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Volume 15, Issue 42  | May 26, 2023Subscribe

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Susi Q’s Inaugural “Evening with an Author” featuring Susan Straight delights sold-out crowd

The Susi Q’s inaugural “Evening with an Author,” featuring acclaimed novelist Susan Straight, was a resounding success on Wednesday evening (March 29). The sold-out crowd, 90 attendees of all ages, enjoyed snacks and wine, followed by a lively, laughter-filled conversation between moderator Marrie Stone and Straight, whose novels brim with characters who inhabit what the author calls “overlooked California.” 

susi q susan

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Photos by Jeff Rovner

Author Susan Straight and moderator Marrie Stone

“I’m thrilled with the positive reaction to this, the first in a series of Author Evenings,” said executive director of the nonprofit Susi Q/Laguna Beach Seniors, Nadia Babayi. “Susan was a delightful speaker and we are so grateful to Marrie for her facilitation of the event. Her questions were perfect. I’m looking forward to our next two events – novelists Janelle Brown on June 6 and author Lisa See on September 13.”

Babayi also paid tribute to the Susi Q team that worked hard to put the event together, including Jo Ann Ekblad, program and marketing director; Christine Brewer, program and marketing manager and Amy Dechary, president of Third Street Writers.

susi q group

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(L-R) Amy Dechary, president of Third Street Writers; Marrie Stone, moderator; Susan Straight, novelist; Lynette Brasfield, author/Susi Q writing teacher; Nadia Babayi, executive director of Laguna Beach Seniors at the Susi Q; Christine Brewer, program and events manager and Jo Ann Ekblad, program and marketing director

“It was a delight chatting to the wonderful and witty Susan Straight. Her real-life stories go head-to-head with her fictional ones,” said literary podcaster and moderator Stone, who is herself a published short story writer. “Susan is tender, compassionate, generous with her insights and advice, and very funny. I’d urge everyone to buy her new book, Mecca!”

Mecca, published last year by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, was named by The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times as one of the Best Ten Books of 2022, as well as a best book of the year by NPR. Straight’s 2019 memoir, In the Country of Women, was a national bestseller, named an NPR best book of the year.

susi q crowd

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The sold-out event crowd were held rapt by author Susan Straight in conversation with moderator Marrie Stone

The Susi Q offers a wide range of educational and fun programs, classes and clubs for older adults – though all ages are welcome. The Susi Q’s Care Management Department provides free consultation, education and practical resources for vulnerable seniors, enabling them to stay safe, informed and independent. 

For more information on The Susi Q, the portal to access the best of Laguna’s community resources, visit


Shaena Stabler, President & CEO -

Lana Johnson, Editor -

Tom Johnson, Publisher -

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Suzie Harrison and Theresa Keegan are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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