Why There Are Words

Why There Are Words Literary Reading Series presents

Posted in Uncategorized by whytherearewords on October 17, 2012

Join us at Studio 333 in Sausalito, November 8. Our promise: A magical night of stories from seven remarkable writers on the theme, Promise. 333 Caledonia Street, Sausalito, 7 pm. $5.  

Fred Arroyo

Fred Arroyo is the author of Western Avenue and Other Fictions (University of Arizona Press, 2012), as well as The Region of Lost Names (U of Arizona P, 2008). Named one of the Top Ten New Latino Authors to Watch (and Read) in 2009 by LatinoStories.com, he is also a recipient of an Individual Artist Grant from the Indiana Arts Commission. Fred has published fiction, poetry, and essays in various literary journals and in the anthologies The Colors of Nature (Milkweed 2011) and Camino del Sol: Fifteen Years of Latina and Latino Writing (University of Arizona 2010). Currently, he is completing a book of essays in which he lyrically meditates on work, reading and writing, migration and place—sources of creativity arising from his life and work in the Midwest, growing up bilingual on the East Coast, and then being caught between urban and rural worlds. He is also working on a novel set primarily in the Caribbean. Fred lives in Vermillion, South Dakota, where he teaches fiction and creative nonfiction in the MA/PhD Program in Creative Writing, as well in the undergraduate program at the University of South Dakota. Fred walks as much as possible, enjoys bike rides with his nine-year-old son, and finds as of late that driving in the upper Midwest is the tonic that brings writing and life together.

Stacy Bierlein

Stacy Bierleinis 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.

Leslie Ingham

Leslie Ingham was classically educated at St. John’s College in Annapolis and has her MA in Rhetoric and Composition from the University of Maryland. Her work has appeared in Fiction 365 and Energeia, and been recognized by Narrative Magazine. She is a founding member of San Francisco’s Portuguese Artists Colony, where she regularly reads her work. She is also an editor at PAC: Books, and is currently at work on a novel.

Patricia Ann McNair

Patricia Ann McNair’s collection of short stories is The Temple of Air. She has lived 98 percent of her life in the Midwest, where she’s managed a gas station, sold pots and pans door-to-door, tended bar and breaded mushrooms, worked on the trading floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and taught aerobics. Today she is an associate professor in the Fiction Writing Department of Columbia College Chicago, where she received a nomination for the Carnegie Foundation’s US Professor of the Year. Her collection of stories, called “a beautiful book, intense and original,” by Audrey Niffenegger, has received a number of honors, among them the winner of Southern Illinois University’s Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award and the Society of Midland Authors Finalist Award.

Zack Rogow

Zack Rogow’s seventh book of poems is My Mother and the Ceiling Dancers, (Kattywompus Press, February 2012). He is editor and/or translator of nineteen books or plays. His writing has appeared in a variety of magazines, from American Poetry Review to Zyzzyva. His translations from French include work by Colette, George Sand, and André Breton. Currently he teaches in the low-residency  MFA at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. His blog is titled Advice for Writers.

Jenn Scott

Jenn Scott’s stories have appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Bellingham Review, The Gettysburg Review, Seattle Review, Santa Monica Review, Cream City Review, Phoebe, Confrontation, Gulf Coast, Juked, New South, and The Los Angeles ReviewShe lives with four cats and a husband in Oakland, California where she obsesses over football and is presumably at work on her first novel.

Rayme Waters

Rayme Waters is the author of the debut novel The Angels’ Share. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Dzanc Best of the Web Award. Most recently, her work has appeared in The Summerset Review, The Rumpus, and The Meadowland Review. Born in San Francisco, she grew up in Northern California and the city of Linköping, Sweden.

Why There Are Words Literary Reading Series rocks Litquake and more!

Posted in Uncategorized by whytherearewords on September 13, 2012

October is Roctober with Litquake! We have readings galore for you this month!

FIRST UP, join us for our regularly scheduled event at Studio 333 in Sausalito, October 11. 7pm. This very special show features writers from the audience who entered their names in the drawings over the months. Studio 333 in Sausalito, 7-9pm. $5. 

Rosaleen Bertolino

Rosaleen Bertolino‘s fiction has appeared in The MacGuffin, Pure Francis, Prick of the Spindle, and Southern California Review, among others. Her awards include a Marin Arts Council Individual Artist Grant.

