Junot Diaz and Karen Russell are just the beginning. The calendar for the Hammer Readings regularly reads like a catalog of literary prizewinners from the last decade. Of special note is Mona Simpson's “Some Favorite Writers” series, which has featured titans like Michael Chabon, Denis Johnson, A.M. Homes, Jonathan Lethem and Norman Rush. Simpson, an acclaimed writer in her own right, is an insightful, classy host. Recently she sat down with Beth Henley, a Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright, whose work was read by Ed Harris, Diane Keaton and Amy Madigan. Did we mention these are free? Many of the events offer book signings and small receptions in the museum's courtyard. The heart of L.A.'s literary scene might well be at the Hammer Museum. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Wstwd., 90024. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu. —JJ Strong

LA Weekly