Can't-Miss Events For Book Lovers in San Francisco This Fall
San Francisco has long been known for its literary chops and association with authors as rock stars including Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket), Andrew Sean Greer, Dave Eggers, Armistead Maupin, Amy Tan, Alice Walker and dozens more who found inspiration here. And, of course, these lit heavyweights of yore Dashiell Hammett, Mark Twain, Jack London, John Steinbeck, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jack Kerouac, William Saroyan, Ken Kesey and Hunter S. Thompson.
Throughout the year visitors to San Francisco may experience and participate in the literary arts in ways few other cities are able to offer. San Francisco celebrates the book 365 days a year with hundreds of book-centric events including: Porchlight Storytelling Series, City Arts & Lectures, the San Francisco Center for the Book, 826 Valencia, ongoing neighborhood walking tours with a literary inclination and a public library that offers on average more than 500 exhibitions, story hours, workshops and other activities per month.
However, with the arrival of San Francisco’s annual literary festival Litquake every October this might be considered “high season” for book buffs. Since its founding in 1999 the festival has presented more than 5,350 author appearances as part of its lively and inclusive celebration of the city’s thriving literary scene.
For those with a yen for a good story be sure to check out the literary arts section of www.sfarts.org.
In the meantime here’s a short recap of some upcoming events for booklovers and some perennial favorites:
Litquake is the largest independent book festival on the West Coast and the brainchild of co-founders and local writers, Jane Ganahl and Jack Boulware. The nine-day festival will feature more than 850 authors including National Book Critics Award winner Nicholson Baker, Man Booker Prize finalist and bestselling author Emma Donoghue, Nigerian author Chinelo Okparanta, Daniel Handler and Pulitzer winner Adam Johnson headlining an afternoon of “Best American Non-Required Reading,” and a Poetry World Series taking over The Make-Out Room.
Each year the festival honors a local author or organization with the Barbary Coast Award. This year’s honorees are Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida who will be accepting the award on behalf of 826 Valencia, McSweeney’s and The Believer. Litquake is also making its first foray in to publishing with the debut of Drivel, an anthology of embarrassing early work by writers who went on to become masters of the craft, including Andrew Sean Greer, Wendy MacNaughton, Po Bronson and Ellen Sussman.
The (perhaps infamous) Litcrawl on the final night of the event will expand from 86 venues to 101. The sometimes raucous but always literary pub-crawl through the Mission District on Oct. 18 will be staged in three phases primarily along Valencia Street. Approximately half of the 850 or so writers participating in Litquake will read during the evening. Phase 1 starts at 6 p.m. Also on the Litquake schedule are Kidquake, Teenquake, science fiction, poetry, memoir, genre fiction and in keeping with Litquake’s affinity for music and musicians, an appearance by Canadian folk musician Bruce Cockburn whose memoir, Rumours of Glory: A Memoir, publishes this November. Approximately 80 percent of Litquake events are free.
Oct. 13, 2014
Visitors may also experience literary arts in the Porchlight storytelling series. Each month this premier storytelling series invites six people from different backgrounds to tell 10-minute true stories without using notes or memorization. Past storytellers include some of the area's most entertaining school bus drivers, mushroom hunters, politicians, socialites, sex workers, musicians, authors, systems analysts and social workers. This month join co-founders Beth Lisick and Arline Klatte at their annual Litquake show. Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m. at the Verdi Club, 2424 Mariposa St.
Oct. 18, 2014 - March 29, 2015
Artists & Editions: A Publication in Memory of Steven Leiber (1957–2012)
Steven Leiber, a San Francisco native, made his reputation as a collector specializing in ephemera —brochures, flyers, posters, and exhibition announcements — designed by artists in the ’60s and ‘70s. He maintained a gallery in the basement of his grandmother’s house in the city’s Marina district, calling it Steven Leiber’s Basement. As Leiber sorted and organized ephemera relating to Fluxus art, Beat and Concrete poetry movements, and the 1960s counterculture, he invited art scholars, curators, artists and ephemera aficionados to explore his inventory. As a tribute to Leiber, San Francisco arts patron Robin Wright invited 14 artists to contribute to Artists & Editions, a boxed edition, by creating works that memorialize Leiber’s collection and the results are in display at the Legion of Honor’s Logan Gallery.
Oct. 23, 2014, 6 p.m.
One City One Book, Tales of the City
The choice for the 10th annual One City One Book program which invites San Francisco residents to all be “on the same page” is Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City. Bookshelves will be stocked with fresh copies of this beloved book that celebrates San Francisco in the ‘70s. Author Armistead Maupin, who has recently moved back to San Francisco, will appear at the Main Library’s Koret Auditorium, 100 Larkin St., on Oct. 23, 2014 at 6 p.m. in conversation with K.M. Soehnlein. Tales of the City first appeared as daily installations the San Francisco Chronicle and quickly became a morning ritual for readers who followed the inhabitants of a mythic apartment house at 28 Barbary Lane, modeled after the real Macondray Lane on Russian Hill.