April Eberhardt

April Eberhardt joined the literary world as head reader for Zoetrope: All-Story, a literary magazine, followed by five years as an agent with two San Francisco-based literary agencies. She holds an MBA from Boston University in Marketing and Finance, a BA from Hamilton (Kirkland) College in Anthropology and French, and a CPLF degree from the University of Paris. She divides her time between SF, New York and Paris.

Audrey Ferber

Audrey Ferber received an MFA in Writing from Mills College. Her short stories have been anthologized in Virtually Now, Eating Our Hearts Out, and An Intricate Weave. Her essays have appeared in the San Francisco ChronicleTravelers’ Tales for Women, and most recently in FRONTIERS: A Journal of Women Studies. She has written book reviews for the San Jose Mercury News and the San Francisco Chronicle.  She is at work on a memoir about aging, marriage, and dance classes.

Charles Kruger

Charles Kruger is “The Storming Bohemian” and creator of the website “Storming Bohemia,” which has been mentioned in the New York Times for its coverage of the San Francisco literary scene. He is also the editor and lead reviewer for TheatreStorm, a regular contributor to LitSeen, and an occasional book reviewer for The Rumpus. He is also a painter, whose work can be seen online.

Alexandria Melton

Beverly Morrison

Alexandria Melton has spent over a decade writing for other folks in the advertising industry. A recent transplant to Sausalito, she has published absolutely nothing and red-lined just about everything. She has a penchant for the flagrant use of em dashes — really, and possesses truly brilliant Sharpie skills. She is tragically poor, looking for the next great hardcover.

Robert Ofsevit

Beverly Morrison has a B.A. in Creative Writing from SF State. She is a truck driver living in Petaluma with her partner of 16 years, two birds, a gecko, and a cat. She is building a collection of flash fiction stories and specializing in haiku.

Robert Ofsevit saves energy for a living, and expends energy improving his writing, sailing and drawing skills. His BA thesis was published in the Undergraduate Journal of Asian Studies, Vol V, 1991, a highpoint in his literary career.

Alison Owings

Alison Owings is author of the Indian Voices: Listening to Native Americans (Rutgers 2011), a nearly decade-long labor. It appears in paperback in November. Her previous serious books are Hey, Waitress! The USA from the Other Side of the Tray and Frauen: German Women Recall the Third Reich. Her previous  not-so-serious book is The Wander Woman’s Phrasebook: How to Meet or Avoid People in Three Romance Languages. She lectures and teaches about the subjects of her serious books.

Barbara Solomon

Barbara Solomon is a retired attorney, painter, and community volunteer in Marin. Her current project, a short story collection, may turn into a novel.

Townsend Walker

Townsend Walker is a writer living in San Francisco.  His stories have been published in over fifty literary journals and included in six anthologies. One story won the SLO NightWriters story contest, and two were nominated for the PEN/O.Henry Award. Four were performed at the New Short Fiction Series in Hollywood.

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 NEXT, join us for everyone’s favorite Litquake’s LitcrawlLitcrawl: Why There Are Words Presents. October 13. 7:15. (Phase 2Aldea Home, 890 Valencia Street, SF. 

Pam Houston
photo credit: Adan Karsten

Pam Houston is the award-winning author of Contents May Have Shifted, Cowboys Are My WeaknessWaltzing the CatA Little More About Me, andSight Hound. Her stories have been selected for the Best American Short Stories, the O. Henry Awards, the Pushcart Prize, and the Best American Short Stories of the Century. She teaches in the graduate writing program at University of California, Davis.

Joshua Mohr

Joshua Mohr is the author of the novelsTermite Parade, which was an Editors’ Choice on The New York Times Best Seller List; Some Things that Meant the World to Me, one of O Magazine‘s Top 10 reads of 2009 and a SF Chronicle bestseller; and the brand new Damascus (October 2011).  He has published numerous short stories and essays in publications such asThe New York Times Book Review, 7×7, the Bay GuardianZYZZYVA, andThe Rumpus, among many others.  He lives in San Francisco and teaches in the MFA program at USF.

Michelle Richmond

Michelle Richmond is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Year of Fog, currently under option with Battleplan Productions; the novels No One You Know and Dream of the Blue Room; and the award-winning story collection The Girl in the Fall-Away Dress. In Fall 2012, she held the Catherine Julie Cunningham Chair at Notre Dame de Namur University. She is the founder and publisher of Fiction Attic Press.

