Why There Are Words

Why There Are Words January 9: Your Selected Readers

Posted in Uncategorized by whytherearewords on December 11, 2013

PAHR-TEE! For four years, WTAW has been doing what you love while we have been doing what we love: gathering writers extraordinaire to read their works to listeners extraordinaire. Join us on January 9, 2014, to celebrate the beginning of our quinquennium and to hear the top six writers you selected from the last four extraordinary years to read at Studio 333 in Sausalito. Doors will open at 7 pm and readings start at 7:15. Bring extra cash for books and booze.

Tom Barbash

Tom Barbash

Tom Barbash is the author of a novel, The Last Good Chance, the nonfiction book, On Top of the World: Cantor Fitzgerald, Howard Lutnick, and 9/11, and most recently the acclaimed collection of stories, Stay Up with Me. His work has appeared in McSweeney’s, The Believer, and The New York Times. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow, he currently teaches at California College of the Arts.

Lynn Freed

Lynn Freed

Lynn Freed’s books include six novels, a collection of stories, and a collection of essays.  Her work has appeared in Harper’s, The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, Narrative Magazine, Southwest Review, The Georgia Review, among others. She is the recipient of the inaugural Katherine Anne Porter Award in Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a PEN/O. Henry Award, fellowships, grants and support from the National Endowment for the Arts and The Guggenheim Foundation, among others. Born in South Africa, she now lives in northern California.

Molly Giles

Molly Giles

Molly Giles has published three award winning collections of stories, Rough Translations, which won The Flannery O’Connor Prize, the Boston Globe Award, and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize; Creekwalk, which won the Small Press Award for Short Fiction and the California Commonwealth Silver Medal for Fiction; and Bothered, which won a flash fiction prize from Split Oak Press. Her novel, Iron Shoes, has won no prizes at all. She has an ebook of stories coming out from shebooks titled Three For the Road, and new stories in The Fairy Tale Review and Black Heart. Her latest story collection, All the Wrong Places, just won the Spokane Prize for Fiction and will be forthcoming from Willow Springs Press later this year. She taught fiction writing for many years at San Francisco State University and the University of Arkansas, has edited many published writers, and mentors through the Path to Publishing program at Book Passage. She is currently working on another non-prize winning novel.

Glen David Gold

Glen David Gold

Glen David Gold is the author of the novels Carter Beats the Devil and Sunnyside.  His short stories and essays have appeared in McSweeney’s, Playboy, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, the LA Review of Books, Tin House, and Black Clock. He has written comic books for DC and Dark Horse. Lately he’s been writing scripts for The Thrilling Adventure Hour and Welcome to Night Vale, and the first chapter of his memoir is forthcoming in Zyzzyva. In 2014, the Circle Theater in Hollywood will launch his multi-part adaptation of Otto Friedrich’s City of Nets.

Daniel Handler

Daniel Handler

Daniel Handler is the author of the novels The Basic Eight, Watch Your Mouth, Adverbs, and Why We Broke Up, recently awarded a Michael L. Printz Honor. As Lemony Snicket, he is the author of far too many books for children, including the internationally bestselling A Series Of Unfortunate Events and his new series, All The Wrong Questions. He is adjunct accordionist for the pop group The Magnetic Fields.

Melissa Pritchard

Melissa Pritchard

Melissa Pritchard is the 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 the brand new Palmerino. She is also the author of Devotedly, Virginia, a biography of Arizona philanthropist Virginia Galvin Piper. Her short stories are frequently anthologized and cited in Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, The Pushcart Prize, Best American Short Stories, the Prentice Hall Anthology of Women’s Literature, and numerous other anthologies and textbooks. Her fiction has appeared in over sixty renowned literary journals, including The Paris Review, A Public Space, Agni, The Southern Review, Gulf Coast, Gettysburg Review and others. A recipient of numerous awards, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Howard Foundation at Brown University, the Bogliasco Foundation, and the Ledig-Rowohlt Foundation, she teaches at Arizona State University.

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 four years. Interns Hal King and Kim Marcellino make everyone happy.

Why There Are Words 3rd Anniversary Special Event: Pairings

Posted in Uncategorized by whytherearewords on December 17, 2012

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

Julie Bruck

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

Lewis Buzbee

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

Carolyn Cooke

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.

Dearn Rader

Dean Rader

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

Melissa Stein

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

Glen David Gold

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

Matthew Zapruder

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

Cary Tennis

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!

Check out video for July 8 readers

Posted in Uncategorized by whytherearewords on July 13, 2010

Thanks to Evan Karp, who covered the July 8 event, you can now enjoy video of the readings. (Click on the readers’ names below, for those whose video doesn’t show up below.)

Elissa Bassist

Anne Raeff

Joshua Mohr

Jason Roberts

Tatjana Soli

Glen David Gold

Thanks, Evan. Thanks, readers! Thanks to all who came out. Next event is August 12; readers’ bios will be posted shortly.

