In October 2013, for the first time ever, we move our date to the third Thursday — October 17 — just so we can bring our fabulousness to the ultra-fabulousness that is Litquake. Come endure the fabulousness if you dare. Studio 333 in Sausalito, October 17, 2013. Curated by Peg Alford Pursell. Doors open at 7 pm; readings begin at 7:15. $10. Bring extra cash for books and booze.
Sally Ball is the author of Wreck Me and Annus Mirabilis. Her poems have appeared online at Narrative and Slate; in print in the American Poetry Review, Forklift Ohio, Harvard Review, Ploughshares, Yale Review; and other magazines, as well as in The Best American Poetry anthology. An assistant professor of English at Arizona State University, she is also associate director of Four Way Books. She has received fellowships from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the James Merrill House, and the Ucross Foundation. She has also taught at the Frost Place Conference on Poetry.
Vikram Chandra’s first novel, Red Earth and Pouring Rain, published in 1995, won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book and the David Higham Prize for Fiction. His collection of short stories, Love and Longing in Bombay, was published in 1997. Love and Longing in Bombay won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book (Eurasia region) and was short-listed for the Guardian Fiction Prize. The book was included in “Notable Books of 1997” by the New York Times Book Review, in “Best Books of the Year” by the Independent (London), in “Best Books of the Year” by the Guardian (London), and in “The Ten Best Books of 1997” by Outlook magazine (New Delhi). Sacred Games, a novel, was published in 2006. The book was awarded the Hutch Crossword Prize for Fiction in English (the “Indian Booker”) for 2006; it was also the winner of a 2007 Salon Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. Sacred Games was included in numerous annual lists including “Books of the Year,” The Independent (UK); “Books of the Year,” Financial Times (UK); “10 Best Asian Books of 2006,” Time (Asia Edition); “Best Fiction of 2006,” Guardian (USA); “The Fiction List for 2006,” Bloomberg.com (USA). He has published in the Paris Review and the New Yorker. His work has been translated into nineteen languages. He currently divides his time between Bombay and Berkeley, California, where he teaches creative writing at the University of California.
Russell Dillion was born in New York in the mid-seventies and just hasn’t been able to get over it. After attending a number of schools, he received degrees from Emerson and Bennington College, later ending up in San Francisco for nearly a decade. Now, back in New York he only eats burritos facing west and continues to co-edit the magazine Big Bell. Poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Lumberyard, H_NGM_N, Forklift Ohio, 5 am, Parthenon West, Mi Poesia, and Bright Pink Mosquito, among others. A chapbook, Secret Damage, was released from Forklift Ink in 2009, and his full-length collection, Eternal Patrol, appeared from Forklift Books in the summer of 2013.
Rae Gouirand’s first collection of poetry, Open Winter, was selected by Elaine Equi for the 2011 Bellday Prize, and won a 2012 Independent Publisher Book Award and the 2012 Eric Hoffer Book Award. Her new work has appeared most recently in American Poetry Review, PANK, Handsome, VOLT, The Brooklyner, Gertrude, and The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide. An adjunct lecturer in the Department of English at UC-Davis, she leads numerous private and grant-funded workshops in poetry and prose throughout the Central Valley and the cross-genre online workshop SCRIBE LAB.
Matt Hart is the author of five books of poetry, most recently Sermons and Lectures Both Blank and Relentless (Typecast Publishing, 2012) and Debacle Debacle (H_NGM_N Books, 2013), as well as several chapbooks. Additionally, his poems, reviews, and essays have appeared in numerous print and online journals, including Big Bell, Cincinnati Review, Coldfront, Columbia Poetry Review, H_NGM_N, Harvard Review, jubilat, Lungfull!, Post Road, and r.kv.r.y among others. His awards include a Pushcart Prize and a 2013 individual artist grant from The Shifting Foundation, and fellowships from both the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers. A co-founder and the editor-in-chief of Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking & Light Industrial Safety, he lives in Cincinnati where he teaches at the Art Academy of Cincinnati and plays in the band TRAVEL.
Kate Milliken’s story collection, If I’d Known You Were Coming, won the 2013 John Simmons Iowa Short Fiction Award, judged by Julie Orringer. Her stories previously appeared in Zyzzyva, Meridian, New Orleans Review, Fiction, and the Santa Monica Review, among others, as well as earned several pushcart nominations and fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and the Tin House Summer Writing Workshops. Before completing her MFA at the Bennington College Writing Seminars, Kate wrote for television and commercial advertising. She now teaches both privately and on behalf of the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program as well as at Book Passage in Corte Madera. Born in New Haven, Connecticut, briefly raised on a farm in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, and eventually bouncing between her mother’s house in Los Angeles and her father’s home in Chicago, Kate, now settled with her husband and two kids in the suburban wilds of Mill Valley, California.
Melissa Pritchard is the nationally renowned author of four short story collections: The Odditorium, Disappearing Ingenue, The Instinct for Bliss, and Spirit Seizures; and four novels: Phoenix, Selene of the Spirits, Late Bloomer, and Palmerino, forthcoming in 2014. She is also the author of Devotedly, Virginia, a biography of Arizona philanthropist Virginia Galvin Piper. Spirit Seizures, a New York Times Notable Book, received both the Flannery O’Connor and Carl Sandburg Awards. The Instinct for Bliss, also a New York Times Notable Book, received the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize, and Disappearing Ingenue, a Doubleday “Fiction for the Rest of Us,” selection, was chosen to appear on National Public Radio’s 2002 Summer Reading List. The Odditorium, selected as an Oprah Winfrey “Book of the Week,” received rave reviews nationally and was also a Library Journal and San Francisco Chronicle Book of the Year, 2012. Her short stories are frequently anthologized and cited in Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, The Pushcart Prize, Best of the West, Best American Short Stories, the Prentice Hall Anthology of Women’s Literature and numerous other anthologies and college textbooks. Her fiction has appeared in over sixty renowned literary journals, including The Paris Review, A Public Space, Agni, Ecotone, The Southern Review, Gulf Coast, Conjunctions, Gettysburg Review and Image: Art, Faith, Mystery. Her book reviews, essays, and journalism pieces have appeared in The Wilson Quarterly, O, the Oprah Winfrey Magazine, the Nation, the New York Times Book Review and Chicago Tribune Books. Her essay, “A Solemn Pleasure,” published in Conjunctions by guest editor, David Shields, has been reprinted in The Inevitable: Contemporary Writers Confront Death, W.W. Norton, 2011. A recipient of numerous awards, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Howard Foundation at Brown University, the Illinois Arts Council, Writer’s Voice YMCA, Scotland’s Hawthornden Castle, the Bogliasco Foundation (Liguria, Italy), and the Ledig-Rowohlt Foundation (Chateau de Lavigny, Switzerland), Melissa teaches at Arizona State University and has served as judge for The Flannery O’Connor Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award.
