~ By Jefferson Beavers, reprinted from FresnoStateNews.com

More than 150 writers will gather in Fresno’s Tower District Saturday, April 29 for LitHop 2017, a free literary festival that will be headlined by Fresno State alumnus and author Gary Soto.

At least half of the 150 writers performing at LitHop have connections to Fresno State as students, faculty, staff or alumni. This includes Soto, who earned his Bachelor’s degree in English from Fresno State, and 13 current graduate students and faculty Randa Jarrar from the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing.

LitHop is an initiative of the Fresno Arts Council and was founded in 2016 by the City of Fresno’s poet laureate, Lee Herrick, who teaches English at Fresno City College. This year’s organizing committee was directed by author, educator and Fresno State alumnus Juan Luis Guzmán, who also teaches English at Fresno City College. Guzmán serves as a community organizer for the Selma Arts Center.

The lineup — which includes more than 40 different readings to choose from at 10 different venues, between 2 and 8 p.m. — features literary heavy-hitters like Soto and Jarrar alongside high school and college student writers, slam poets, authors reading in Spanish, and much more.

The LitHop 2017 headline reading by Soto — the author of 11 poetry collections for adults, most notably “New and Selected Poems,” a 1995 finalist for both the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the National Book Award — is set for 7 p.m. at Fresno City College in the Old Administration Building auditorium. Seating is first-come, first-served. The full festival schedule is available.