“At Locke High School, where students are largely African American and Latino, I’d teach American literature and photocopy work by Ralph Ellison, Gwendolyn Brooks, Pablo Neruda. One day, I brought a fictional story about a girl being raped and a guy getting shot, and this one black kid read it, and he said, “This isn’t a real story, is it?” He thought it wasn’t legitimate because it was interesting. That was the ultimate compliment for what I was trying to do—circumvent textbooks by bringing in stories that create a sense of immediacy.” –Jervey Tervalon on why he created Literature for Life
Over the holidays, LA Times listed Literature for Life as being one of the “12 Ways to Do Literary Good this Holiday Season.” Click here to see read more about it!
“A few years ago Tervalon started Literature For Life, an online salon for writers, artists, and educators focused on igniting young minds. California literature, the visual arts, and Los Angeles history are featured prominently. He says, “I started ‘Lit For Life’ because when I taught high school I hated that textbooks cost so much and didn’t seem to reflect the lives of my students in the world that we live on, here in L.A.”
— LA Letters, 2012
“Spearheaded by Tervalon and run with the support of USC’s Neighborhood Academic Initiative, Literature for Life will be, on the surface, an online literary journal like many others that includes fiction, poetry, nonfiction and art. Authors whose work will be found there include mystery writers Gary Phillips and Naomi Hirahara, novelist Janet Fitch (all of whom were in attendance) and USC alumna Susan Straight. The e-journal will have a clean, visually engaging, magazine-style look.”
— Los Angeles Times, 2011
“We want to encourage the young people of South L.A. and beyond to recognize themselves in authentic literature and thus begin to better see themselves as empowered readers and writers.”
— USC Press Room, 2011