Jane Smiley is the author of thirteen works of fiction, including The Age of Grief, The Greenlanders, Ordinary Love and Good Will, A Thousand Acres, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992, Moo, Horse Heaven, which was short-listed for the Orange Prize in 2002, The All True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton, which won the 1999 Spur Award for Best Novel of the West. and Good Earth, as well as many essays for such magazines as Vogue, The New Yorker, Elle, Outside, Harper’s The American Prospect, Practical Horseman, The New York Times Magazine and The New York Times travel section, Victoria, Mirabella, Allure, The Nation, The Guardian Sport Monthly, Real Simple, Playboy, and others. She has written on politics, farming, horse training, child-rearing, literature, impulse buying, getting dressed, Barbie, marriage, and many other topics. She is also the author of the four books of nonfiction, including A Year at the Races, Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel, and from Penguin Lives Series, a biography of Charles Dickens. She was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2001. In December 2006, Jane received the Pen USA Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature. She lives in Northern California, as do several of her horses.
Why There Are Words takes place every second Thursday of the month, when people come from San Francisco, the North Bay, the East Bay — everywhere — to crowd the house. The brainchild of Peg Alford Pursell, this literary goodness has been going strong for three years. Join us again in November on our regularly scheduled night!
To err is human… In fact, blundering may be what we humans do best. Our common thread: one lovely slip-up after another. Don’t make the MISTAKE of missing what our readers have to share about this topic. (You knew we were going to say that, didn’t you?) Studio 333 in Sausalito, September 12, 2013. Curated by Peg Alford Pursell. Doors open at 7 pm; readings begin at 7:15. $10. Bring extra cash for books and booze.
Thaisa Frank’s sixth book, Enchantment, includes two semi-autobiographical novellas and thirty-three stories. Heidegger’s Glasses (2010), about the mythical haven of an underground mine during WWII, sold to ten foreign countries. She is also the author of Sleeping in Velvet and A Brief History of Camouflage. Her one non-fiction book, Finding Your Writer’s Voice, has been translated into Portuguese and Spanish and is used in MFA programs.
Cristina García is the author of, most recently, the novel King of Cuba. She is the author of six other novels, including: Dreaming in Cuban, The Agüero Sisters, Monkey Hunting, A Handbook to Luck, and The Lady Matador’s Hotel. She has edited two anthologies, Cubanísimo: The Vintage Book of Contemporary Cuban Literature and Bordering Fires: The Vintage Book of Contemporary Mexican and Chicano/a Literature. Two works for young readers, The Dog Who Loved the Moon, and I Wanna Be Your Shoebox were published in 2008. A collection of poetry, The Lesser Tragedy of Death, was published in 2010. Her recent young adult novel, Dreams of Significant Girls, is set in a Swiss boarding school in the 1970s. Her work has been nominated for a National Book Award and translated into fourteen languages. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University, and an NEA grant, among others. Recently, she was a Visiting Professor at the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas-Austin as well as the University of Miami. Currently, she is University Chair in Creative Writing at Texas State University-San Marcos.
Helen Hooper’s fiction appears in the journals The Common, Bellevue Literary Review, Hopkins Review, New South, and the anthology Gravity Dancer: Fiction from Washington Area Women. A 2011-2013 Stegner fellow, she is a former Kenyon Review workshop Peter Taylor fellow and a recipient of residencies at Ucross, Ragdale and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She worked in environmental policy in Washington, D.C. for twenty-five years, most recently as a lobbyist for The Nature Conservancy. She holds an MFA from Warren Wilson. She is currently working on a novel set in northern Alabama.
Rebecca Lawton is an author and naturalist whose literary honors include the Ellen Meloy Fund Award for Desert Writers, residencies at Hedgebrook and The Island Institute, and three Pushcart Prize nominations – in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Her collection of essays about whitewater guiding, Reading Water: Lessons from the River, was a San Francisco Chronicle Bay Area Bestseller in 2008 and ForeWord Nature Book of the Year finalist in 2003. She is co-author of four additional books on creativity and the outdoors, including the forthcoming Sacrament: Homage to a River (Heyday, 2013). Her debut novel, Junction, Utah, explores the impact of oil exploration on American wilderness and rural life (van Haitsma Literary, 2013). She was one of the first women guides on Western rivers, spending ten of fourteen seasons in Grand Canyon. Currently she serves on the Board of Directors for Friends of the River.
Keenan Norris’ novel Brother and the Dancer is the winner of the 2012 James D. Houston Award and will be published by Heyday Books in November 2013. He holds an MFA from Mills College and a PhD from the University of California, Riverside. His research interests include urban literature and the publishing industry. He teaches English, African-American Literature and promotes the AFFIRM program at Evergreen Valley College in San Jose, California. His work, both fiction and non-fiction, has appeared in the Santa Monica, Green Mountains, and Evansville Reviews, Connotation Press, Inlandia: A Literary Journey Through California’s Inland Empire, and BOOM: A Journal of California. He is also the editor of Scarecrow Press’s upcoming collection of critical essays Street Lit: Popularity, Controversy & Analysis and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Elizabeth Scarboro is the author of the memoir My Foreign Cities, an unlikely love story set on the frontiers of modern medicine, which was listed by Publisher’s Weekly as one of the Top Ten Memoirs for Spring. She is also the author of two novels for children. Her writing has appeared most recently in the New York Times and the Bellevue Literary Review. She lives with her family in Berkeley, California.
