Why There Are Words

One Year Anniversary — January 13, 2011

Posted in readings, Sausalito 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.

January 14 Readers

Posted in readings, Sausalito by whytherearewords on December 4, 2009

Why There Are Words is thrilled to have the following readers kick off the reading series: Tamim Ansary, Shana Mahaffey, Scott James, Mari Coates, Michael Alenyikov, and Gravity Goldberg.

The theme is “Different Year, Different Worlds.” Come hear what these writers have to say about that. The reading series will kick off Thursday, January 14, 7 PM, at the wonderful Studio 333 on Caledonia Street in Sausalito, $5 donation at the door. Books will be available for purchase and for signing by the authors.

Readers’ bios

Tamim Ansary

Tamim Ansary

Afghan-born Tamim Ansary’s best-selling books include Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes and West of Kabul, East of New York (which of its many honors was also named the One City One Book selection for the city of San Francisco).  His new novel The Widow’s Husband is now available at online bookstores.  As a longtime columnist for the Microsoft learning site, encarta.com, Ansary wrote about education, democracy, the social effects of technology, and other social and cultural issues. He directs the San Francisco Writers Workshop and teaches sporadically through the Osher Institute of Lifelong Learning at San Francisco State and at U.C. Berkeley. Ansary moved to the United States in 1964 at the age of 16. Today he lives in San Francisco with his wife and two cats.

Shana Mahaffey

Shana Mahaffey

Shana  Mahaffey lives in San Francisco, California, in part of an Edwardian compound that she shares with an informal cooperative of family, friends, and five cats.  She’s a survivor of catechism and cat scratch fever, and is a member of the Sanchez Grotto Annex, a writers’ co-op.  Her recent debut novel, Sounds Like Crazy, has received much acclaim, including nomination for the Northern California Independent Booksellers Book Awards. She welcomes all visitors to her website and is happy to meet with book groups in-person or in cyberspace (phone/webcam/the works).

Scott James

Scott James

Scott James is a columnist for The New York Times and three-time Emmy Award winner for his work in television news. He is also a novelist, writing fiction under the pen name Kemble Scott. His debut book SoMa was the first novel launched using YouTube, and his second The Sower was the first novel sold by giant social publisher Scribd.com. Both books became bestsellers.

Michael Alenyikov

Michael Alenyikov

Michael Alenyikov’s fiction and essays have appeared in The Georgia Review, Descant, The James White Review, Modern Words, New York Stories, and The Gay & Lesbian Review. The title story to his forthcoming book, “Ivan & Misha: A Novel In Stories” (Northwestern University Press, fall, 2010), was a 2007 Pushcart Nominee, and  was anthologized in Best Gay Stories, 2008, Lethe  Press, and Tartts Four: Incisive Fiction from Emerging Writers, Livingston Press. He’s paid the rent by means of various occupations, including bookstore clerk, psychologist, cab driver, and freelancer writer. Born in the Bronx, he now lives in San Francisco.

Mari Coates

Mari Coates

Mari Coates is a writer living in San Francisco. Before turning to fiction, she wrote on theater, film, and the arts for many Bay Area publications and was principal theater critic for the SF Weekly. She earned her MFA from the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and currently produces jacket and promotional copy for UC Press, Berkeley, California.

Gravity Goldberg is co-founder and co-editor of Instant City: A Literary Exploration of San Francisco. Over the years, her writing has appeared in places like Watchword, SFBG, Stretcher, SFGate, Kitchen Sink and other print publications.  She teaches creative writing to awesome adults through the San Francisco City College extended education program. For the fourth year, Gravity will be festival manager for Litquake. She lives in the Mission District with her cat and boyfriend.

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