In this month's lit news, we can look forward to Silicon Valley's version of Litquake, an afternoon with a subversive literary star at San Francisco's Cafe Zoetrope, and conversations between smart, cool, young women with much to say about feminism, poetry, sex work, and love.
Wednesday, March 9: Jenny Zhang and Charlotte Shane at Green Apple Books, SF
As an editor at Rookie Magazine (Tavi Gevinson's magnum opus) Jenny Zhang has her figure on the pulse of all that is culturally cool. She's also an accomplished poet and writer, as seen in her 2012 poetry collection Dear Jenny, We Are All Find. She'll be in conversation about sex work, relationships, and feminism with Charlotte Shane, the writer and sex worker who gained a buzz with Prostitute Laundry, her 2014 newsletter on Tiny Letter (which later became a book) about life as a young woman in a conflicted and complicated society. Details here.
Friday, March 11: Dana Spiotta at Cafe Zoetrope, SF.
A recent New York Times profile described Dana Spiotta's writing as "radiant and concentrated." The novelist, who lives and teaches in Syracuse, New York has come close to winning the National Book Award at least once, and has earned accolades from the likes of George Saunders, who called her gaze "smarty and witty." Spiotta's latest novel, Innocents and Others, tells the story of two best friends, growing up in LA in the '80s. Both become filmmakers. And both find their lives changed after meeting an older, mysterious woman named Jelly who "cold calls powerful men and seduces them not through sex but through listening." This event features an opening statement from Zoetrope: All Story editor Michael Ray. Details here.
Sunday, March 13: Litquake at Oshman Family JCC, Palo Alto
Litquake puts on some stellar events and the Palo Alto version is no exception. This year's event, which is free, BTW, features a host of great authors, including Daniel Handler (otherwise known as Lemony Snicket), Joyce Maynard, Bich Minh Nguyen, Yangsze Choo, and Kevin Sessums. For food lovers, there's J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, author of The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science. In addition to keynote speaker Joyce Carol Oates, there will be salons on topics like Women in Politics and Cross-Cultural Literature. Plus, kids' workshops and a young adult salon for reading teens. All good stuff. Details here.
Sunday, March 13: M.F.K Fisher Book Launch at Copperfield's Books, Healdsburg
I wrote about MFK Fisher last month, and lo and behold. That same week an unpublished novel by the prolific food and travel writer was about to be released into the world. The Theoretical Foot is an autobiographical novel set in 1930's Switzerland. It tells a fictionalized version of Fisher's real story that began when her second husband, Tim Parrish, began developing a circulatory disease that led to the amputation of his leg. According to the book's description, the "agony of his phantom limb - the theoretical foot of the title- eventually drove him to suicide." Kennedy Golden, Fisher's daughter, will be on hand to discuss the newly excavated novel, along with Jane Vandenburgh, the author of the afterword. Details here.
Saturday, March 19: Cross-Strokes Anthology launch at Pegasus Books, Berkeley
Harold Norse is one of the lesser known voices of the Beat poets, though when he died at the age of 92, he had outlived most of his peers. He was also one of many poets who beat a track between San Francisco and Los Angeles after World War II, when transitory migrations inspired by On the Road became a thing. A new anthology edited by Neeli Cherkovski and Bill Mohr, Cross-Strokes: Poetry Between Los Angeles and San Francisco, gathers poetry and writings from over two dozen figures with presences up and down the West Cost. In doing so, they "trace the restless poetics that epitomizes the small press movement in California." The book launch will feature readings from the anthology by Neeli Cherkovksi, Tim Donnelly, Stephen Kessler, Jack and Adelle Foley, and Bucky Sinister, and others. Details here.