Ransom Stephens is a science writer, physicist, and novelist. He’s written over 300 articles on subjects ranging from quantum physics to parenting teenagers, produces events for Litquake, and co-produces two literary series. His first novel, The God Patent, was “the first debut novel to emerge from the new paradigm of online publishing,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle. His second novel, The Sensory Deception, is a mind-blowing, globe-trotting ride that will take readers from cut-throat Silicon Valley boardrooms to the pirate ships off the Somali coast to the devastated rain forests of the Amazon all to ask the question: what is a human life worth compared to that of an entire planet?
Monica Wesolowska is the author of the memoir, Holding Silvan: A Brief Life (Hawthorne Books, March 2013 with an intro by Erica Jong), which explores the love and ethics behind forgoing medical intervention for her newborn son. She has published her work in many literary journals and anthologies including Best New American Voices 2000; My Little Red Book; Beach: Stories from the Sand and Sea; The Carolina Quarterly; Pisgah Review; Quarter After Eight; and online at Literary Mama. A former fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, she has taught fiction writing at UC Berkeley Extension for over a decade. She lives in her hometown of Berkeley with her family.
Why There Are Words takes place every second Thursday of the month, when people come from San Francisco, the North Bay, the East Bay — everywhere — to crowd the house. The brainchild of Peg Alford Pursell, this literary goodness has been going strong for three years.
Why There Are Words Literary Reading Series always provides a magical night with its award-winning writers. Join us August 8, 2013 at Studio 333 to find out what the following fine writers have up their sleeves when they read their works on the theme “Magic.” Doors open at 7 pm & readings begin at 7:15. $10. Bring extra cash for books and booze.
Nan Cuba is the author of Body and Bread (Engine Books), one of “Ten Titles to Pick Up Now” in O, Oprah’s Magazine and a “Summer Books” choice from Huffington Post. She also co-edited Art at our Doorstep: San Antonio Writers and Artists (Trinity University Press) and published other work in such places as Quarterly West, Columbia, Antioch Review, Harvard Review, storySouth, and Connotation Press. As an investigative journalist, she reported on the causes of extraordinary violence in LIFE, Third Coast, and D Magazine. She is founder and executive director emeritus of the nonprofit literary center, Gemini Ink, and an associate professor of English at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio.
Julie DeBondt-Barker is the author of The Mourning After. Since the book’s release, she was invited to become an Ambassador for Beyondblue (an independent, not-for-profit organization), for which she is speaking on the national circuit. She assisted Bishop Gene Robinson’s tour of Australia, “Straight Talk About Gay Marriage.” Born and raised in Oregon she has called Melbourne, Australia, home for the past 28 years.
Katie Hafner is the author of most recently the memoir Mother Daughter Me. She was on staff at The New York Times for ten years, where she remains a frequent contributor, writing on healthcare and technology. She has also worked at Newsweek and BusinessWeek, and has written for The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Wired, The New Republic, The Huffington Post, and O, The Oprah Magazine. She is the author of five previous works of nonfiction covering a diverse range of topics, including the origins of the Internet, computer hackers, German reunification, and the pianist Glenn Gould.
Alan Kaufman is a Bronx-born son of a Holocaust survivor and an Israeli army veteran. One of the founders of the Spoken Word/Slam poetry movement, he is a critically-acclaimed novelist, memoirist, and poet. He is the author of the memoirs Jew Boy (which has recently been optioned for a feature film) and Drunken Angel, the novel Matches, and a volume of poetry entitled, Who Are We?. In his writings, he speaks from the visceral perspective of the modern Jewish experience. The San Francisco based author is also the editor of The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry. His anthology, TheOutlaw Bible of American Literature, was reviewed on the cover of the New York Times Book Review. He’s taught at the Academy of Art University and is currently the Dean of the Free University of San Francisco.
Natalie Serber is the author of the story collection Shout Her Lovely Name (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012), a New York Times 100 “Notable Books” of 2012 and a summer reading pick from O, the Oprah Magazine, and an Oregonian Top 10 Books of the Pacific Northwest. Her fiction has appeared in The Bellingham Review, Fourth Genre, Gulf Coast, Inkwell, Hunger Mountain. Essays and reviews have appeared at, The Rumpus, The New York Times, The Oregonian, and Hunger Mountain. Awards and grants include the Barbara Deming Grant for Women Artists, Tobias Wolff Award, H.E. Francis Award, John Steinbeck Award, all for fiction, and finalist mentions for the Annie Dillard Creative Nonfiction Award, and The Third Coast Fiction Award. She received an MFA from Warren Wilson College and teaches writing at Marylhurst University in Portland, Oregon. She’s currently working on a novel set in Boring, Oregon.
Ryan Sloan is the author of the forthcoming novel The Plagiarists. His work has appeared in LA Weekly, Nerve, Opium Magazine, and Painted Bride Quarterly. He teaches writing at UC Berkeley, where he also serves as the Program Coordinator for the UC Berkeley Summer Creative Writing Program.
Jane Vandenburgh‘s latest book is The Wrong Dog Dream. She is the award-winning author of two novels, Failure to Zigzag and The Physics of Sunset, as well as the nonfiction works, Architecture of the Novel, A Writer’s Handbook, and The Pocket History of Sex in the Twentieth Century, A Memoir. She has taught writing and literature at U. C. Davis, the George Washington University, and, most recently, at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, Callfornia. A native of Berkeley, she has returned to live with her family in the West, and with Wayne Thiebaud, her new dog.
