This event is now available to watch on our YouTube page, alongside the rest of our 2020 festival programming.

Co-presented by City Lights Booksellers & Publishers

"From Basho to Mandela, Every Day We Get More Illegal takes us on an international tour for a lesson in the history of resistance...In ways subtle and sometimes proudly loud, this book makes it clear exactly why Juan Felipe Herrera continues to be recognized and sought after for his work."—Jericho Brown

Join Litquake and City Lights in celebrating the publication of Juan Felipe Herrera’s Every Day We Get More Illegal. In this collection of poems, written during and immediately after two years on the road as United States Poet Laureate, Herrera reports back on his travels through contemporary America. Poems written in the heat of witness, and later, in quiet moments of reflection, coalesce into an urgent, trenchant, and yet hope-filled portrait. Every Day We Get More Illegal is a jolt to the conscience—filled with the multiple powers of the many voices and many textures of every day in America. Herrera, the nation’s first Latino Poet Laureate, will share his work, along with Jericho Brown, author of three collected works, of which The Tradition received the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. FREE, $5-10 suggested donation

Buy books and support the poets:
Juan Felipe Herrera --
Jericho Brown --
Browse Litquake's bookstore here --

Direct download: Litquake_Juan_Felipe_Herrera.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am PDT

The Rumpus proudly presents our San Francisco Lit Crawl 2020 event, An Evening with The Rumpus! With readings from Tongo Eisen-Martin, Ingrid Rojas Contreras, and Monica Sok, and featuring comedy by Nato Green! Hosted by Christine Hyung-Oak Lee.

Direct download: Litquake_The_Rumpus.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:39am PDT

“This is an unflinching book that illustrates the central, confounding American paradox—in a country that purports to root for the underdog, too often we exalt the rich and we punish the poor. With thorough reporting and extraordinary compassion, Kristof and WuDunn tell the stories of those who fall behind in the world’s wealthiest country, and find not an efficient first-world safety net created by their government, but a patchwork of community initiatives, perpetually underfunded and run by tired saints. And yet amid all the tragedy and neglect, Kristof and WuDunn conjure a picture of how it could all get better, how it could all work. That’s the miracle of Tightrope, and why this is such an indispensable book.” —Dave Eggers

The Pulitzer Prize-winning authors of the acclaimed, best-selling Half the Sky, Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn, now issue a plea—deeply personal and told through the lives of real Americans—to address the crisis in working-class America, while focusing on solutions to mend a half century of governmental failure. Their latest bestseller, Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope, draws us deep into an “other America,” from the lives of some of the children with whom Kristof grew up, in rural Oregon, to similar stories of needless working-class tragedy from the Dakotas, Oklahoma, New York, and Virginia. But amid the deaths from drugs, alcohol, suicide, or reckless accidents, there are stories about resurgence, among them: Annette Dove, who has devoted her life to helping the teenagers of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and Daniel McDowell, of Baltimore, whose tale of opioid addiction and recovery suggests that there are viable ways to solve our nation’s drug epidemic. With their superb, nuanced reportage, Kristof and WuDunn have given us a book that is both riveting and impossible to ignore. The authors discuss their work and share stories with Arlie Russell Hochschild, author of the recent New York Times bestseller Strangers in Their Own Land.

Direct download: Litcast_The_Other_America.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am PDT

Litquake and City Lights present John Freeman with Robin Coste Lewis, Tommy Orange, and Matt Summell. John Freeman celebrates the latest installment of the journal that is called "a powerful force in the literary world" (Los Angeles Times.) Freeman's turns to one of the greatest elevating forces of life: love.
FREEMAN'S: Best New Writings on LOVE edited by John Freeman, and published by Grove Press.
Litquake and City Lights present John Freeman with Robin Coste Lewis, Tommy Orange, and Matt Summell. John Freeman celebrates the latest installment of the journal that is called "a powerful force in the literary world" (Los Angeles Times.) Freeman's turns to one of the greatest elevating forces of life: love.
FREEMAN'S: Best New Writings on LOVE edited by John Freeman, and published by Grove Press.
Direct download: Litquake_Freemans.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:53am PDT

Millions of families are separated today, by circumstances of the current pandemic, by draconian immigration policies, and by war. Family separation has long been used as an intentional political tool to pressure, frighten, and terrorize. Through the lens of fiction, we can understand the impact of such wounds, and strengthen our shared belief in family and community connection. Authors Donna Hemans, Aimee Liu, Ellen Meeropol, and Kristen Millares Young discuss their Spring 2020 novels, and explore the paths of families torn apart. F

Direct download: Litquake_A_Family_Divided.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:15am PDT

