Why There Are Words

East Bay Connections

The East Bay is a mecca for foodies, gardeners, innovative theatre and music lovers, and (yes, you guessed it), the literary arts. It’s no wonder so many of WTAW authors live and work in such diverse and colorful East Bay cities, like Oakland and Berkeley. Below are the bios of just a few of these stellar literary  voices that have crossed the Bay to join WTAW at Studio 333 in Sausalito.

Here is what The Bay Citizen has to say about WTAW: “Hosted by Peg Alford Pursell, this series features six established and upcoming writers on a monthly theme. In the spacious…Studio 333, WTAW has quickly become an epicenter for the North Bay literary scene.”

Check out our website for more info about all of the WTAW authors, past and future.


Justin Allen has written on music, culture, travel, and politics for the Sacramento News and Review, Midtown Monthly, Ashcan Magazine, and The San Francisco Public Press. His short fiction has appeared in Sussurrus, Transfer, and Right Hand Pointing. He has been self-publishing ‘zines and chapbooks since the late 90s. His most recent chapbook is Satellite Memories. He studied creative writing at San Francisco State University and resides in Oakland.

Marcus Banks finds himself at many literary gatherings.  A blogger and critic, his book reviews have appeared in the San Francisco ChroniclePrick of the Spindle, and Rain Taxi.  He has also published personal essays in Superstition Review, and from 2005-2007 was the technology columnist for the Gotham Gazette. You can follow his jottings athttp://mbanks.typepad.com/.

Elaine Beale grew up in East Yorkshire, England, studied creative writing at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, and was the winner of the 2007 Poets & Writers California Exchange writing contest in fiction. She lives in Oakland, where she misses the British sense of humor but not the British weather. Her novel Another Life Altogetherwas picked as one of the ten books to watch for in March 2010 by Oprah Magazine. (There’s a reading guide for the book on the Oprah website.) Trained as an educator in Britain, Beale has years of teaching experience, and has taught creative writing workshops and classes in the Bay Area for more than a decade.

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.

David Berkeley is called “a musical poet” by the San Francisco Chronicle. The singer/songwriter has recently penned a memoir entitled 140 Goats and a Guitar to accompany his fourth album, “Some Kind of Cure.”  The book comprises 13 pieces that tell the stories behind the 13 songs on the album, and the concept is that a reader moves through the prose and music together. When he presents his book live, he performs the corresponding song following each excerpt. He’s been a guest on “This American Life;” has toured with artists including Don Mclean, Dido, Billy Bragg, Ben Folds, Rufus Wainwright, Nickel Creek, and Ray Lamontagne; and maintains a near-constant tour schedule performing concerts all over the country.

The San Francisco Chronicle described Angie Chau‘s Quiet As They Come as “a powerful mix of tragedy and kindness, of miscommunications and all-too-painful empathy, which bound together are a resonating homage to many an immigrant.”  Publisher’s Weekly describes the book as “serenely stirring stories” in which, “characters radiate dignity and depth, seek freedom but find crushing loneliness.” Elle Magazine called the book a “darkly sparkling debut.” In 2009, she won the UC Davis Maurice Prize in Fiction for this debut collection. Angie Chau’s  work has appeared in the Indiana Review, Santa Clara Review, Night Train Magazine, Slant, and the anthology Cheers to Muses. She was born in Vietnam and now lives in Eddie Money’s former studio in Oakland.

Timothy Crandle’s fiction has been honored with the Jack Dyer Prize from Crab Orchard Review, the Waasmode Prize from Passages North, and second prize in the Zoetrope: All-Story Fiction Contest where it was selected from over 2500 entries by Joyce Carol Oates. In autumn 2010 he was writer in residence at Ox-Bow School of the Arts. He has worked as a roofer, painter (walls only, never canvases), pizza delivery man, casting director, and electrical engineer. He holds an MFA from the University of San Francisco, and lives and writes in Oakland.

