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After publishing a memoir about growing up with an undiagnosed panic disorder, hundreds of people wrote to the author Amanda Stern to confide in her about their own anxiety. She realized that if every single person who wrote or pulled her aside could begin speaking publicly about their own struggles, the stigma of mental illness would be entirely eradicated. In an attempt to kick-start this reality, she has assembled a variety of voices each experiencing anxiety from a different lens. We’ll hear from a comic, a therapist, a mindfulness expert and a scientist. The aim of this event is to give a face and personality to anxiety, to bring it out in the open so it no longer needs to hide.

Amanda Stern

Amanda Stern is a mental health advocate, speaker and is the author of thirteen books: eleven for children written under pseudonyms, a novel, and most recently the memoir LITTLE PANIC: Dispatches from an Anxious Life. She is the creator and founder of the critically acclaimed music and literary event series Happy Ending in NYC which ran from 2003-2018. She lives in Brooklyn with her daughter Busy, who just happens to be a dog.

Atsuko Okatsuka

Atsuko Okatsuka is the host & creator of the hit show Let’s Go, Atsuko! A (woke) Japanese Game Show and was named a “Comedian To Watch” in Vulture‘s 2018 list & TimeOut LA‘s 2019 list. She’s been featured on Late Night with Lilly Singh and has written for various Adult Swim shows such as The Eric Andre Show & Soft Focus with Jena Friedman and is in Season 3 of HBO’s Room 104.

Dr. Avishek Adhikari

Dr. Avishek Adhikari is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He studies the neural circuits that initiate and inhibit reactions induced by threats. Over-activity in these circuits are known to cause symptoms in patients with anxiety disorders. Dr. Adhikari’s research has uncovered neural circuits that inhibit and induce fear-related freezing, as well as circuits that control anxiety-induced changes in respiration rate, among other findings.

Chris Kraus

Chris Kraus is the author of four novels, three books of art and cultural criticism, most recently Social Practices (2018) and a literary biography of Kathy Acker.  Her first novel, I Love Dick, was adapted for television.  Kraus is a co-editor of the independent press Semiotext(e), alongside Hedi El Kholti and Sylvere Lotringer.  She teaches writing at Art Center and lives in Los Angeles.

Christopher Noxon

Christopher Noxon is an author, journalist and illustrator. He’s the author and illustrator of Good Trouble: Lessons from the Civil Rights Playbook as well as wrote Plus One and Rejuvenile: Kickball, Cartoons, Cupcakes and the Reinvention of the American Grown Up. As a journalist, his work has been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times MagazineLos Angeles Magazine, and more. He splits his time between Los Angeles and New York.


Lisa Kring

Lisa Kring is an LCSW with a background in dispute resolution and family court mediation. A committed practitioner of mindfulness, she has studied with many—from Daniel Siegel to Ven Ayya Tathaaloka—and her primary teachers, Trudy Goodman and Christiane Wolf. Kring is a senior teacher for Insight LA, where she is currently involved in bringing mindfulness-based programs into non-profits and youth education. In addition to leading classes at East Hollywood, she has facilitated mindfulness groups at UCLA, Homeboy Industries, Hulu, Neue House, and more.


Rumer Willis

Rumer Willis is an American actress and singer. She has appeared in films Hostage (2005), The House Bunny (2008), Sorority Row (2009) and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019). She portrayed Gia Mannetti in 90210 (2009–10) and Tory Ash in Empire (2017–18). Willis won season 20 of Dancing with the Stars. She made her Broadway debut in Chicago as Roxie Hart (2015).

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the reservation policy for ALOUD?

    As most ALOUD at Central Library programs are free of charge, it is our policy to overbook. In the case of a FULL program your free reservation may not guarantee admission. We recommend arriving early. Space permitting, unclaimed reservations will be released to standby patrons at 7 PM.

  • Why do programs fill so quickly?

    ALOUD provides a unique experience for the public to engage with scholars, authors, and artists in the intimate 235-seat Mark Taper Auditorium. Library Foundation Members have the benefit of reserving for programs in advance of the public. Consider joining as a Member to receive this benefit, and check the website on an on-going basis for program availability. Be sure to subscribe to our email alerts, and visit our Media Archive for podcasts and other items from our recent programs.

  • Where does ALOUD take place?

    Unless otherwise noted, ALOUD programs are held at the downtown Central Library’s Mark Taper Auditorium.

  • Where should I park for ALOUD programs?

    We recommend taking public transportation. Parking for the Central Library is at the Westlawn Garage at 524 S. Flower Street. For more information, visit the Library’s website.

  • Should I purchase the author’s book in advance?

    We encourage you to purchase books from the Library Store. All proceeds benefit the Los Angeles Public Library. Books are made available for purchase when you reserve for a program online, and are also on sale at programs. In order to participate in the book signing, you must purchase at least one book from The Library Store. Members receive discounts on purchases.

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