“One of the difficulties of being alive today, is that everything is absurd but fewer and fewer things are funny.” In her new essay collection Nothing Is Wrong and Here Is Why, acclaimed Washington Post satirist Alexandra Petri offers perfectly logical, reassuring reasons for everything that has happened in recent American politics that will in no way unsettle your worldview. Petri reports that the Trump administration is as competent as it is uncorrupted, white supremacy has never been less rampant, and men have been silenced for too long. The “woman card” is a powerful card to play! Q-Anon makes perfect sense! This Panglossian venture into our swampy present offers a virtuosic first draft of history—a parody as surreal and deranged as the Trump administration itself. Petri’s essays have become iconic expressions of rage and anger, read and liked and shared by hundreds of thousands of people. In conversation with Vox political reporter Jane Coaston.

Direct download: Litquake_Alexadra_Petri.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:57am PDT

Afrofuturism: Risen From a Poet’s Sun explores the intersection of technology, science, and the arts, as well as culture, of the African Diaspora. Featuring Bay Area poets James Cagney, Tongo-Eisen Martin, Thea Matthews, and Tureeda Mikell.
Direct download: Litquake_Afrofuturism.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am PDT

Cutting-edge poetry and visuals from both coasts, on the theme of "You, Me, and Everyone In Quarantine." From the depths of their shelter-in-place, these writers will perform their literary hearts out for you! With SevanKele Boult, Wo Chan, Katie Fricas, Irene McCalphin aka Magnoliah Black, and Preeti Vangani. Curated and hosted by Baruch Porras-Hernandez.

Books are available from your favorite indie bookstores, or order from!

Direct download: Litquake_You_Me_Everyone.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am PDT

Page turners are usually associated with genre or popular fiction rather than literary fiction. In this discussion, Melanie Abrams, Laura Mazer, and Kate Milliken will talk about what readers, agents, and editors are looking for when it comes to plot. Our guest authors speak about marketability, but also how to write a beautifully crafted narrative while still making readers turn pages. 

Books are available from your favorite indie bookstores, or order from!

Direct download: Litquake_Literary_Page_Turners.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am PDT

Please join us for this vivid and compelling evening with Alka Joshi, author of The Henna Artist, the May selection for Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Book Club. Tune in and learn why Publishers Weekly calls this novel “eloquent and moving,” while Christian Science Monitor highlights its “vibrant characters, evocative imagery, and sumptuous prose.”

A portrait of one woman’s struggle for fulfillment in a society pivoting between the traditional and the modern, The Henna Artist takes readers on a journey through 1950s Indian culture, a world that is at once lush and fascinating, stark and cruel. Escaping from an abusive marriage, seventeen-year-old Lakshmi makes her way alone to the vibrant pink city of Jaipur. There she becomes the most highly requested henna artist—and confidante—to the wealthy women of the upper class. But trusted with the secrets of the wealthy, she can never reveal her own. Alka Joshi reads from and discusses her book, with CCA professor and bestselling author Tom Barbash. 

Books are available from your favorite indie bookstores, or order from!

Direct download: Litquake_Alka_Joshi.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:09am PDT

From the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of the Sierra Leone child-soldier memoir, A LONG WAY GONE, comes this powerful new novel about young people living at the margins of society. LITTLE FAMILY portrays the lives of five youth who have improvised a household in an abandoned airplane, struggling to replace the homes they have lost with the one they have created together. Join us to celebrate release of this remarkable debut work of fiction from Ishmael Beah, whom Vanity Fair has called “arguably the most-read African writer in contemporary literature.”

Direct download: Litquake_Ishmael_Beah.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:14pm PDT

Fiction writers Nayomi Munaweera, R.O. Kwon, Ingrid Rojas Contreras, and host Lauren Markham discuss both the challenges and urgency of fiction writing at this moment in time. How do we write during bleak times, and into the bleakness? How does the loss and grief of our current moment impact what we are writing about, how we write, and who we are writing for? What works or writers are we turning to right now, and how are we finding sustenance there? And perhaps most importantly, where might we be finding joy and how are we cultivating it—and what role could this joy play in our writing?

All authors' books available from your favorite indie bookstores, order from!

Direct download: Litquake_Fiction_Crisis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:27am PDT

Let's connect our global literary community in a time of closed borders. Hear World Editions authors Adam Dalva, Esther Gerritsen, Adeline Dieudonné, Pierre Jarawan, Sisonke Msimang, and Amin Maalouf read from their works, discuss the current situation in their countries, and talk about what books mean to them during Covid-19.