Susan Steinberg

Susan Steinberg is the author of the story collections Hydroplane and The End of Free Love, and her third collection, Spectacle, is forthcoming from Graywolf Press. Her stories have appeared in McSweeney’s, Conjunctions, The Gettysburg Review, American Short Fiction, Boulevard, Quarterly West, Denver Quarterly, and The Massachusetts Review, and she has been the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and a National Magazine Award. She was the 2010 United States Artists Ziporyn Fellow in Literature. She has a BFA in Painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art and an MFA in English from The University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  She is Professor of English at the University of San Francisco.

Ryan Van Meter

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.

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BUT WAIT, that’s not all! Come out early (you know what they say about early birds) to the Litcrawl (October 13) at  6pm to Four Barrel Coffee, 375 Valencia Street, SF for Tzara’s Hat: Five Writers, Five New Works.

Tristan Tzara knew something about the creative power of community and constraint. During a Dadaist rally in the 1920s, Tzara offered to create a work on the spot by pulling words at random from a hat. The exercise became a well-known surrealism technique, and when applied to flash fiction it works quite effectively by pulling the words from a hat at timed intervals, which must be immediately incorporated into the story being drafted. Come hear the results, at Tzara’s Hat, where five writers will read five new flash fiction works of no more than 750 words.

Peg Alford Pursell‘s fiction has appeared in the Los Angeles Review, Staccato Fiction, Annalemma, Emprise Review & others. She’s an editor & lit reading series curator.

Daniel Levin Becker is reviews editor of The Believer and the youngest member of the Paris-based Oulipo collective.

Ethel Rohan is the author of Hard to Say and Cut Through the Bone. She has published in World Literature TodayTin House Online, The Rumpus, & elsewhere.

Janey Smith is the writer of The Snow Poems (forthcoming, NAP) and Animals (Plain Wrap Press). Her writing may be found all over the internet.

Olga Zilberbourg writes fiction set in San Francisco, St. Petersburg, Russia, and places between. Her work’s appeared in Narrative MagazineSanta Monica Review, HTMLGiant, and others.

~LAST, Bonus! Join us for Litquake’s Barely Published Authors: October 6 at 7pm $5 at the door, when Nancy Au reads, as selected by Why There Are Words & North Bay Writers.

 

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Why There Are Words Literary Reading Series presents “Animal”

Posted in Uncategorized by whytherearewords on May 14, 2012

Why There Are Words Literary Reading Series presents the following readers on the theme Animal June 14 at Studio 333 in Sausalito, 7-9pm. $5.  Animalis. Latin for “having breath.” Join us for a night of readings that will surely take your breath away!  

Tami Anderson

Tami Anderson’s fiction has been published in Other Voices, Passages North, and Soundings East. Her work was selected for a stand-alone performance of The New Short Fiction Series, Los Angeles’s longest running spoken word series. She was a 2006 recipient of the Barbara Jackson Fellowship to the Tomales Bay Writer’s Conference.

Dani Burlison

Dani Burlison is a staff writer at the Pacific Sun, columnist at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and book reviewer for The Los Angeles Review. Her writing appears in The Rumpus, Hip Mama Magazine, Rad Dad Zine, Bike Monkey, Elephant Journal, The North Bay Bohemian, and elsewhere. She has essays forthcoming in The Los Angeles Review, Plowshares, and two anthologies: The People’s Apocalypse and It’s All in Her Head: Women Making Peace With Troubled Minds. She is the co-founder of Petals and Bones zine and writing workshops, and lives in Sonoma County.

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 has appeared in AGNI, The Paris Review, and two volumes each of Best American Short Stories and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards. These stories were collected in The Bostons, which won the PEN/Bingham Award and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway. She teaches in the MFA writing program at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco.

Bruce Genaro is a graduate of the MFA in Writing Program at the University of San Francisco, and he has the scars to prove it. His short stories, essays, profiles, and reviews have appeared in numerous obscure and hard to find literary magazines and journals, as well as more notable venues like the Huffington Post. You can read his most recent publication, “Workshopped to Death,” in the 2012 issue of The Alembic, the annual literary journal of Providence College. He is currently working on a book about The Outsiders, a group of seven Bay Area plein air painters, and a novel about the last prince of Italy.

Allison Landa

Allison Landa is a Berkeley-based fiction and memoir writer. Her work has been featured in Salon Magazine, Prick of the Spindle, Swill Magazine, Toasted Cheese, Pindeldyboz, and Defenestration, among other venues, and featured at reading series including Lip Service West, Quiet Lightning, Pints and Prose, and Porchlight SF. She has been a resident at The MacDowell Colony, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and The Julia and David White Artists’ Colony. She earned her MFA in fiction writing at St. Mary’s College of California.

