TRANSPORT’S “Topanga Humans” Alive and Well

For two years, 2016 and 2017, TRANSPORT: Topanga Literary Festival filled the nooks, crannies and otherwise open spaces of the Topanga Library with local literati and literature lovers.

In her celebration of the unique gifts of our writing community, TRANSPORT founder Kim Zanti also envisioned an additional aspect to the festival—the humans. She aspired to collect their stories, starting with a key question: What transported you to Topanga? More than 30 people signed up on the library’s back patio, eager to share their migration stories on a warm Saturday afternoon with interviewers Kathie Gibboney, Oleg Kagan, Ken Miller, and Flavia Potenza, while photographers Katie Dalsemer and Denis Hannigan observed and documented the interviewees, whose words were recorded and later transcribed.

The Topanga Messenger was to publish them as a “Topanga Anthology,” until the newspaper ceased publication on December 1, 2016, 40 years to the day that it began. Fortunately, with the next iteration of a local newspaper, the Messenger Mountain News came to life in January 2017, and has now offered to publish these stories as an ongoing series, thus bringing Zanti’s vision to life again.

Consider this the third edition of TRANSPORT, the aspect of the festival that didn’t fulfill its intent, as we revisit the first festival in 2016 and bring “Topanga Humans” to life in the pages of the Messenger Mountain News. With its new website, M’Online, you can also listen to the unedited recordings of people telling their stories.

“These are the colorful stories of the humans who, two years ago, wanted to share with you how they found their way to the canyon,” said Zanti, who was thrilled with the idea of an ongoing series.

“After reading this first batch about Topangans who journeyed here from the east coast,” Zanti said, “I wondered why the word magic appears so often. Is it that Topanga is a portal? One that attracts magic people, or people who make magic happen, who create something from nothing, people who seek adventure and the company of woodland creatures, who want their children to understand how our two-legged variation of life
forms connects to the rest. It’s our hope that you will see yourself reflected in these stories and remember your own journey from valley or coast to this revered place that we call home.”

You can read the first TRANSPORT Topanga Human Story with HIlary Boynton here.

The Messenger Mountain News invites people who didn’t participate then, to participate now. Write your own Topanga Human story and send it to us at

Then watch as TRANSPORT makes its own journey beyond its origins.


  1. What is the time frame of this literary library event and what is the agenda/schedule of events during the day? Thanks.

  2. Hello Mary,

    Thanks for reaching out. There aren’t any scheduled events for Transport this year. The interview in the story took place at Transport 2016. MMN published it as a way of keeping the soul of the literary festival alive, while the lives of those responsible for its existence change. The library always has something great going on. Best way to keep in touch there is through the Topanga Library Facebook page and/or by picking up their monthly calendar of events at the front desk.

    For Topanga Authors’ Group, you can join our email list by sending an email to (note singular), and you can find us on Facebook at Topanga Authors’ Group.

    Wishing you well,
    Kim Zanti

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