Why There Are Words

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

Posted in readings, Sausalito 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.


 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.


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.



Why There Are Words May 10: “Unforgotten”

Posted in readings, Sausalito by whytherearewords on April 19, 2012

Why There Are Words Literary Reading Series presents the following readers on the theme Unforgotten May 10 at Studio 333 in Sausalito, 7-9pm. $5. Join us as these authors create another unforgettable night. That’s Why There Are Words.


Dan Coshnear

Daniel Coshnear is the author of Jobs & Other Preoccupations (Helicon Nine 2001), winner of the Willa Cather Fiction Award. He lives in Guerneville where he works at a group home for men and women with mental illnesses and teaches at various SF Bay Area university extension programs. He hopes to publish a new collection of stories in 2012 with Kelly’s Cove Press.


Rob Davidson

Rob Davidson is the author of The Farther Shore: Stories (Bear Star Press, 2012), The Master and the Dean: The Literary Criticism of Henry James and William Dean Howells, and Field Observations: Stories. He has won the 2009 Camber Press Fiction Award, a Pushcart Prize nomination, and been twice selected as the artist-in-residence at the Byrdcliffe Arts Colony. His work has appeared in Zyzzyva, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Indiana Review, The Normal School, New Delta Review, and elsewhere. Davidson teaches creative writing and American literature at CSU Chico.


Cheryl Dumesnil

Cheryl Dumesnil’s memoir, Love Song for Baby X: How I Stayed (Almost) Sane on the Rocky Road to Parenthood, will be released by Ig Publishing in 2013. Her collection of poems In Praise of Falling won the 2008 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize. She is the editor of Hitched! Wedding Stories from San Francisco City Hall and co-editor, with Kim Addonizio, of Dorothy Parker’s Elbow: Tattoos on Writers, Writers on Tattoos. Her poems have appeared in Nimrod, Indiana Review, Calyx, and Many Mountains Moving, among others. Her essays have appeared in Hip Mama, MamaZine, and Literary Mama. She is a regular contributor to Out and Around: Writing From the Crossroads of Suburbia, Parenthood, and Lesbian Life.


Stefanie Freele

Stefanie Freele’s newest book is the story collection Surrounded by Water (Press 53, March 2012). She is also the author of the story collection Feeding Strays. She recently won the Glimmer Train Fiction Open, and her stories are published or forthcoming in Glimmer Train, Sou’wester, Mid-American Review, Western Humanities Review, Quarterly West, The Florida Review, American Literary Review, Night Train, Edge, and Pank. She is the fiction editor of the Los Angeles Review.


Daniel Handler

Daniel Handler is the author of the novel Why We Broke Up, (Little and Brown, December 2011), awarded a Michael L. Printz Honor, as well as The Basic Eight, Watch Your Mouth , and Adverbs. He has scripted two movies, Rick and Kill The Poor, and he is working on a musical with Stephin Merritt commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company. As Lemony Snicket, he is the author of many books for children.


Leota Higgins

Leota Higgins has an MFA from the University of San Francisco and is currently at work on her first novel “Still Searching,” the first chapter of which has been published by Achiote Press in their debut story collection Routes.



Julia Flynn Siler

Julia Flynn Siler is the bestselling author of two works of narrative history, Lost Kingdom: Hawaii’s Last Queen, the Sugar Kings, and America’s First Imperial Adventure and The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty. An award-winning journalist and former foreign correspondent, she was a staff writer for The Wall Street Journal and Business Week and also wrote extensively for the New York Times. Her first book, The House of Mondavi, became a New York Times bestseller and was named a finalist for a 2008 James Beard Foundation award and a 2008 Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business Reporting. Her second book, Lost Kingdom, became a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller shortly after being published in early 2012 and has won critical praise.


Lysley Tenorio

Lysley Tenorio is the author of the brand new debut collection of stories Monstress (Ecco Harper Collins, February 2012). His stories have appeared in The Atlantic, Zoetrope: All-Story, Ploughshares, Manoa, and The Best New American Voices and Pushcart Prize anthologies. A Whiting Writer’s Award winner and a former Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, he has received fellowships from the University of Wisconsin, Phillips Exeter Academy, Yaddo, The MacDowell Colony, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Born in the Philippines, he currently lives in San Francisco, and is an associate professor at Saint Mary’s College of California.

