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WORD: Authors Amirrezvani, Gaiman, Wolff featured at SF Litquake events
Edited Press Release

Litquake, San Francisco's annual literary festival, is now underway at venues across The City with a weeklong series of author readings, presentations and parties. Here are some key Litquake events that readers will find interesting. Many Litquake events are free, so check out their website for a full list of events that range from formal author readings and workshops to the chaotic pub crawl with a literary flavor.

Neil Gaiman at Kabuki Theatre
Today (Sunday, October 5) Neil Gaiman comes to San Francisco to read from his new novel The Graveyard Book. For those not in the know, Gaiman is listed in the Dictionary of Literary Biography as one of the top ten living post-modern writers, and is a prolific creator of works of prose, poetry, film, journalism, comics, song lyrics, and drama.

His newest acclaimed full-length novel for middle-grade readers is sure to also captivate his legion of adult fans. Co-sponsored by The Booksmith, the reading will be held at the Kabuki Sundance Theaters, 1881 Post Street, from 3 pm to 4:30 pm, and admission price includes a signed first edition. Tickets are available only at The Booksmith store on Haight Street, or by calling 415-863-8688 or 800-493-7323.

Voices From the Muslim World at Mechanic's Institute

Anita AmirrezvaniOn Monday, October 6 the Institute Library once again hosts a lively Litquake panel discussion, "East of Istanbul: Voices from the Muslim World," where authors from Afghanistan and Iran read from their books and discuss what it means to have emerged from Muslim nations.

The panel includes Anita Amirrezvani (pictured left) -- who was nominated for this year's Orange Prize but lost out to eventual winner Rose Tremain -- Persis Karim, Niloufar Talebi, and this year's "One City One Book" honoree Tamim Ansary. Moderator will be radio journalist Sandip Roy, host of the program "Up Front," which airs weekly on KALW. Tickets are $12 at the door, and free for library members. More info is here.

And the 2008 Barbary Coast Award goes to Tobias Wolff

On Tuesday, October 7 Litquake will present its second annual Barbary Coast Award to author and Stanford professor Tobias Wolff, in an impressive all-star tribute. Hosted and co-presented by the fabulous new Contemporary Jewish Museum, the lineup includes KQED's Michael Krasny as emcee, Tom Barbash, Stephen Elliott, Adam Johnson, Tom Kealey, Graham Leggat, Ann Packer, Tom Perrotta, George Saunders, and a special performance by Word for Word Performing Arts Company. Museum is at 736 Mission Street, doors open at 7 pm, and show starts at 7:30 pm. Tickets are available online from the museum. More info on this event is here.

Not Your Mother's Book Club returns to Litquake

The Bay Area monthly literary salon for teenagers hits the festival on Wednesday, October 8 with the "Kick-Ass All-Girl Graphic Novel Panel" at the Books Inc. store in Opera Plaza. Teen lit comes to life with a lively discussion from writers/illustrators Cecil Castellucci, Devin Grayson, LeUyen Pham, Trina Robbins, and moderator Shaenon K. Garrity. Event starts at 7 pm and admission is free. For more info about NYMBCTM and all the cool things they do, check out their website.

Commonwealth Club doubles down

This year the esteemed Commonwealth Club will host two separate panel discussions for Litquake. The first, on Monday, October 6, is entitled "Scandal, Intrigue, and Drama in California History," co-presented by the Commonwealth Club and co-sponsored by the California Historical Society and the SF Museum and Historical Society. Authors of three groundbreaking new books discuss the great stories of the Golden State: Frances Dinkelspiel, Ethan Rarick, and Rick Wartzman. Moderator is Julia Flynn Siler, author of The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty.

And on Thursday, October 9, the Commonwealth Club and Litquake present "Battling for the Environment: Stories from the Front Lines," where leading authors explain a world in environmental crisis and what we can do to help save it. With Sebastian Copeland, Claire Hope Cummings, Thomas M. Kostigen, Jerry Mander, and Christie Matheson, and moderated by S.F. Chronicle environment journalist Jane Kay.

Ticket information for both nights.

Kierkegaard makes inaugural Litquake appearance - sort of

Yes, that's correct, Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard finally casts his shadow over the festival, in the form of his most famous work Either/Or -- which will be the theme for this year's short stories night on October 8. It's a stellar lineup of authors writing original stories and reading them: Andrew Foster Altschul, Sean Beaudoin, Nona Caspers, Ben Greenman, and Matthew Iribarne.

As always, the night is held at Varnish Fine Art, in proximity to their excellent wine bar, and admission is free. A classic Kierkegaard quote for your next dinner party: "It is the duty of the human understanding to understand that there are things which it cannot understand, and what those things are."

Lit Crawl 2008

Close out Litquake properly with a three-hour literary crawl through the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District's bookstores, cafes, nightclubs and -- of course -- bars. Three phases (6-7 pm; 7:15-8:15; 8:30-9:30 pm) will carry you through the festival's version of a traditional pub crawl. All Lit Crawl events are free. See here for specific venues and age restrictions.
For more information and the full Litquake schedule, head to Litquake.org.

About Litquake

Litquake, San Francisco's annual literary festival, was founded by Bay Area writers in order to put on a week-long literary spectacle for book lovers, complete with cutting-edge panels, unique cross-media events, and hundreds of readings. Since its founding in 1999, the festival has presented close to 1,400 author appearances for an audience of over 32,000 in its lively and inclusive celebration of San Francisco's thriving contemporary literary scene. Litquake seeks to foster interest in literature, perpetuate a sense of literary community, and provide a vibrant forum for Bay Area writing as a complement to the city's music, film, and cultural festivals. Litquake runs from October 3-11, 2008.


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