Why There Are Words celebrated its third year in January 2013, takes place every second Thursday of the month, and is the brainchild of curator Peg Alford Pursell.
Question. We all do it. We all should. Come find out what questions our readers explore in their works — and maybe get some answers, too. July 11. Doors open at 7 pm; readings begin at 7:15. $10. You’ll want extra cash for books and booze. We’re at Studio 333 in Sausalito, as always.
Kate Asche, M.A., writes poetry, essays, and–recently–even a little fiction. A graduate of the UC Davis Creative Writing Program, she was a finalist for the 2011 Audio Contest at The Missouri Review and has poetry published in RHINO, Confrontation, Late Peaches: Poems by Sacramento Poets (2012 Anthology) and elsewhere, with poems forthcoming in Bellingham Review and Quiddity. Her creative nonfiction appears in Under the Gum Tree. A trained facilitator in the Amherst Writers and Artists Method, she was associate director of Arts, Humanities and Writing at UC Davis Extension, where she coordinated The Tomales Bay Workshops under the direction of Pam Houston. She teaches creative writing workshops in Sacramento and serves as associate editor of Tule Review (a publication of Sacramento Poetry Center). You can get the scoop on area writing events at her website. (Click on her name above.)
Christian Kiefer earned his PhD in American literature from the University of California, Davis, and is on the English faculty of American River College in Sacramento. He is an active poet, songwriter, and recording artist, and lives in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern California with his wife and six sons. The Infinite Tides is his first published novel.
JC (Jeanne) Miller’s recent novel is Vacation (Last Light Studio Press April, 2013). She attended Tin House Writer’s Workshop, and she has been a Master Class resident at Hedgebrook Institute. Jeanne is avid reader, aspiring traveler, and table tennis enthusiast.
Tim J. Myers is a writer, songwriter, storyteller, and senior lecturer at Santa Clara University in Silicon Valley. His children’s books have won recognition from the New York Times, NPR, the Smithsonian, Nickelodeon, and others. He’s published over 120 poems, won a first prize in a poetry contest judged by John Updike, has two books of adult poetry out, won a major prize in science fiction, has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes, and has published much other fiction and non-fiction for children, adolescents, and adults. His Glad to Be Dad: A Call to Fatherhood won the inaugural Ben Franklin Digital Award from the Independent Book Publishers Association and made #5 on Amazon’s “Hot New Releases in Fatherhood.” He won the West Coast Songwriters Saratoga Chapter Song of the Year award, and he won the 2012 Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators Magazine Merit Award for Fiction. And he can whistle and hum at the same time.
Nina Schuyler’s latest novel is The Translator, just published (Pegasus Books 2013). Hee first novel, The Painting, was a finalist for the Northern California Book Award, and named a “Best Book of the Year” by the San Francisco Chronicle, and dubbed a “fearless debut” by MSNBC – and translated into Chinese, Portuguese, and Serbian. She was nominated for a 2010 Pushcart Prize and teaches creative writing at the University of San Francisco. Her poems, short stories, and essays have appeared in ZYZZYVA, Santa Clara Review, Fugue, The Meadowland Review, The Battered Suitcase, and other literary journals. She reviews fiction for The Rumpus and The Children’s Book Review, and is the fiction editor at Able Muse. She earned a law degree at Hastings College of the Law and an MFA in fiction with an emphasis on poetry at San Francisco State University. She currently teaches creative writing at the University of San Francisco.
Sue Staats is a Sacramento writer whose fiction and poetry have appeared in Farallon Review, r.kv.r.y, Alimentum, a Journal of Food, and others. Her poem “Late Peaches” was selected as the title poem of the 2012 Sacramento Poetry Anthology. She’s a graduate of Pacific University’s low-residency MFA program, and her stories have been twice featured at Sacramento’s reading series, “Stories on Stage.” A recent finalist for the Gulf Coast Prize in Fiction and the Nisqually Prize in Fiction, she’s currently working on a collection of linked short stories, and like most of us has a novel or two lurking in the wings.
Kathleen Winter’s book Nostalgia for the Criminal Past (Elixir Press, 2012) won the Antivenom Prize and the 2013 Texas Institute of Letters Bob Bush Award for best first book of poems. Her poems have appeared in Tin House, The New Republic, AGNI, Field, VOLT, Parthenon West Review, and Barrow Street. Her work is forthcoming in New American Writing, Alaska Quarterly Review, Spillway, Stand (U.K.), and The Cincinnati Review. She lives in Sonoma County and teaches at University of San Francisco and Napa Valley College.
Why There Are Words celebrated its third year in January 2013, takes place every second Thursday of the month, and is the brainchild of curator Peg Alford Pursell.
Ch-ch-ch-changes, make that Transition. That’s our theme for June 13. What will remain the same at Why There Are Words is the quality of the readers. Join us for the following writers and authors reading from their works. Doors open at 7 pm; readings begin at 7:15. $10. You’ll want extra cash for books and booze.
Melanie Abrams is the author of the novel Playing. She teaches creative writing at UC Berkeley and received her MFA from UNC Greensboro. Her novel has been translated in Italian, French, German, and Hebrew.
Jon Boilard was born and raised in Western Massachussetts. He has been living in Northern California since 1986. More than 50 of his short stories have been published in literary journals in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia. A River Closely Watched is his first novel, which has been shortlisted for the Northern California Book Award.
Seth Harwood’s new novel In Broad Daylight (Thomas & Mercer) features a new character for him, FBI agent Jess Harding. In the novel, she chases a vicious serial killer’s bloody trail across the summer planes and white nights of Alaska. He has also published three other crime novels—Young Junius, This Is Life, and the bestselling Jack Wakes Up – as well as a collection of stories, A Long Way from Disney. He holds an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and teaches creative writing at Stanford and CCSF. Serialized versions of his work as free audio podcasts have been downloaded over one million times via iTunes, Podiobooks and at his website.