Why There Are Words Literary Reading: Hunger, August 11

Posted in readings, Sausalito by whytherearewords on July 21, 2011

What do you hunger for? Maybe the same things as our readers. Come find out. August 11, Studio 333, 7 pm. $5 gets you in the door. Bring mad money for authors’ books and drinks.

Mehri Dadgar

In 1982, Mehri Dadgar, an idealistic 22-year old, was arrested on a Tehran street for distributing pro-Democratic literature. In her memoir she tells of her narrow escape from execution and her struggle to preserve her sanity under the pressures of torture and isolation. Before immigrating to the United States in 1994, she studied art at the Art University in Tehran. Since living in America, she has exhibited her art in Canada, Sweden, England, and the United States, and received her MFA in art. She teaches at the College of Marin and Book Passage about the peaceful message common in all original scriptures including the Quran.

Alta Ifland grew up in Romania and came to the United States in 1991.  She is the author of a bilingual (French-English) book of prose poems, Voice of Ice, which was awarded the 2008 French prize Louis Guillaume, and a collection of short stories, Elegy for a Fabulous World, which was nominated for the 2010 Northern California Book Awards.  Her latest book of short stories, Death-in-a-Box, has just been released by Subito Press. In 2010 she was a fellow in fiction at the Wesleyan Writers’ Conference.

Andrew Lam

Andrew Lam is co-founder and editor of New America Media, an association of over 2000 ethnic media organizations in America. He has also contributed over 60 commentaries to NPR’s All Things Considered.  His essays have appeared in dozens of newspapers across the country, including the New York Times, The LA Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, among many others, and in magazines such as Mother Jones, The Nation, Utne Magazine, and more. His short stories are also widely anthologized and taught in many universities and colleges. His book, Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora won the 2006 Pen American Beyond the Margins Award, and was short-listed for Asian American Literature Award. He was the first Vietnamese to put together an anthology of Vietnamese American writing in English called Once Upon A Dream: Vietnamese American Experience, in 1995. His 2010 book East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres was listed as a top ten indie book by Shelf Unbound Magazine. His next is a collection of short stories, Birds of Paradise, and is due out in 2012. Born in Vietnam, he came to the US in 1975 when he was 11 years old, earned a Master in Fine Arts from San Francisco State University in creative writing, and a BA degree in biochemistry from UC Berkeley.


Kate Milliken

Kate Milliken grew up in the Reagan 80s, bouncing between her father’s home in Chicago, Illinois, and her mother’s home in Santa Monica, California. Unwilling to complete high school she wrote a desperate letter of application to a small liberal arts college in Boston and was granted early acceptance. Her belief in the power of the written word then wholly solidified, she has been writing ever since. Having written for television and commercial advertising, in 2006 she completed her Master of Fine Arts in fiction at Bennington College. Her short stories have since appeared in numerous publications, including the Santa Monica Review, Fiction, the New Orleans Review, Meridian, and the Southeast Review, among others. She has received fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center, the Tin House Summer Writing Workshops and Yaddo. Her collection of stories, If I’d Known You Were Coming, has been a finalist for the OV Books Short Story Prize, the Katherine Anne Porter Award, and the Spokane Prize. In January 2011, she received her first Pushcart Prize nomination.


Paul Corman Roberts

Paul Corman Roberts is the author of three collections of poems and flash fiction, most recently Neocom(muter) (Tainted Coffee Press, 2009) and 19th St. Station (FOC Chapbook Series, 2011.)  He is fiction editor for Full of Crow Online, producer of the Bitchez Brew monthly reading series, and writes a monthly column for Red Fez Magazine called Dispatches From Atlantis.  His work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Instant City, The Rumpus, Sparkle and Blink. He is currently looking for a publisher for his first collection of short stories, and he once had coffee and donuts with Eldridge Cleaver. While ranting a poem in the shop, Eldridge got some donut spittle on Paul’s shirt. Contrary to popular belief, Paul did wash the shirt.

