Starbucks pastry bags. (He’s sorry it distracted him from making your latte.) Raised in an Illinois farm town, his desire for a creative career took him to Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and currently, North Carolina, where he lives with his husband and dachshunds. When he’s not dropping hot takes on Twitter, Adam is a recurring co-host on the popular Buffy the Vampire Slayer podcast Slayerfest98. Surrender Your Sons is his first novel.

Maggie Tokuda-Hall is the author of the Parent’s Choice Gold Medal winning picture book, Also an Octopus, illustrated by Benji Davies, and the young adult novel The Mermaid, The Witch and The Sea. She lives in Oakland, California with her husband, son, and objectively perfect dog. She has a BA in Studio Art from Scripps College, and an MFA in Writing from University of San Francisco. She is represented by Jennifer Laughran of Andrea Brown Lit. You can follow her on Twitter, @emteehall or on Instagram @maggietokudahall.