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Litquake: October 11 & 12

A San Francisco Literary Festival

You know there are lots of writers who live in the Bay Area. You see them read at bookstores, you hear them on the radio. You hear about big, huge, monster book festivals … Los Angeles … New York … and think Hey! Wait a minute here! Didn't we used to have something a little bit like that? Couldn't we have something even better, more distinctive and please (oh please) financially sustainable -- now?

And then you hear about Litquake, and you get very, very excited.

Co-produced by local author Jack Boulware and journalist Jane Ganahl, who previously joined forces to create Litstock in '99 and '00, Litquake is a whole new ballgame, of a larger scale and with a more ambitious schedule.

According to Boulware, "We liked the idea of featuring writers who read from their works, rather than the booths-and-tables tradeshow atmosphere of other festivals. We added a panel discussion that would address the unique advantages and limitations of what it means to be a writer in San Francisco. We stressed diversity across the board, in terms of authors and communities to be represented.

"As we started the wheels in motion, the volunteers who offered assistance were and are absolutely amazing. We've now got substantial sponsors, 65 authors from around the Bay Area and four venues, including the Commonwealth Club and the public library. It's a tour de force -- and we don't even have an office yet!"

Friday features a panel discussion at the Commonwealth Club with local writers including Justin Chin and Beth Lisick in conversation with SF Chronicle book editor Oscar Villalon. On Saturday, lit-lovers will take in 10-minute readings from their favorite local authors at the Main Library and the Hiram W. Johnson Building. Confirmed readers include the diverse mix of Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Susie Bright, Dave Eggers, Robert Mailer Anderson, Robert Haas, Tamim Ansary, Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket), Bharati Mukherjee, JT Leroy, and many, many more. The Saturday evening "After Shock" is a coupla pints and the inimitable Irvine Welsh reading from his recently published book, Porno, at the Edinburgh Castle.

Says Boulware, "I'd like to see Litquake as an annual event that keeps Bay Area literature in the national eye. Just because we're thousands of miles from New York doesn't mean we don't produce great literature. The West Coast often gets overlooked because so much of the publishing industry is based on Manhattan. We want to wave our hands in front of their faces and say, 'Hey, there's people over here winning Pulitzers - wake up!' "Someday we'll be able to release anthologies, CDs, videos. We'll be able to hire a year-round staff and fly in writers from all over the world. And then we'll pull away from the United States and form our own Lord of the Flies island nation on the Farallones. Literature and great white sharks."


For more information and event details, visit

Opening Event: Dystopia/Utopia: Can the Bay Area Uphold a New Generation of Writers?
Friday, October 11, 2002 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm, $10 members, $18 non-members
Moderated by Oscar Villalon, book editor, San Francisco Chronicle, the panel includes authors of diverse opinions and generations, Justin Chin, Herb Gold, Beth Lisick, devorah major, and Peter Plate, as well as James Kass, founder and executive director of Youth Speaks. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served following the program.
The Commonwealth Club, 595 Market St., 2nd Floor, SF, 415.597.6705/6706 reservations for this event only

Main Event: Litquake 2002
Saturday, October 12, 2002 @ 12 pm - 6 pm, free admission
Hundreds of fans of the written word take in ten-minute readings from their favorite local authors at the library's beautiful Koret Auditorium. Admission will be a free.
San Francisco Public Library, Main Library, Lower Level, Koret Center, 100 Larkin St. (at Grove), SF, 415.557.4400

Main Event Annex
Saturday, October 12, 2002 @ 12 pm - 6 pm, free admission
Simultaneous with the main event will be another afternoon of authors reading from their works at the The Hiram W. Johnson Building. Admission is free.
Hiram Johnson Building, 350 McAllister St., SF

Closing Event
Saturday, October 12, 2002 @ 9 pm - 1 am, $10 admission
Litquake's closing event commences with readings, followed by DJ music at Edinburgh Castle Pub, San Francisco's legendary Scottish literary pub. Born in Leith, Edinburgh, Irvine Welsh is a fitting special guest author for the venue. This event is 21 and over.
Edinburgh Castle Pub, 950 Geary Blvd., SF, 415.885.4074