Carolina De Robertis

Carolina De Robertis’ first novel, The Invisible Mountain, was an international  bestseller translated into fifteen languages, a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year, an O, The Oprah Magazine 2009 Terrific Read, and the recipient of a Rhegium Julii Prize. She grew up in a Uruguayan-Argentinean family that emigrated to England, Switzerland, and California. Her translations of Latin American fiction have appeared in GrantaZoetrope: AllstoryThe Virginia Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. Her second novel, Perla, is forthcoming from Knopf in March 2012. She is currently at work on her third novel.

Thaisa Frank has written three books of fiction, including A Brief History of Camouflage and Sleeping in Velvet (both with Black Sparrow Press, now acquired by David Godine). She has co-authored a work of nonfiction,Finding Your Writers Voice: A Guide to Creative Fiction, which is used in MFA programs.  Her novel Heidegger’s Glasses is coming out this fall with Counterpoint Press.  Foreign rights have been sold to Holland, Norway, Italy, Spain, France, Portugal, Brazil and Poland. She has taught in the graduate programs at San Francisco State, the University of San Francisco, been on the staff of various summer writing workshops, and written essays, including a recent Afterward in Viking/Penguin’s new edition of Voltaire.

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.

Cary Groner has worked as a journalist for more than two decades. In 2009, he earned his MFA from the University of Arizona, where he began writing short stories and worked on two novels. His stories have won numerous awards and appeared in venues that include Glimmer TrainAmerican Fiction, Mississippi Review, Southern California ReviewTampa Review, and Sycamore Review. His debut novel, Exiles, won the Hackney Literary Award and was published by Spiegel & Grau / Random House this past June. Cary and his wife live in the San Francisco Bay area.

The New York Times called Leslie Larson’s second novel, Breaking Out of Bedlam, “A kick.” Publishers Weekly said, “Delightful…Plenty of heart and humor.” And the San Francisco Chronicle called it “A good read: funny, sad and easy.” Leslie s critically acclaimed first novel, Slipstream, was a BookSense Notable Book, a Target Breakout Book, winner of the Astraea Award for Fiction, and a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. Her work has appeared in Faultline, the East Bay Express, Writer magazine, and the Women’s Review of Books, among other publications. She has been a writer-in-residence at Hedgebrook and an instructor at the Macondo Writers Workshop and San Diego Ink. She lives in Berkeley. See her website for more.

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.

Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, Ethel Rohan now lives in San Francisco. She received her MFA in fiction from Mills College, CA. While there, she was awarded both a Dean’s Undergraduate Merit Scholarship and an Alumni Graduate Merit Scholarship. Her work has or will appear inStoryglossia, Keyhole 9, The Emerson Review, Los Angeles Review, and Potomac Review, among many others. She blogs at her website.

Elizabeth Rosner is a bestselling novelist, poet, and essayist living in Berkeley, California. Her first novel, The Speed of Light, (Ballantine 2001) won several literary prizes in both the US and Europe, and was translated into nine foreign languages.  The book was optioned by actress Gillian Anderson, who will be making the film her directorial debut.  Blue Nude, her second novel (Ballantine/Random House 2006) was named one of the best books of 2006 by the San Francisco Chronicle.  The paperback edition (Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster) is being newly released this month (on sale tonight for the first time!).  Her poetry collection, Gravity, (Small Poetry Press 1998) is currently in its 14th printing.  Her essays have appeared in the NY Times Magazine, Elle, the Forward, Hadassah Magazine, and several anthologies.  She travels widely to teach intensive writing workshops, to lecture on contemporary literature, and to visit with book groups.

Ryan Sloan received his MFA in Fiction from New York University, and lives in Berkeley. Nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Sloan’s work has appeared inLA Weekly, Nerve, Opium Magazine, The Modern Spectator, and Painted Bride Quarterly. He’s working on his first novel, titled “The Plagiarists.”

Robert Thomas’ first book, Door to Door, was selected by Yusef Komunyakaa as winner of the Poets Out Loud Prize and published by Fordham University Press in 2002, and his second book, Dragging the Lake, was published by Carnegie Mellon University Press in 2006. He has received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Pushcart Prize. He lives in Oakland, California.

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