Matt Runkle

Matt Runkle is a writer, cartoonist, and book artist. His work has been featured in The Collagist, Beecher’s, Monkeybicycle, and on BOMBlog. He has read at venues ranging from SOMArts and Brooklyn’s Unnameable Books to the Headlands Center for the Arts. The third issue of his zine, Runx Tales, is due out later this year. Brooklyn Arts Press will publish a collection of his short fiction in 2013, and he is looking for a publisher for his novel,”Twos”, which was a semifinalist for the Noemi Book Award.

James Tipton

James Tipton is the author of Annette Vallon, A Novel of the French Revolution, a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller and a Barnes and Noble Discover Pick. Born and raised in Berkeley, he has a PhD in English from the University of California, Davis. He has been a lecturer at UC Davis and at the University of Bordeaux, France, and has taught English and creative writing at the College of Marin since 1993.

Justin Torres was raised in upstate New York. His work has appeared in Granta, Tin House, and Glimmer Train. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he was the recipient of a Rolón Fellowship in Literature from United States Artists and is a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford. Among many other things, he has worked as a farmhand, a dog walker, a creative writing teacher, and a bookseller.

Background: June 9

Posted in Uncategorized by whytherearewords on May 19, 2011
Join Bay Area lit lovers June 9 at Why There Are Words Literary Reading Series, Studio 333 in Sausalito, when the following authors will read from their work on the theme of “Background.” 7 PM. $5. As usual, authors will be selling and signing their books!

Cyndi Cady

Cyndi Cady‘s fiction has appeared in Potpourri, Dark Recesses Press, the West Marin Review, and the anthology Zebulon Nights. Her story “Dooley” was a finalist in the New Southerner Magazine’s 2010 fiction contest.

Aneesha Capur


Aneesha Capurs novel, Stealing Karma, debuted at the Beijing International Literary Festival in March 2011. Stealing Karma was launched by HarperCollins India in April to critical acclaim and was listed in the Top 5 Fiction Picks in The Hindu, India’s leading national newspaper, picked as Essential Reading in the Sunday Guardian and featured on CNN-IBN among others. Excerpts have been recognized in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, Wild River Review, two Glimmer Train Press competitions, and the Writer’s Digest Literary Short Story award. Aneesha has an MBA from Wharton and an MFA in fiction from Warren Wilson. Aneesha has attended the Vermont Studio Center, The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Squaw Valley Community of Writers Fiction Program, The Iowa Writers’ Summer Workshop, and the Fine Arts Work Center. Her professional career spans private, non-profit, and academic sectors. She was born in India and spent most of her childhood in Africa. She now lives in San Francisco.

Molly Giles

Molly Giles has published a novel, Iron Shoes, and two short story collections: Creek Walk and Other Stories, which won the Small Press Award for Short Fiction, and Rough Translations, which won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Her other awards include fellowships from the NEA, The McDowell Colony, and Yaddo, two Pushcart prizes, the Commonwealth Club of California Silver Medal, the Bay Area Book Reviewers’ Award, and The National Book Critics Circle Award for Book Reviewing. She directs the Programs in Creative Writing at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and was previously a professor of creative writing at San Francisco State University, as well as having also taught at the University of San Francisco and at countless summer workshops, including The Squaw Valley Community of Writers, The Napa Valley Writers Conference, and the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University.

Jeremy Hatch

Jeremy Hatch is a writer, musician, and professional bookseller leading a cheerful, aimless life in San Francisco. He is the Junior Literary Editor of The Rumpus and he has a blog.

Alison Luterman

Alison Luterman is the author of two books of poetry, The Largest Possible Life  and See How We Almost Fly. She has also written several plays, “Saying Kaddish With My Sister,” “A Night in Jail,” “Glitter and Spew,” “Hot Water,” and “The Recruiter.” She has been an artist in residence at many elementary and high schools through the California Poets in the Schools program, as well as Poetry Inside Out and Poetry Out Loud. She has mentored incarcerated youth in playwriting through Each One Teach One. She performs with the improvisation dance theatre troupe Wing It! She lives in Oakland, California.