Jen Michalski is the author of the novel The Tide King (Black Lawrence Press, 2013), the short story collections From Here (Aqueous Books 2013) and Close Encounters (So New 2007), and a collection of novellas, Could You Be With Her Now 2013). She is the founding editor of the literary quarterly jmww, a co-host of The 510 Readings, and also is the editor of the anthology City Sages: Baltimore, which Baltimore Magazine called a “Best of Baltimore” in 2010. She lives in Baltimore and tweets here.
Andrea Pitzer is the author of The Secret History of Vladimir Nabokov (Pegasus Books, 2013). She founded and edited Nieman Storyboard, the narrative nonfiction site of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. Her writing has appeared in many places, from Slate and USA Today to McSweeney’s and Poet Lore. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and two children.
Vicente R. Viray’s writing has appeared in the Greensboro Review, California Northern, Stymie: A Journal of Sport & Literature, Chelsea Station, Tattoo Highway, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA from the University of San Francisco. He lives in San Francisco with his partner Paul and is currently working on a short story collection.
Jon Wells is a designer, writer, and filmmaker living in Mill Valley. In his life he has been a soldier, a Marine, a mountaineer, a rock climber, a white water kayaker and a sailor. His film, At the Epicenter of the Epidemic, concerning the HIV/AIDS crisis in Honduras was accepted at the Tiburon International Film Festival. He is an alum of the Squaw Valley Community of writers. He Died All Day Long is his first novel.
Rob Yardumian received his MFA from Warren Wilson College in 1997. The Sound of Songs Across the Water is his first novel. His short fiction has been published in The Southern Review, The New Orleans Review, The Antioch Review, The Madison Review, Sycamore Review, Berkeley Fiction Review, and Porcupine Literary Arts. Before receiving his MFA, Rob spent ten years in the music business, including stints as director of marketing for a record label and creative director for a publishing company. Currently, he lives in Portland, OR.
Mariah K. Young was born in San Leandro, and spent her childhood in the East Bay and in Lahaina, Hawai’i. She graduated with an English degree from California State University East Bay, where she won the inaugural RV Williams fiction prize. Her first short story collection, Masha’allah and Other Stories, received the James D. Houston Award in 2012, honoring books by writers whose voices reflect humane values and a thoughtful literary exploration of California, Hawai’i, and the West. Mariah currently lives and teaches writing in Los Angeles, and is hard at work on a novel.
Why There Are Words celebrated its third year in January 2013, takes place every second Thursday of the month, and is the brainchild of curator Peg Alford Pursell.
There are always new words to be heard, to inspire, amaze, and move you at Why There Are Words, and this event will be no exception. Doors open at 7 pm; readings begin at 7:15. $10. Bring extra cash for books and booze.
Louise Aronson is the author of A History of the Present Illness, linked stories which take readers into the lives of diverse doctors, patients, and their families, providing an intimate portrait of health and illness in modern life. Her writing has appeared in literary and medical journals and the lay press, including the Bellevue Literary Review, Northwest Review, Fourteen Hills, Annals of Internal Medicine, and the New York Times. She has won the Sonora Review Prize, the New Millennium Short Fiction Award, multiple writer’s residency fellowships, and three Pushcart nominations. A geriatrician, medical educator, and Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), she is also the founding director of UCSF Medical Humanities and the field of Public Medical Writing, which provides clinicians and scientists with the craft skills to advocate, educate, and bear witness to key experiences and issues in medicine. Find her on twitter @louisearonson.
Winner of the 2008 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize, Cheryl Dumesnil is the author of the memoir Love Song for Baby X and the poetry collection In Praise of Falling. She edited Hitched! Wedding Stories from San Francisco City Hall and co-edited, with Kim Addonizio, Dorothy Parker’s Elbow: Tattoos on Writers, Writers on Tattoos. She’s a regular contributor to Huffington Post.
Josh Farrar is the author of the middle-grade novels, Rules to Rock By and A Song for Bijou. He started writing fiction after spending ten years at companies like LeapFrog and Scholastic, where he designed and produced software that helped kids become better readers. His first love was music, which is probably why music has played such a prominent role in his fiction. (Rules, about the formation of a middle-school rock band, featured an original soundtrack; and Bijou features enough Haitian drumming that it could be sold with a volume knob). He has played in bands, composed music for plays and films, and when he’s not reading or writing, he usually has a stringed instrument in his hands. A graduate of Wesleyan University, he lives with his family in Brooklyn.
Paul Mihas has taught creative writing in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina for over ten years, including classes at the continuing education departments of Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the recipient of the 2008 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the 2008 Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction. Mihas is a Greek American and often writes about the blending of cultures in the U.S. His fiction has been published in Prairie Schooner, Best of the West, Nimrod International Journal, Pindeldyboz, Talking River, and Northwoods Anthology.
Brian Sousa‘s debut collection of stories Almost Gone has been described as “doing for Portuguese immigrants from Southern New England what Stuart Dybek did for the Polish of Chicago,” by Jeff Parker, author of Ovenman. He has published poetry and prose in various journals and anthologies, including Verdad, Newfound, Quiddity, Redivider, and others. His fiction is also featured in the Rutgers University Press anthology of Luso-American Literature, 2011. In 2007, he was awarded a fellowship by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, and in 2011, he was a finalist for the Dzanc Books International Literary Award, and winner of a scholarship to the Dzanc Books International Literary Program in Portugal. He holds an MFA from Emerson College, is an editor for the music and culture website Mule Variations, and teaches writing at Boston College. He also plays guitar in the indie-rock band Ocean*Transfer.
