by Olivia Rhonda Graham
Seismic activity of the literary sort will top the Richter scale this week as women seem to be shaking up the Bay Area’s literary landscape as Litquake 2013 hits San Francisco, Oct. 11 – 19.
More than 800 authors will rattle the foundation of this literature-loving city across a nine-day festival commencing with a 150th Anniversary Tribute to Jules Verne on Friday night, October 11th. The week concludes with the famous (and famously FREE!) Lit Crawl Saturday evening, Oct. 19th.
Although Jules is getting the attention as the headliner, the women rule Litquake shaking up the Bay Area’s literary landscape. No longer wanting a room of our own, Litquake’s women have a significant presence making appearances at various venues throughout the literary festival.
This year’s event features Piper Kerman, author of the new Netflix hit Orange is the New Black (the event is sold out); and Bay Area favorite Beth Lisick, who will discuss her latest book Yokohama Threeway: And Other Small Shames (City Lights/Sister Spit).
“It’s the best lit-fest in the US; the most dynamic, craziest, and authors love it. It takes place all over the city, all sorts of writers are involved, and it really has a very inclusive vibe, which to me, is very SF,” says author and Bay Area native Beth about Litquake.
Beth will discuss her latest work, Yokohama Threeway and Other Small Shames, with Alan Black at Edinburgh Castle (950 Geary Street, San Francisco, 415-885-4074, CastleNews.com) on Geary Street on Sun., Oct. 13th, at 4 p.m.
Other women authors of note appearing at Litquake include Isabelle Allende, Delia Ephron, Mary Gaitskill, Viola Di Grado, Sandra Tsing Loh, Ann Packer, Anne Perry, Michele Tea, and Jane Smiley this year in conjunction with hundreds of their literary counterparts.
Now in its 14th year, Litquake features more than 160 events drawing thousands of bibliophiles to dynamic readings and animated discussions of original literary and journalistic works. Designed specifically to inspire an interest in reading, and to awaken our inner-authors, Litquake, as described by its founders, “seeks to foster interest in literature for people of all ages, perpetuate a sense of literary community, and provide a vibrant forum for Bay Area writing as a complement to the city’s music, film, and cultural festivals.” Events are held across an eclectic assortment of venues throughout San Francisco, Marin and the East Bay (you can download a PDF of the festival schedule here).
Those tremors we’re feeling can only be the happy, anticipatory stirrings of women authors writing and speaking their truths in a city that values its books as equally as it values it booze (it’s no coincidence that many of the festival events take place in local bars!).
The tremors. I feel them. Yes, this is the Big One. And I, for one, plan to face it with a book and a beer. You can catch me checking out some of the following events:
4 p.m. at Kepler’s Books, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park. Free.
The personal essay with Laura Fraser
Learn about writing the personal essay with award-winning essayist Laura Fraser. Laura is the author of An Italian Affair and All Over the Map. Her work has appeared in Oprah Magazine, The New York Times, More, Ladies’ Home Journal, Salon, Good Housekeeping, as well as in anthologies Best Food Writing and Best Women’s Travel Writing. She’s the editorial director of Shebooks.
9 a.m. at the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto, 490 2nd Street, 2nd Floor, San Francisco. Tickets: $85 in advance.
Celebrating the Legacy of Marcus Books
For more than 50 years, Marcus Books has anchored the Fillmore District and served as a nexus of culture with its mission to provide book stock “by and about black people everywhere.” But this oldest of all US African American bookstores, and champion of authors from James Baldwin and Toni Morrison to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, is in a fight for its own survival. In an afternoon devoted to passing the mic and the hat, authors, musicians, and civic leaders gather to testify and give back to the store they call home. With special guests Chinaka Hodge, Genny Lim, Rickey Vincent, and music by Ezekiel McCarter and Archbishop Franzo King, St. John Coltrane African Orthodox Church. Featuring Dee Dee Deen, Elva Nelson Hayes and Raina J. Leon. Reenactments and recitations of Fillmore and literary history by select students from Gateway Middle School and Meadows Livingstone School. Open house continues until 4 p.m.
1 p.m. at Marcus Books, 1712 Fillmore Street, San Francisco. Free.
Litquake In The Bookstore: Bill Petrocelli in Conversation with Isabel Allende
Author William Petrocelli discusses his new novel, The Circle of Thirteen, with acclaimed author Isabel Allende. William and Isabel will discuss the subject of his book exploring just how far the ripples of violence can go. William’s rich and textured thriller spans seven decades, beginning with a mindless act of family violence and finally culminating in a desperate effort by U.N. Security Director, Julia Moro, to stop a major act of terror.
4 p.m. at Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. Free.
Yokohama Threeway: Beth Lisick at Edinburgh Castle
Celebrating the release of her latest book, Yokohama Threeway, Beth Lisick and Alan Black will chat it up, but there will be no threeway.
4 p.m. at Edinburgh Castle, 950 Geary Street, San Francisco. Tickets: Free.