Beverly Parayno

Beverly Parayno grew up in San Jose. Her story “House Cleaning” will be featured online as Story of the Week in Narrative Magazine in August 2011. Her fiction is also forthcoming online in Southword and her author interviews appear on The Rumpus. She has an MA from University College Cork, Ireland, and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts, where she received a Lynda Hull scholarship. She has participated in the Tin House Writers Workshop and the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Festival, and is a regular participant of the San Francisco Writers Workshop. She lives in Pacifica, where she is working on a collection of stories.

Escape! May 12

Posted in Uncategorized by whytherearewords on April 21, 2011

Join us May 12 at 7 PM — Studio 333 — when the following authors will read from their work on the theme of Escape. You need $5 to get in and some extra cash for authors’ books, which they’ll gladly sign for you, and beverages of your choice. See you there.

Andrew Altschul

Andrew Altschul is the author of the novels Deus Ex Machina, which NPR describes as “brilliant — one of the best novel’s about American culture in years,” and Lady Lazarus, finalist for the Northern California Book Award. His short fiction and essays have appeared in Esquire, Ploughshares, McSweeney’s, Fence, One Story, and anthologies such as Best New American Voices and O. Henry Prize Stories. He is the director of the Center for Literary Arts at San Jose State University and books editor of The Rumpus.

Meg Waite Clayton

Meg Waite Clayton‘s most recent novel is The Four Ms. Bradwells (March 2011). Her second, the national bestseller The Wednesday Sisters, was a book club favorite throughout the country, and her first, The Language of Light, was a finalist for the Bellwether Prize. Her novels have been translated into languages from German to Chinese, and her shorter works have appeared in commercial and literary magazines including Runner’s World, Writer’s Digest, and The Literary Review, in addition to being read on public radio and anthologized. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Michigan Law School, and lives in Northern California.

Sherril Jaffe

Sherril Jaffe’s novel Expiration Date is new this April from the Permanent Press.  She is also the author of six works of fiction from Black Sparrow Press: Scars Make Your Body More Interesting & Other Stories; This Flower Only Blooms Every Hundred Years; The Unexamined Wife; The Faces Reappear; House Tours; and Interior Design; as well as two works from Kodansha: Ground Rules: What I Learned My Daughter’s Fifteenth Year, (a memoir); and the spiritual “autobiography” One God Clapping  (with Alan Lew), winner of the 2000 PEN Josephine Miles Award for literary excellence. Her short stories have appeared in a variety of magazines, including Zyzzyva, Epoch, Alaska Quarterly Review, Superstition Review, and Volt, and she supports this writing habit by being a Professor of Creative Writing at Sonoma State University. She lives in San Francisco and walks in Golden Gate Park every day.

Kirsten Menger Anderson

Kirsten Menger-Anderson is the author of Doctor Olaf van Schuler’s Brain, a collection of linked short stories concerning a family of doctors. The book was a finalist for the Northern California Book Award and one of Chicago Time Out’s top 10 books of 2008. Her short stories have appeared in the Southwest Review, Ploughshares, Maryland Review, Post Road, and Wascana Review, among other publications. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, daughter, son, and cat.

Janice Shapiro

Janice Shapiro studied film at UCLA where she won first prize in The Samuel Goldwyn Screenwriting Competition.  The short films she directed were screened widely at film festivals around the world and she was a recipient of an AFI Filmmakers’ Grant.  She has written scripts for numerous studios and independent producers including the cult film, Dead Beat that she co-wrote with her husband, Adam Dubov.  Her short stories have been published in The North American Review and The Santa Monica Review.  A graphic memoir of hers was included in the anthology What Were  We Thinking? (St. Martin’s).  Another graphic memoir appeared in The Seattle ReviewBummer and Other Stories is her first book.  She is currently working on a novel, Bad Baseball, a second collection of short stories, a collection of food essays entitled, Eat Like Me, and a book length graphic memoir, Crushable – My Life In Crushes From Ricky Nelson to Viggo Mortensen.  She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, son and dog.

Salvatore Zoida

Salvatore Zoida was born in Brooklyn, New York. He majored in Comparative Literature at Columbia University, graduating magna cum laude and receiving the Helen and Howard R. Marraro Prize for high academic distinction and promise in the study of Italian culture. His fiction has appeared in Rutgers University’s Writers’ Bloc, Ravenna Press’s The Anemone Sidecar, The Catalonian Review, Foundling Review, and Wigleaf. He recently finished writing his first novel, Bucolic Apologia.

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.

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.

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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