Melanie Thorne is the author of Hand Me Down, a debut novel in the tradition of Dorothy Allison and Janet Fitch that Publisher’s Weekly deemed “an intriguing first outing by a talented new writer.” A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2012 and a 2013 YALSA Alex Award nominee, Hand Me Down has been widely praised by media, including the San Francisco Chronicle and Daily Candy, and received a “compelling” 3.5/4 stars from People. Melanie earned her MA in Creative Writing from the University of CA, Davis, and has been awarded the Alva Englund Fellowship, the Maurice Prize in Fiction, and a residency at the Hedgebrook Writers’ Retreat. She lives in Northern California with her fiancé, and is currently at work on her second novel.
Nancy Zafris is the series editor for the Flannery O’Connor award for short fiction. Before that she was the fiction editor of The Kenyon Review for nine years. This month, April 2013, she has released a new collection of short stories, The Home Jar(Switchgrass Books/NIU Press.) Her first collection of short stories, The People I Know, won the Flannery O’Connor award as well as the Ohioana Library Association award. Her two novels are The Metal Shredders, a New York Times notable book, and Lucky Strike, a BookSense notable. She is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts grants and has taught at many universities, including Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic as a Fulbright Fellow. Each June she teaches at the Kenyon Review Adult Summer Workshop, where she is also Associate Director.
Why There Are Words Literary Reading Series presents the following award-winning writers reading from their works on the theme “Edge” on April 11, 2013 (during the “cruelest month.”) Get down to Studio 333, where you can mix memory and desire, breed lilacs out of the dead land, etc. Doors open at 7 pm & we begin at 7:15. $10. Bring extra cash for books and booze.
Jayne Benjulian’s poetry appears in the literary journals The Seattle Review, Zone 3, Sequoia, Verdad, and Barrow Street among others. Her essays and interviews with playwrights and artists are published in magazines, theater playbills, and HowlRound, the online theater zine. She was Fulbright Lecturer in American Language & Literature in Lyon, France, and from 2008-2011, Director of New Play Development at Magic Theatre. She is a graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers.
Claire Blotter writes and performs poetry with movement, sound, and body rhythms. Her work has been published in Barnwood, Gargoyle, the We’Moon Datebooks, California Quarterly, and Canary, among others. She represented San Francisco in poetry slams in the early ’90’s, placing second in National Team Competitions in Boston and Chicago. Her award winning video documentary, “Wake Up Call: Saving the Songbirds,” has been screened in 11 film festivals from Mill Valley to Chicago. She also taught writing and theater at S.F. State University, John F. Kennedy University, Dominican University, and the College of Marin. Her third chapbook, Moment in the Moment House, will be published by Finishing Line Press in early 2013.She teaches in the Independent Study, California Poets in the Schools, and Poetry Out Loud Programs in Marin County.
David Corbett is the author of four novels: The Devil’s Redhead, Done for a Dime (a New York Times Notable Book), Blood of Paradise (nominated for numerous awards, including the Edgar), and Do They Know I’m Running (Spinetingler Award, Best Novel—Rising Star Category 2011). His short fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, with two stories selected for Best American Mystery Stories. In 2012, Mysterious Press/Open Road Media re-issued all four of his novels plus a story collection in ebook format, and in January 2013 Penguin published his textbook on the craft of characterization, The Art of Character (“A writer’s bible that will lead to your character’s soul.” —Elizabeth Brundage).
The year she turned 50, Rebecca Foust took a look at her bucket list and realized she needed to get moving. She earned her MFA from Warren Wilson in 2010, the same year her first and second books were published. God, Seed won the Foreword Book of the Year Award and was a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award. All That Gorgeous Pitiless Song won the Many Mountains Moving Book Prize and was nominated for the Poet’s Prize. New poems are in the Hudson Review, JAMA, Sewanee Review, Woman’s Review of Books, and Zyzzyva . She also writes book reviews and essays, and she reads fiction as an assistant editor for Narrative Magazine.
Jennifer Gennari is the author of My Mixed-up Berry Blue Summer (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2012), an Association of Booksellers for Children Spring 2012 New Voices title and American Library Association Rainbow List title. Her poems have appeared in Marin Poetry Center anthologies. A graduate of Vermont College of Fine Arts and a former reporter, she lives on a houseboat in Sausalito with her husband and (occasionally) their four daughters.
Laleh Khadivi is the author of The Age of Orphans and The Walking. She is the recipient of a number of prizes and some very excellent teaching and guidance concerning the reading and writing of fiction. Her work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle and The Virginia Quarterly Review.
Joshua Mohr is the author of four novels, including Damascus, which The New York Times called “Beat-poet cool.” He’s also written the novels Some Things that Meant the World to Me, one of O Magazine’s Top 10 reads of 2009 and a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller, and Termite Parade, an editors’ choice on The New York Times Bestseller List. He lives in San Francisco and teaches in the MFA program at USF. His latest novel is Fight Song, published in February 2013.
Why There Are Words Literary Reading Series presents seven award-winning writers reading from their works on the theme “Serendipity” on March 14, 2013. Get down to Studio 333 to discover what literary fortune awaits in this Chinese Year of the Snake! Doors open at 7 pm & we begin at 7:15. $10. Bring extra cash for books and booze.
Rahimeh Andalibian is the author of the memoir, The Rose Hotel, which chronicles the story of her Iranian Muslim family and their fight to strive after being uprooted from their homeland to California during the Iranian Revolution of l979. The Rose Hotel has received rave reviews and recently topped Amazon’s #1 bestseller list in the memoir category. She has worked as a licensed clinical psychologist in Laguna Beach and New York City, conducting intergenerational family therapy sessions with individuals, children, couples, and families. She employs creative expression and storytelling to support others in understanding their suffering and break through encrusted communication patterns to create positive change in themselves and the world.
Daniel Levin Becker is Reviews Editor of The Believer and a member of the Paris-based Oulipo collective. His first book, Many Subtle Channels: In Praise of Potential Literature, was published by Harvard University Press in 2012.
