Why There Are Words

One Year Anniversary — January 13, 2011

Posted in Uncategorized by whytherearewords on December 17, 2010

Why There Are Words Literary Reading Series will celebrate its one year anniversary January 13! With Michael Alenyikov, Tamim Ansary, Catherine Brady, Stephen Elliott, Alice LaPlante, Janet Thornburg, and YOU! The theme is “More” — in which we will get a little of that from these “greatest hits” readers 0f 2010. Then we’ll close out the night with an open mic.

Here’s how the open mic will work: Come sign up at the door that evening. Five minute slots will be available on a first come-first served basis. Very important: reading slots are for 5 minutes only. A strict 5 minutes! There will be a bouncer. Please do not sign up if you aren’t able to keep it to 5 minutes or under. Note: as a rough idea 250 words (1 double-spaced page) = 2 minutes.

WTAW will take place, as always, at Studio 333, Sausalito — 333 Caledonia Street at 7 PM. $5 at the door. Bring cash (and checks) for beverages and readers’ books. Authors will be happy to sign them for you.

Michael Alenyikov

Michael Alenyikov’s short stories have appeared in Canada’s Descant, The Georgia Review, the James White Review, New York Stories, and Modern Words. They have been anthologized in Best Gay Stories, 2008 and Tartts Four: Incisive Fiction from Emerging Writers. His essays have appeared in the Gay & Lesbian Review. He was a MacDowell Fellow and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He’s worked as a bookstore clerk, clinical psychologist, cab driver, and interactive media writer. His childhood encompassed the Bronx, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Brooklyn, and Queens. Ivan and Misha is his first book.

Tamim Ansary wrote his own memoir, West of Kabul, East of New York,

Tamim Ansary

someone else’s memoir, The Other Side of the Sky, and the world’s memoir, Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes. Now, he’s working on Road Trips, another memoir about his experiences as an Afghan American wandering in a shell-shocked daze through the post-sixties American counterculture. He guesses his epitaph will be: he wrote memoir.

Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes won the Northern California Book Award for Best General Nonfiction of 2009, and has been or is being translated into nine languages including Russian, Dutch, Indonesian, Korean, and Italian. West of Kabul, East of New York was selected as San Francisco’s One City One Book pick for 2008. It has also been selected as common freshman reading by colleges and universities ranging from Carleton, Tulane and Temple to College of Alameda and Houston Community College.

Catherine Brady

Catherine Brady is the author of three story collections, including Curled in the Bed of Love, winner of the 2002 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and The Mechanics of Falling, winner of the Northern California Book Award in Fiction. Her stories have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Best American Short Stories 2004.  She is also the author of a biography of Nobel laureate Elizabeth Blackburn, Elizabeth Blackburn and the Story of Telomeres, and the recently published Story Logic and the Craft of Fiction, which considers craft how-to in relation to flexible principles.  She has just finished her first novel.

Stephen Elliott is the author of seven books including The Adderall

Stephen Elliott

Diaries which has been described as “genius” by both the San Francisco Chronicle and Vanity Fair. The Adderall Diaries was the best book of the year in Time Out New York, a best of 2009 in Kirkus Reviews, and one of 50 notable books in the San Francisco Chronicle.  His novel, Happy Baby, was a finalist for the New York Public Library’s Young Lion Award as well as a best book of the year in Salon.com, Newsday, Chicago New City, the Journal News, and the Village Voice. Elliott’s writing has been featured in Esquire, The New York Times, The Believer, GQ, Best American Non-Required Reading 2005 and 2007, Best American Erotica, and Best Sex Writing 2006. He is the editor of The Rumpus.

Alice LaPlante

Alice LaPlante is an award-winning writer of both fiction and non-fiction. She teaches creative writing at Stanford University, where she was a Wallace Stegner Fellow and Jones Lecturer.  She also teaches in the MFA program at San Francisco State University.  Her fiction has been widely published in Epoch, Southwestern Review, and other literary journals. She is the author of five books, including the LA Times bestseller Method and Madness: The Making of a Story (W.W. Norton 2009). Her latest book, the novel Turn of Mind, will be published by Grove Atlantic in 2011. She lives with her family in Palo Alto, California.

Janet Thornburg’s short stories have appeared in Carve Magazine, The Distillery, In

Janet Thornburg

The Family, Lumina, The MacGuffin, Phantasmagoria, and Phoebe. Rhubarb Pie, a collection of her short stories, was published by Thunderegg Press in 2005. In addition to writing fiction, she has written and performed seven solo shows, and her poetry has appeared in Womanthology, A Collection of Colorado Women Poets and Most of the Holes are Occupied: A Santa Fe Anthology. She lives with her two children in San Francisco, where she teaches at City College.