Ann Ryles

Ann Ryles was born in Kentucky and raised in Maryland and California.  She was a finalist for the Crazyhorse Fiction Prize in 2009.  Her short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Gargoyle, Konundrum Engine Literary Review, Emprise Review, and Stirring: A Literary Collection. She is a graduate of the MFA in Writing Program at the University of San Francisco and UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. She is currently working on a collection of short stories and in the past year has tried her hand at playwriting. She lives with her husband and two daughters in the East Bay town of Moraga.



July 14: Culpable

Posted in readings, Sausalito by whytherearewords on June 14, 2011

Last month’s reading was stunning!  But summer at Why There Are Words is just warming up, and July promises to be intriguing, as the following authors read from their work on the theme of “Culpable.”  We’ll be in Sausalito’s Studio 333 at 7 PM, with books, beer, wine, and blame!  $5 is all you need to come join us.

Graham Gremore

Graham Gremore is a reclusive misanthrope from St. Paul. He co-produces the humor reading series LitUp Writers in San Francisco. Graham has written two stage musicals, both of which were commissioned and produced by SteppingStone Theater in St. Paul. In 2009, his play “As in Autumn” was a semi-finalist in The Source: 10 Minute Play Festival in Washington D.C. His solo show, “Private Parts,” had its world premiere at SF Playhouse in May 2011. Currently, he is an MFA candidate in Creative Writing with an emphasis in Playwriting at San Francisco State University.

Agatha Hoff

A child of World War II, Agatha Hoff describes the violent destruction of a city, a country and the culture of her native Hungary in her book, Burning Horses. She came to America in 1949 as a refugee, attended high school in Menlo Park, and college at Seattle University. When her youngest child started kindergarten, Agatha went to San Francisco Law School and earned her J.D. degree at night. She worked in poverty law where clients often abandoned her for a “real lawyer,” meaning someone they paid. When she became a real lawyer in private practice, her clients termed her personal injury practice “the armpit of the law.” When she was appointed a court commissioner at San Francisco Superior Court, her favorite moniker written by a disgruntled litigant pronounced her to be a “fascist terrorist cross-dressed in the cloak of justice.” When at last a British tourist who came to traffic court called her “Your Worship,” she thought she’d retire before it went to her head. Agatha is spending her retirement writing and long distance cycling. Her column, “Tales From The Bench”, has appeared regularly in San Francisco Attorney Magazine.

Evan Karp

Evan Karp covers literary culture as a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and is a regular contributor to SF Weekly‘s Exhibitionist blog. He is the founder and editor of Litseen and creator and host of Quiet Lightning, a monthly submission-based reading series that publishes each show as a book called sparkle & blink, which he also edits. He is a contributing editor of Instant City and the official blogger of Litquake.

K. M. Soehnlein

K.M. Soehnlein is the author of three novels: Robin and Ruby, The World of Normal Boys, and You Can Say You Knew Me When, plus essays and reviews in many publications. He was born in New York, grew up in New Jersey, and has lived in San Francisco since the early ’90s. He teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at the University of San Francisco. His wish list includes learning to play the piano, becoming fluent in Italian, and finishing the New York Times Sunday Crossword puzzle in under 45 minutes.

Kristen Tracy

Kristen Tracy is a poet who has also written several teen and middle-grade novels, including Camille McPhee Fell Under the Bus, Lost It, Sharks & Boys, and A Field Guide for Heartbreakers. She lives in San Francisco where she volunteers as a gardener on Alcatraz. Along with Nina LaCour she teaches Bay Area writing classes.

James Warner

James Warner is the author of All Her Father’s Guns, a novel published in 2011 by Numina Press. His short fiction has appeared most recently on KGB Bar Lit Magazine, Narrative, and Night Train. He writes an almost-monthly literary column, “Standing Perpendicular,” for opendemocracy.net, and is also a fiction editor for Identity Theory.

Background: June 9

Posted in readings, Sausalito 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.

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