Beth Bosworth won the 2012 Drue Heinz Literature Prize for her short fiction collection The Source of Life and Other Stories, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. She has taught at the New School for Social Research, CUNY’s NYC Technical College, and for many years at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn, where she is also founding editor of the Saint Ann’s Review. Her publications include a novel, Tunneling, and a collection of short stories, A Burden of Earth. Her stories have appeared in the Kenyon Review, the Seneca Review, Forward, IMAGE, Hanging Loose, Guernica, and elsewhere.
Laurie Ann Doyle admits to being born in Bakersfield way before it was shrouded in smog. She’s won the Alligator Juniper National Fiction Award, as well as nominations for a 2012 Pushcart Prize and Best New American Voices 2008. Her short stories, essays, and poems have appeared in over a dozen literary publications, including Arroyo Literary Review, Dogwood Journal, and Farallon Review. She teaches writing at UC Berkeley, co-hosts San Francisco’s eclectic reading series Babylon Salon, and is hard at work on a book of stories touching on love, death, and a few points in between.
Recipient of the 2004 Ferro-Grumley and Violet Quill awards for his first novel, Through It Came Bright Colors (Harrington Park Press), Trebor Healey is also the author of a collection of poems, Sweet Son of Pan, (Suspect Thoughts, 2006), as well as a short story collection, A Perfect Scar & Other Stories (Harrington Park Press, 2007). He co-edited (with Marci Blackman) Beyond Definition: New Writing from Gay and Lesbian San Francisco (Manic D Press, 1994) and co-edited (with Amie M. Evans) Queer & Catholic (Routledge, 2008). His novels Faun (Lethe Press) and A Horse Named Sorrow (University of Wisconsin Press) were released this fall.
Ron Nyren’s fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, The Missouri Review, The North American Review, Glimmer Train Stories, Mississippi Review, and elsewhere. He has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan and is a former Stegner Fellow, a former editor of Furious Fictions: The Magazine of Short-Short Stories, and co-author, with Sarah Stone, of Deepening Fiction: A Practical Guide for Intermediate and Advanced Writers. He currently works as a freelance writer and teaches for Stanford Continuing Studies.
Elaine Russell’s first adult novel, Across the Mekong River (2012), developed from an interest in the Hmong community in Sacramento and a subsequent trip to Laos. The novel was a finalist in the Carolina Wren Press 2010 Doris Bawkin Award, the Maui Writer’s Conference 2003 Rupert Hughes Writing Competition, and the Focus on Writers 2001 Friends of the Sacramento Library Awards. Other published works include short stories for adults and children and the Martin McMillan middle-grade adventure series (2004 and 2012). Elaine graduated with a BA in History at UC Davis and an MA in Economics at CSU Sacramento. After working for many years as an environmental consultant, she turned to writing full time.
Why There Are Words presents Chances on February 14, 2013. Don’t take chances — get to Studio 333 at 7 pm when doors open for your seat. You won’t want to miss these readers. $10. Bring extra cash for books and booze.
Stacy Bierlein is the author of the story collection A Vacation on the Island of Ex-Boyfriends and a co-editor of the short fiction anthology Men Undressed: Women Writers and the Male Sexual Experience. Her award-winning anthology of international fiction, A Stranger Among Us: Stories of Cross Cultural Collision and Connection, is used in university classrooms across the country. She is a founding editor of Other Voices Books and the Morgan Street International Novel Series. Her articles about writing, publishing, and the arts appear on various websites, including The Rumpus. She lives in Southern California.
Daniel Coshnear works in a group home, teaches writing in a variety of Bay area and North Bay university extension programs, and is the author of two collections of stories: Jobs & Other Preoccupations (Helicon Nine 2001) and the brand new Occupy & Other Love Stories (Kellys Cove Press 2012).
Syda Patel Day is the author of a novel, A Waterless River, forthcoming from Norton. She is a graduate of Yale Law School, where she was co-director of the Lowenstein Human Rights Law Clinic, where she won a Newberry Award, and the prestigious degree-end Lemkin Prize for excellence in legal writing. The Holtzmann Fellow at Yale University, she also won the Mary Cass Award for poetry. She taught law as the Lewis Fellow at Harvard Law School and was awarded the Coker Fellowship for teaching at Yale Law School. She’s won numerous awards, fellowships, and grants for her creative writing, including a Fulbright Fellowship, a Ford Foundation Fellowship, a Steinbeck Fellowship, a Story Magazine Prize, fellowships and residencies at Djerassi Center for the Arts, the Headlands Center for the Arts, and Vermont Studio Center. She has taught literature at the Urban School of San Francisco and U.C. Berkeley. She was a founder of Root Division, a community arts organization in the Mission district of San Francisco, was Co-Director of the Film Institute for Social Change, and was Vice President of Content at EdVantage and StudySync, an international education company, division of Bookhead Ed, Inc. and Houghton Mifflin. She is currently the Lucy Grealy Scholar at Bennington College Writing Seminars.
Kerry Donoghue‘s short stories have appeared in Southern Gothic Shorts, The Queen City Review, The Furnace Review, and The Black Boot. Two other stories have been published and illustrated by The Fiction Circus and the Pilot Project, one of which was nominated for the 2009 Pushcart Prize. She holds an MFA from the University of San Francisco and can be found biking around SF with her husband or on the hunt for donuts.
Marian Palaia lives mostly in San Francisco but sometimes in Missoula, Montana, and is currently a John Steinbeck Fellow at San Jose State University. She received her MFA from The University of Wisconsin at Madison, where she was awarded the 2012 Milofsky Prize and nominated for an AWP Intro award. “Củ Chi,” the first chapter of her novel Don’t Let Them Take You Back Broken, was published in the fall 2012 issue of The Virginia Quarterly Review and has been nominated for a Pushcart prize.
Jordan E. Rosenfeld is author of the debut novel of psychological suspense, Forged in Grace, forthcoming from Indie-Visible ink in 2013, and the writing guide Make a Scene. Her work has appeared in Night Train, The Pedestal, San Francisco Chronicle, St. Petersburg Times, Smokelong Quarterly, and on KQED Radio’s The California Report. She teaches online writing classes.