Adam Dalva’s writing has appeared in The New York Review of Books, The Paris Review, Tin House, and The Guardian. He teaches Creative Writing at Rutgers University and is a book critic for Guernica Magazine. Adam has received fellowships from the Atlantic Center for the Arts and the Vermont Studio Center. He is a graduate of NYU’s MFA Program, where he was a Veterans Writing Workshop Fellow. Adam’s bestselling comic book, Olivia Twist, was published by Dark Horse in Fall 2018.

Esther Gerritsen is a Dutch novelist, columnist, and playwright. She made her literary debut in 2000. She is one of the most established, widely read, and highly praised authors in the Netherlands, and makes regular appearances on radio programs and at literary festivals. Esther Gerritsen had the honor of writing the Dutch Book Week gift in 2016, which had a print run of 700,000 copies. In 2014 she was awarded the Frans Kellendonk Prize for her oeuvre. Her book Craving was made into a film in 2018, and film rights have been sold for her novel Roxy, which was just published in English.

Adeline Dieudonné is a Belgian author and lives in Brussels. Real Life, her debut novel, was published in France in Autumn 2018 and has since been awarded most of the major French literary prizes: the prestigious Prix du Roman FNAC, the Prix Rossel, the Prix Renaudot des Lycéens, the Prix Goncourt―Le Choix de la Belgique, the Prix des Étoiles du Parisien, the Prix Première Plume, and the Prix Filigrane, a French prize for a work of high literary quality with wide appeal. Dieudonné also performs as a stand-up comedian.

Pierre Jarawan was born in 1985 to a Lebanese father and a German mother and moved to Germany with his family at the age of three. Inspired by his father’s imaginative bedtime stories, he started writing at the age of thirteen. He has won international prizes as a slam poet, and in 2016 was named Literature Star of the Year by the daily newspaper Abendzeitung. Jarawan received a literary scholarship from the City of Munich (the Bayerischer Kunstförderpreis) for The Storyteller, which went on to become a bestseller and booksellers’ favorite in Germany and the Netherlands.

Sisonke Msimang is the author of Always Another Country: A memoir of exile and home. She is a South African writer whose work is focussed on race, gender and democracy. She has written for a range of international publications including the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Guardian, Newsweek and Al Jazeera.

Born in Beirut in 1949, Amin Maalouf has lived in France since 1976. After studying sociology and economics, Maalouf joined the Lebanese daily An-Nahar, for which he travelled the world covering numerous events, from the fall of the Ethiopian monarchy to the last battle of Saigon. Forced to emigrate by the war in Lebanon, he settled in Paris, where he resumed journalism, and from where he started to travel again, from Mozambique to Iran and from Argentina to the Balkans. He became editor of the international edition of An-Nahar, then editor-in-chief of the weekly Jeune Afrique, before giving up all his posts to dedicate himself to literature.

All authors' books available from your favorite indie bookstores, order from!

Direct download: Litquake_World_Editions.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am PDT

A reading of dozens of tiny stories from micro-fictionistas, including guest readers, plus a discussion of the Art of Flash and prompts—including visual prompts—to write and submit your own, with a selection to be published on the Flash Fiction Collective Facebook page.

Author bios:

Jane Ciabattari, author of the short story collection Stealing the Fire, writes the Between the Lines column for BBC Culture. She is a former president of the National Book Critics Circle and a member of the Writers Grotto. Her reviews, interviews and cultural criticism have appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the Guardian, Paris Review, the Washington Post and the Boston Globe, among other publications.

Grant Faulkner is the Executive Director of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and the co-founder of 100 Word Story. He has published two books on writing, Pep Talks for Writers: 52 Insights and Actions to Boost Your Creative Mojo, and Brave the Page, a teen writing guide. He’s also published a collection of 100-word stories, Fissures, and Nothing Short of 100: Selected Tales from 100 Word Story. His stories have appeared in dozens of literary magazines, including Tin House, The Southwest Review, and The Gettysburg Review, and he has been anthologized in collections such as Norton’s New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction and Best Small Fictions. His essays on creativity have been published in The New York Times, Poets & Writers, Writer’s Digest, and The Writer. He serves on the National Writing Project’s Writer’s Council, Lit Camp’s Advisory Council, and Aspen Words’ Creative Council. He’s also the co-host of the podcast Write-minded.

Kirstin Chen‘s second novel, Bury What We Cannot Take (Little A, March 2018), was named a best book of the year by Entropy, Popsugar, and Book Bub, and a top pick of the season by Electric Literature, The Millions, The Rumpus, Harper’s Bazaar, and InStyle. She is also the author of Soy Sauce for Beginners, an Amazon bestseller, an O, The Oprah Magazine “book to pick up now,” and a Glamour book club pick.
She has received awards from the Steinbeck Fellows Program, Sewanee, Hedgebrook, the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, the Toji Cultural Foundation, and the National Arts Council of Singapore. Her writing has appeared in Real Simple, Literary Hub, Writer’s Digest, Manrepeller, Zyzzyva, and the Best New Singaporean Short Stories. She holds an MFA from Emerson College and a BA from Stanford University. Born and raised in Singapore, she lives in San Francisco, where she is working on a novel about the counterfeit handbag trade. She teaches creative writing at the University of San Francisco and in Ashland University’s Low-Residency MFA Program.