Lit on the Lake: A Plunge Into the East Bay’s Literary Depths
A showcase of the East Bay’s acclaimed literary minds with cocktails and bites to eat from a literary-themed menu at the beautiful Lake Chalet. Featured writers include: Stacy Carlson, Eli Brown, Amy Franklin-Willis, Joan Steinau Lester, Renee Swindle and Monica Wesolowska.
6 p.m. at Lake Chalet, Gondola Room, 1520 Lakeside Drive, Oakland. Tickets: $5 – $10 suggested donation.
Broad Daylight: Female Poets Read At Yerba Buena Gardens Festival
Lunchtime poetry by some of the country’s best new female poets. Listen to the works of Genine Lentine, Maria Hummel, Cory Van Landingham, Tess Taylor and Solmaz Sharif on the church steps of Jessie Square. Featuring the musical stylings of singer-songwriter John Elliott.
12:30 p.m. at Jessie Square, 736 Mission Street, San Francisco. Free.
Radar Reading Series
A San Francisco queer literary institution the Radar Reading Series founded by Michelle Tea gives voice to innovative queer and outsider writers and artists whose work authentically reflects the LGBTQA community’s diverse experiences. A night of readings by featured writers David Buuck, Phoebe Gloeckner, Holly Hughes, Juliana Spahr and Jerry Stahl followed by audience discussion and cookies baked by hostess Michelle Tea!
6 p.m. at the San Francisco Public Library, Main Branch, 100 Larkin Street, Latino Reading Room, San Francisco. Free.
Center For The Art Of Translation: Panel Discussion Of Clarice Lispector
Clarice Lispector has long been admired by readers of Latin American literature and authors such as Lorrie Moore, Colm Tóibín, and Rachel Kushner have written about this Jewish Brazilian’s dark, modernist novels. The Center for the Art of Translation brings together three writers to discuss this oft-overlooked master of fiction, who has been likened to Virginia Woolf and Franz Kafka. Featuring Katrina Dodson, CJ Evans, Micheline Aharonian Marcom, Idra Novey and Hector Tobar.
6:30 p.m. at the Hotel Rex, 562 Sutter Street, San Francisco. Tickets: $10 at door.
Sandra Tsing Loh at Center for Literary Arts
Sandra will be reading from her works and signing books. A regular commentator on NPR’s Morning Edition and This American Life, Sandra is also contributing editor for Atlantic Monthly, and was named one of the 50 most influential comedians by Variety. For more information, visit LitArt.org.
7 p.m. at San Jose State University, One Washington Square, University Theater, San Jose. Free.
Sister, Mother, Husband, Dog: Delia Ephron in Conversation with Ellen Sussman
Women will love this event. Remember Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 1 and 2 (Limited Gift Set Edition) and You’ve Got Mail, bestselling author of many books, films and plays Delia Ephron and sister of the late Nora Ephron will discuss her new memoir, Sister Mother Husband Dog: Etc., with Ellen Sussman, author of The Paradise Guest House: A Novel.
VIP pre-show reception with food and drink at 6:30 p.m. Doors open to the public at 7:30 p.m. Event begins at 8 p.m. at Z Space, 450 Florida Street. Tickets: $26 advance/$30 at door/$50 VIP reception.
Host Matthew James DeCoster introduces bibliophiles to writers whose work you should know during an evening featuring readings from Martha Grover, Hollie Hardy, Nick Johnson, Joel Landmine, Juli C. Lasselle, SB Stokes, Amy Thigpen, Tim Toaster and Zarina Zabrisky.
8 p.m. at The Emerald Tablet, 80 Fresno Street, San Francisco. Free.
Inside the California Food Revolution
Chef and author Joyce Goldstein traces California food culture from the 1970s to the present – a time when “farm-to-table,” “foraging” and “fusion cuisine” became part of the national vocabulary – in her authoritative new book, Inside the California Food Revolution: Thirty Years That Changed Our Culinary Consciousness (California Studies in Food and Culture). Join us for cocktails and an intimate discussion with Carolyn Jung about how the Bay Area played a major role in changing the way the world eats.
6:30 p.m. at The Marsh Arts Center, 2121 Allston Way, Berkeley. Ticket: $10 suggested donation. This event is 21+.
Nothing but the Truth: Bay Area Women Tell it Like it Is
Readings from the new anthology Nothing But the Truth So Help Me God: Women on Life’s Transitions, as well as from the bestselling first volume, Nothing But The Truth So Help Me God: 51 Women Reveal the Power of Positive Female Connection. Featuring writers Jessica Buchleitner, Jennifer Bush, Dolores Coleman, Belva Davis, Claire Hennessy, Kat Hurley, Leslie Lagerstrom, Rebecca Nelson-Lubin, Gina Raith, Diane Tober and Mimi Towle.
Produced by the social network A Band Of Women (ABOW).
7 p.m. at Glass Door Gallery, 245 Columbus Avenue #B, San Francisco. Tickets: $8 advance/$10 at door.