Ryan Van Meter is the author of the essay collection, If You Knew Then What I Know Now (2011). His work has appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Iowa Review, The Normal School Magazine, Ninth Letter, and Fourth Genre, among others, and has been selected for anthologies including Best American Essays 2009. A recent finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, he has also been awarded residencies by The MacDowell Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
Don’t miss Why There Are Words January 10, 2013. It’s our 3rd Anniversary and we’ll have a special reading we’re calling Pairings — tasty servings of poets and writers paired together for a delectable experience you’ll simply have to experience for yourself. As always we’ll be at Studio 333 at 333 Caledonia St., Sausalito. 7 pm. $10. Bring extra cash for books and booze. Note the event will fill quickly. Come early to get a seat. Once they’re gone, they’re gone!
Julie Bruck is the author of three books of poetry, Monkey Ranch (2012), The End of Travel (1999), and The Woman Downstairs (1993). Her work has appeared in such magazines as Ms, Ploughshares, and The New Yorker, and her awards include two Gold Canadian National Magazine Awards, and the 2012 Governor General’s Award for poetry. A former Montrealer, Julie has lived in San Francisco since 1997, and has taught poetry workshops for the Writing Salon for 8 years.
Lewis Buzbee is the author of Fliegelman’s Desire, After the Gold Rush, First to Leave Before the Sun, and The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop. Steinbeck’s Ghost, his first novel for younger readers, was selected for the California Library Association’s John and Patricia Beatty Award, and was a Smithsonian Notable Book. His second middle grade novel, The Haunting of Charles Dickens, won the Northern California Book Award and was nominated for an Edgar Award. A new novel, Bridge of Time has just been published, and a new nonfiction book, Blackboard, will be published in the fall of 2013. A bookseller and publisher for over 20 years, Lewis has taught creative writing for 20 years, and is on the faculty of the MFA program at University of San Francisco.
Carolyn Cooke’s Daughters of the Revolution was listed among the best novels of 2011 by the San Francisco Chronicle and The New Yorker Magazine. Her short fiction, collected in The Bostons, won the PEN/Bingham award, was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway, and has appeared in AGNI, The Paris Review and two volumes each of Best American Short Stories and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards. A new collection, Amor & Psycho, is forthcoming next summer from Knopf. Carolyn teaches in the MFA writing program at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco.
Dean Rader’s debut collection of poems, Works & Days, won the 2010 T. S. Eliot Poetry Prize. It was a finalist for the Bob Bush Memorial First Book Prize and it won the 2010 Writer’s League of Texas Book Award. His work appears in Best American Poetry 2012, and a new collection of poems that explores the convergence of poetry and painting is forthcoming later this year. Dean writes and reviews regularly for The San Francisco Chronicle, The Rumpus, and The Huffington Post. He is a professor and chair of the Department of English at the University of San Francisco, where he won the University’s Distinguished Research Award in 2011.
Melissa Stein is the author of the poetry collection Rough Honey, winner of the APR/Honickman First Book Prize. Her poems have appeared in Southern Review, Harvard Review, Best New Poets 2009, New England Review, North American Review, and many other journals and anthologies, and she has received fellowships from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. She is a freelance editor and writer in San Francisco.
Glen David Gold is the author of the novels Sunnyside and Carter Beats the Devil, international bestsellers which have been translated into 14 languages. He has written essays, memoir, and fiction for the New York Times Sunday Magazine, McSweeney’s, Playboy, Tin House, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. He’s written comic books for DC and Dark Horse, and his essays on collecting artwork have appeared everywhere from The Believer to Yale University Press. Currently he’s working on a multi-volume memoir, and wishes to point out that his sole produced screen credit, an episode of “Hey Arnold,” is streaming on Netflix.
Matthew Zapruder is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently Come On All You Ghosts (Copper Canyon 2010), a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. His poems, essays, and translations have appeared in many publications, including Tin House, Paris Review, The New Republic, The New Yorker, Bomb, Slate, Poetry, and The Believer. He has received a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship, a William Carlos Williams Award, a May Sarton Award from the Academy of American Arts and Sciences, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship. Currently he works as an editor for Wave Books, and teaches as a member of the core faculty of UCR-Palm Desert’s Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing.
Cary Tennis writes Salon.com’s advice column “Since You Asked.” He also leads writing workshops and creative getaways, publishes books, performs his fiction and poetry in bars and art galleries, writes songs, plays guitar and contributes occasional pieces to magazines. He studied English literature and journalism at the University of Miami and went to grad school in creative writing at San Francisco State, but got distracted around 1980 and formed a punk/new wave band (the Repeat Offenders) and played the local joints. He “worked” as a “rock journalist” for the SF Weekly and wrote a column called “Freefall,” (and Jerry Garcia’s obit for the SF Examiner, etc). He was an aspiring fiction writer and poet who got into journalism because it was easier and quicker, and then since he was also a rock musician he got into rock journalism, which was even easier and quicker than regular journalism; and generally throughout the ’80s, he lived an idiosyncratic version of poet-and-fiction-writer-as-brilliant-urban-rebel-and-scold before settling down in 1989, quitting the booze and trying to make a legitimate go of it doing things that were neither easier nor quicker. In 2001 at Salon he took over the advice column from Garrison Keillor, whose signature column, Mr. Blue, had run from 1998 to 2001.
Since You Asked, like Mr. Blue, is long-form, high-brow but low-key, with a literary and sophisticated tone. Cary considers the advice column practiced in this way to be an epistolary art form equal in merit to fiction, poetry, and drama, and thinks it should be taught as such in schools and universities. But he’s not holding his breath. (He’s still working on the same novel he’s been working on for about 17 years now, and really believes he should send out more work to small magazines.)
You won’t want to miss this event!