July 8 Reading: “Accident”

Posted in Uncategorized by whytherearewords on June 20, 2010

Accident is the theme for the July 8 event. 7 PM, Studio 333, Sausalito. &5. Here are the readers.

Elissa Bassist

Elissa Bassist edits and occasionally writes for The Rumpus column Funny Women, an ever-widening place for women to submit and publish original humor pieces. (Please e-mail funnywomen at therumpus dot net  to join the revolution.) Elissa’s first essay in print, “A Baker’s Dozen of my Feelings about David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest,” is now available in Best of the Web 2010, Dzanc Books. Elissa also produces and co-hosts the San Francisco Literary Death Match, a reading series that is competitive (find it the second Friday of every month at the Elbo Room in San Francisco). Peruse elissabassist dot com for even more information, including literary, feminist, and personal criticism.

Glen David Gold

Glen David Gold is the author of the bestselling novel Carter Beats the Devil, which was translated into 14 languages, and named a book of the year by Entertainment Weekly, The LA Times, Publishers Weekly, and The Washington Post. He has written memoir, essays, short stories, and journalism for The New York Times Magazine, McSweeney’s, Playboy, Black Clock, Tin House, and the Independent UK. After toiling as a screenwriter for many years, he turned to writing graphic novels for DC (The Spirit) and Dark Horse (the Escapist). His essays on the comic book artist Jack Kirby have appeared in many journals, as well as in support of the ground-breaking exhibition Masters of American Comics. His most recent novel, Sunnyside, is also an international bestseller. Currently, he is writing the libretto for an opera, Erdnase, with Gavin Bryars, composer.

Joshua Mohr

Joshua Mohr is the author of the novel Some Things that Meant the World to Me, which was one of O Magazine’s Top 10 reads of 2009 and a SF Chronicle bestseller.  His new book Termite Parade was released last week [June 2010].  He teaches fiction writing at the Writing Salon.

Anne Raeff grew up in Tenafly, New Jersey, and graduated from Barnard

Anne Raeff

College. She has been a teacher for over fifteen years and has taught history, government, Spanish, English as a second language, and creative writing (at the University of New Mexico).  She currently teaches in East Palo Alto and lives with her partner of seventeen years in San Francisco. She speaks four languages, has traveled extensively, and taught in Malaysia and Spain.  She has also worked as a bartender and and co-owned an Asian furniture store in Albuquerque, New Mexico, named after Jane Bowles’ novel Two Serious Ladies. Her first novel, Clara Mondschein’s Melancholia, was published by MacAdam/Cage in 2002 and released in Italian by Edizioni Spartaco in 2006.  Her short stories have appeared in Side Show, Oasis, and an excerpt from “Winter Kept Us Warm” appeared as a short story in The New England Review.  In December 2009, she finished her second novel, Winter Kept Us Warm, while at the Fundación Valparaíso residency in Spain.  She is currently working on a third book.

Jason Roberts

Jason Roberts‘ most recent work, A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History’s Greatest Traveler (HarperCollins), was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award, longlisted for the international Guardian First Book Award, and named a Best Book of the Year by the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Kirkus Reviews. He is also the inaugural winner of the Van Zorn Prize for emerging fiction writers, sponsored by Michael Chabon, and a contributor to McSweeney’s, The Believer, the Village Voice, and other publications. Born in Southern California, Roberts earned his high school diploma at fourteen, then took a five-year hiatus from education. He worked as a day laborer, dishwasher, and late-night disc jockey before matriculating at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he graduated with a degree in English literature. He is the founder of Learn2.com, the pioneering online education company named by Yahoo! as “one of the twelve most important websites of the 20th century.” He is also the author of several instructional texts on multimedia programming. He lives in Sausalito and is a member of the SF Grotto. Roberts is currently at work on two books: a nonfiction narrative, centered on the opening of Japan in 1853, and a novel set in Northern California and post-unification Germany.

Tatjana Soli

Tatjana Soli is the author of The Lotus Eaters, which Janet Maslin of the New York Times called “quietly mesmerizing… tough and lyrical.” Her short stories have appeared in The Sun, StoryQuarterly, Confrontation, Gulf Coast, and Sonora Review, among other publications. A guest contributor to The Millions, she is at work on a second novel. See her website for more info.

Birthday! Josh Mohr!

By accident, incident, collision, coincidence — by something — it’s also Josh Mohr’s birthday, and we’ll be more festive than ever. Don’t miss it.

It was HOT!

Posted in Uncategorized by whytherearewords on June 14, 2010

Last Thursday’s reading, themed Heat, was definitely hot. Evan Karp kindly has video.

Here’s Cara Black

Prartho Sereno

Joe Quirk

Elizabeth Eslami

Todd Zuniga

Catherine Brady

Mark your calendars now for July 8, a special reading (It’s Josh Mohr’s birthday. And mine.) Readers: Josh Mohr, Glen David Gold, Jason Roberts, Tatjana Soli, Elissa Bassist, Anne Raeff.

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