Viola Di Grado
Don’t miss one of Italy’s most exciting new writers in her only U.S. appearance this year. The author of two critically acclaimed novels, Di Grado has been praised by the New York Times for her “shimmering prose” and “strange personal style.” This event is co-presented by the ICISF in conjunction with the Italian government’s Year of Italian Culture in the United States.
7 p.m. at the Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco, 814 Montgomery Street, San Francisco. Free.
Litquake in the Bookstore: Anne Firth Murray
Anne Firth Murray will discuss her books Paradigm Found: Leading and Managing for Positive Change and From Outrage to Courage: Women Taking Action for Health and Justice.
Originally from New Zealand, Anne teaches international women’s health at Stanford University. She is founder and president of The Global Fund for Women and serves on boards for numerous non-profit organizations, including the African Women’s Development Fund, Commonweal, and GRACE (a group working to prevent HIV/AIDS in East Africa).
7:30 p.m. at Kepler’s Books, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park. Free.
Using Words as Arrows: Contemporary Native American Writers
Five Native American voices showcase the diversity of current Indian literature, from reservation humor to unforgettable family history, in poetry, prose, and reportage. Their work spans generations and genres, illuminating the power of the cultural renaissance in which all of these incredible writers are engaged. Each author will amuse, stun, delight, inspire, and break your heart. Featuring writers Natalie Diaz, Joy Harjo, Gordon Lee Johnson, Malcolm Margolin, Deborah A. Miranda and Greg Sarris. Readings followed by a discussion moderated by Heyday Books founder Malcolm Margolin.
7:30 p.m. Z Space, 450 Florida Street, San Francisco. Tickets: $10 advance/$12 at door
Mary Gaitskill at CCA
A special evening with bestselling author Mary Gaitskill reading from her works and answering audience questions hosted by author Tom Barbash. Mary is the author of many chart topping books that have followed her debute collection, Bad Behavior: Stories, which one story was adapted into the film Secretary [Blu-ray].
7 p.m. at California College of The Arts, 1111 Eighth Street (between Hooper and Irwin), San Francisco. Free.
Mothers: The Good, the Bad, and the Untidy
Litquake’s annual Women’s Night focuses on mothers and motherhood this year. From literary fiction to humorous nonfiction, this event offers readings from thoughts on our mothers, becoming a mother and saying “no thank you” to motherhood. This evening celebrating motherhood features stories about death, premature birth, mothers from hell, rebellion against cultural and maternal norms, and finally, option out of motherhood completely. This reading will have something for everyone from authors Katy Butler, Kate Hopper, Kim Wong Keltner, Joan Steinau Lester, Andrea Carla Michaels, Susan Straight and Michelle Tea.
6 p.m. at Hotel Rex, 562 Sutter Street, San Francisco. Tickets: $10 advance/$12 at door.
Poetry Woman / Mujer-Poema
Party in the lobby and Theatre of Mission Cultural Center to celebrate the release of new books by Nina Serrano and Teresa Palazzo Conti.
7 p.m. at Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, 2868 Mission Street, San Francisco. Free.
Anne Perry in Conversation
Famed New York Times bestselling author Anne Perry discusses her art and craft of writing historical mysteries while keeping them modern with San Francisco mystery writer William C. Gordon. Moderated by Victoria Zackheim. Anne will answer audience questions. Co-presented by Mystery Writers of America, Northern California Chapter.
7:30 p.m. at Glass Door Gallery, 245 Columbus Avenue #B, San Francisco. Tickets: $10 advance/$12 at door.
The Art of the Memoir
Three panels on the craft and process of writing with Faith Adiele, Jeff Greenwald, Will Lutwick, Louise Nayer and Julia Scheeres followed by a Q&A session with attendees. Co-sponsored by Booktrack.
12:30 p.m. at Z Space, 450 Florida Street, San Francisco. Tickets: $5 for each panel; $9 for two; $12 for all three.
Joie de Livre: Celebrating the Joy of Shared Reading
Mystery and Wonder panel of contemporary fiction authors including Jillian Cantor, Lauren Grodstein and Laurie R. King moderated by Amanda McTigue. Presented by the Women’s National Book Association, San Francisco Chapter, in observance of National Reading Group Month.
1 p.m. at Books Inc., Opera Plaza, 601 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco. Free.
The Art of the Novel
Part three of the three panels on the craft and process of writing. The Art of the Novel features Chris Baty, Carol Edgarian, Karen Joy Fowler, Susan Straight and Gail Tsukiyama discussing the craft of the novel followed by a Q&A session.
Co-sponsored by Booktrack.
4 p.m. at the Z Space, 450 Florida Street, San Francisco. Tickets: $5 for each panel; $9 for two; $12 for all three.
The traditional three hour literary event celebrating the end of Litquake hosting live readings of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and more in bookstores, bars, art galleries, restaurants, stores, cafés, a bowling alley, community spaces… even a police station throughout San Francisco.
ALL Lit Crawl readings are free and open to the public (although some venues are 21 and over) with a suggested donation of $1 to support Litquake. Check out the schedule at LitCrawl.org/sf.
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