Post-February reading — video, photos, etc

Posted in Uncategorized by whytherearewords on February 15, 2010

The February 11 Loves, Lusts, and Good Strong Likes was an amazing event.

You can see a few photos here (facebook album). Better, Evan Karp’s got video. People are saying many good things about the reading series, and it’s been packed both events now. But I’m especially touched by what Evan writes about the Feb. 11 reading:

i won’t comment much except to say i have high expectations for this series in a different way than the myriad others i frequent. it’s like going to a classier restaurant than you would usually go to (if you went to restaurants) and expecting the quality to be exponentially better than you’re used to, and, fearing your own disappointment, you’re taken aback by the neat and well-mannered and timely and even sincere waitress and the food surpasses everything and the ambiance is like, i don’t know, coming from inside of you or something it’s so in tune, or you are, or there just isn’t a difference (and why should there be?). There shouldn’t! If you haven’t been to Studio 333, understand: this gallery is an ideal place for an epicenter of N Bay culture, and WTAW really seems to be laying the foundation for a much-desired community series.

Well-attended again (packed, actually), the room was full of people from all sides of the bay, but predominantly, I think, N Bay’ers. Amy Tan and Bombo even made it out—talk about a good crowd! As you may have already seen, readers were Lauren Becker, James Warner, Tanya Egan Gibson, Judy French, Joan Frank, and Stephen Elliott.

Thanks, Evan!

Loves, Lusts, and Good Strong Likes — February 11 reading

Posted in Uncategorized by whytherearewords on January 24, 2010

Get a jump on your Valentine’s Day weekend by coming out Thursday night, February 11, to Why There Are Words’ Loves, Lusts, and Good Strong Likes reading. Studio 333 in Sausalito, 7 PM, $5 donation at the door. (Bring cash and checks for authors’ books, which they’ll gladly sign for you, and for drinks — water, beer, wine.) Here’s the line-up.

Stephen Elliott

Stephen Elliott is the author of seven books including The Adderall Diaries, which has been described as “genius” by both the San Francisco Chronicle and Vanity Fair. Elliott’s writing has been featured in Esquire, The New York Times, The Believer, GQ, Best American Non-Required Reading 2005 and 2007, Best American Erotica, and Best Sex Writing 2006. He is the editor of The Rumpus.

Joan Frank

Joan Frank is the author of four books of fiction: her most recent, the story collection In Envy Country, won the 2010 Richard Sullivan Prize in Fiction, and is available right here, right now for your reading pleasure at her website.

Joan’s first novel, Miss Kansas City, won the 2006 Michigan Literary Fiction Award, and was nominated for a Northern California Book Award in Fiction. Her second novel, The Great Far Away, was also an NCBA nominee. Her first story collection, Boys Keep Being Born, was a finalist for both the Bay Area Book Reviewers’ Fiction Award and the Paterson Fiction Award.

Joan took her MFA in Fiction from the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers. She is a MacDowell Colony Fellow, Pushcart Prize nominee, winner of the Dana Award, Emrys Fiction Award and Iowa Writing Award; in 2008 the San Francisco Public Library named Joan a Literary Laureate. She lives and works in Santa Rosa.

Tanya Egan Gibson


Tanya Egan Gibson is the author of How to Buy a Love of Reading (May 2009 – Dutton), a novel about nouveau riche parents who try to cure their teenage daughter’s hatred of books by commissioning a custom-written novel for her and dubbing themselves the Medicis of Long Island.  Hailed as “a fresh and funny new voice in the world of fiction” by Mark Childress (Crazy in Alabama and One Mississippi), Tanya is an alumna of Squaw Valley Community of Writers.  She lives in Marin County with her husband and two children.

Lauren Becker

Lauren Becker writes and edits, ostensibly for money and definitely for joy,though she preferred the government relations and attorney paychecks.  She is the editor of a brand new literary journal, Corium Magazine, which will debut online in March, and writes for The Nervous Breakdown.  She runs a quarterly reading series called East Bay on the Brain and her fiction has appeared or will in places including Annalemma, Opium Magazine, Pindeldyboz, Storyglossia, and Wigleaf.

Judy French

Judy French is a fiction writer and poet living in Walnut Creek.  Her work has appeared in the Colorado Review as well as other literary journals, and her play Little Statues was staged in New York.  She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College and graduated with honors from Santa Clara University with a degree in Theater. She currently teaches creative writing at a private school in the Bay Area.

James Warner

James Warner‘s stories have appeared most recently in Electric Literature’s The Outlet, Storyglossia, Ninth Letter, Dublin Quarterly, Agni Online, etc. He blogs for Identity Theory at Everything Unfinished. He helps organize the world’s largest literary pub crawl, the Lit Crawl, for San Francisco’s annual Litquake festival. James organizes the reading series InsideStoryTime.

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