Meg Pokrass is the U.K. based author of six flash fiction collections, an award-winning collection of prose poetry, and a novella-in-flash from the Rose Metal Press. Her latest is a flash fiction collection called The Dog Seated Next To Me, published in 2019 by Pelekinesis Press. A new novella in flash The Smell Of Good Luck will be published in 2020 by Flash: The International Short Short Story Press. Meg’s work has been recently anthologized in two Norton Anthology Readers: New Micro (W.W. Norton & Co, 2018) and Flash Fiction International (W.W. Norton & Co., 2015), The Best Small Fictions, 2018 and 2019, Wigleaf Top 50, Nothing Short Of 100, and has appeared in 350 literary magazines both online and in print including Electric Literature, Tin House, McSweeney’s, Five Points, Smokelong Quarterly, Tupelo Review.

All authors' books available from your favorite indie bookstores, order from!

Direct download: Litquake_DIY.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 11:05am PDT

Celebrate ZYZZYVA's 35th anniversary issue with contributors Dave Madden, Lysley Tenorio, Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, and Kristen Iskandrian.

Kristen Iskandrian is the author of the novel Motherest (Twelve). Her story “Good With Boys,” which appeared in Issue No. 109, was included in Best American Short Stories 2018. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama, and is co-owner of Thank You Books, a new independent bookstore.

Lysley Tenorio is the author of the forthcoming novel The Son of Good Fortune (Ecco) and the story collection Monstress (Ecco), named a Book of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Dave Madden is the author of the story collection If You Need Me I’ll Be Over There (Indian University Press) and The Authentic Animal: Inside the Odd and Obsessive World of Taxidermy (St. Martin’s).

Meg Hurtado Bloom's writing has appeared in Split Lip, Lumen Magazine, and other publications. Her poetry also appeared in ZYZZYVA's Bay Area Issue (No. 117).

Margaret Wilkerson Sexton is the author of two novel, A Kind of Freedom (Counterpoint), which was long-listed for a National Book Award, and The Revisioners (Counterpoint), which won an NAACP Image Award in February.

All authors' books available from your favorite indie bookstores, order from!

Direct download: Litquake_Zyzzyva.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am PDT

Booksmith presents visionary novelist William Gibson reading from the sharply imagined sequel to his New York Times bestselling novel The Peripheral. He is in conversation with Mother Jones editor-in-chief, Clara Jeffery.

This event was recorded January 23, 2020 at Public Works.

Direct download: LitCast_William_Gibson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am PDT

Co-presented by Litquake and MoAD

In honor of the post-mortem publication of Zora Neal-Hurston’s short story anthology Hitting a Straight Lick With a Crooked Stick: Stories From The Harlem Renaissance, we put together a reading at the Museum of African Diaspora here in San Francisco. After reading pieces of their favorite stories from the book, local authors, educators, and activists spoke to a sold out crowd about the legacy of Zora Neale Hurston and how it has influenced contemporary literary culture. With a Q&A to wrap the whole thing up, this night was one for remembrance and celebration. We have it all here for you, on this episode of Lit Cast.

Featuring: UC Berkeley African American studies professor Chiyuma Elliott, poet and CCA professor Tonya M. Foster, and bestselling novelist Margaret Wilkerson Sexton. Moderated by writer and radio journalist Jenee Darden.

Direct download: Litcast_Zora_Neale_Hurston.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:04pm PDT

Anna Wiener discusses her new memoir, Uncanny Valley, with author Mike Isaac.  This podcast was recorded at Green Apple Books on January 27, 2020

Direct download: LitCast_Episode_115.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:45pm PDT

Towards the end of 2019, we attended one of the many incredible readings held at Oakland-based Wolfman Books. To celebrate  Trebor Healey’s new collection, Falling, we packed in to Wolfman’s 40th street storefront to hear stories that confronted populism, immigration, and queer identity. Supported by intimate tales from Alvin Orloff’s memoir, Disasterama: Adventures in the Queer Underground 1977-1997, and new work from Oakland-based choreographer and poet Brontez Purnell, the night was filled with touching memories, bold questions, and a lot of laughs.

Direct download: Lit_Cast_Live_Episode_114_Queerboy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:46pm PDT