Read our lips: This year's Litquake fest is not to be missed.
For over 20 years, San Francisco's beloved literary festival has been celebrating the brilliance derived from that classic pairing of books and booze. Born over beers at Edinburgh Castle in 1999, Litquake has lived up to its name, ever moving and shaking to deliver a larger and more diverse array of tectonic programming.
This year's lineup is guaranteed to shift perspectives with two weeks of author appearances and readings of books and poetry on a wide range of topics: Black, queer, Afro-Latin, and Arab-American lives; women's roles in shaping environmental progress; families with magical powers; the art of food writing; ancestral medicine; AIDS activism; the sheer joy of hula hooping, and so much more.
It all kicks off with a night market–style event in the Presidio on October 6th, and closes with the annual cocktail-fueled Lit Crawl through the Mission on October 22nd. Below find 10 picks to light your literary fire.
Litquake's First-Ever Literary Night Market, Thurs. Oct. 6
Litquake kicks off another year of literary star–studded events on Thursday, October 6th, 2022. Pictured here: Amy Tan, right after receiving the Barbary Coast Award in 2010.
(Courtesy of Litquake)
As if this town needed an excuse to enjoy drinks and camaraderie in pretty San Francisco places, Litquake is kicking off this year's fest with a night market–style bash adjacent to the new Presidio Tunnel Tops park. Rub elbows with authors and literary types as you shop books from SFPL, vinyl from Groove Merchant, and official festival merch; drink free bevvies from Ghia, Zaddy’s, Fort Point, and the Mezcalistas; and snack on bites from Marin French Cheese and Semifreddi’s. Short readings from RL Poetry Prize winner Preeti Vangani will keep things lyrical.
// 6pm to 9pm Thursday, Oct. 6 at the Dairy at Sports Basement, 610 Old Mason St. (Presidio); tickets are $25/advance and $30/door; eventbrite.com.
Jazz + Prose with Margaret Wilkerson Sexton and Kim Nalley, Fri. Oct. 7
Wilkerson Sexton's On the Rooftop was a recent pick for Reese's Book Club (yes, as in Witherspoon).
(Courtesy of reesesbookclub.com)
You've seen films set to the live score at San Francisco Symphony. Now, listen as bestselling author Margaret Wilkerson Sexton's new novel On the Rooftop—about a woman with dream of musical stardom in the Fillmore during the 1950s—taps into a new dimension with live music from the era by SF's own jazz legend Kim Nalley. KQED "Forum" host Mina Kim moderates.
// 7pm Friday, Oct. 7 at KQED Live Studio, 2601 Mariposa St. (Mission); tickets are $18, events.kqed.org.
'Illustrated Black History' With George McCalman + Bryant Terry, Sat. Oct. 8
The artist and author George McCalman with his vibrant new book.
(Courtesy of @tuffgee)
Delve into the Illustrated Black History, author and graphic designer George McCalman's stunning new collection of portraits depicting 145 Black heroes—both famous and unsung—from a range of activist, creative, and professional fields. In the book, you'll recognize such luminaries as James Baldwin, Colin Kaepernick, and Aretha Franklin; and discover figures like documentarian Madeline Anderson and Guion S. Bluford, the first Black person to travel into space. McCalman will be in discussion with MoAD's own resident chef and Black Food author Bryant Terry, co-presented by Yerba Buena Night.
// 6:30pm to 8pm at Museum of the African Diaspora, 685 Mission St. (SoMa); register for free online.
'The Art of Eating: The Life of M.F.K. Fisher,' Tues. Oct. 11
Before there was Ruth Reichl or Anthony Bourdain, there was M.F.K. Fisher, a prolific profiler at the intersection of food and culture who W.H. Auden once called “the best prose writer in America.” Fisher authored countless magazine articles and 33 books (Consider the Oyster, How to Cook a Wolf, The Story of Wine in California), and lived for many years in the Napa Valley where she helped start the Napa Valley Wine Library. Now, a new documentary film directed by Gregory Bezat sheds light on the lasting impact of the California food writer. Catch this special screening presented as part of the 45th Mill Valley Film Festival, in association with Litquake.
// 7pm to 9pm Tues. Oct. 11 and 2pm to 4pm Thurs. Oct. 13 at Smith Rafael Film Center, 1118 4th St. (San Rafael); tickets are $8-$17 at mvff.com.
The Man Who Could Move Clouds: Ingrid Rojas Contreras with Julián Lopera, Tues. Oct. 11
Rojas Contreras' new memoir peeks into her family's magical roots.
(Courtesy of @i__rojascontreras)
Open your mind to a bit of magical thinking: The Colombian-Californians are in the house and casting their spell. Join bestselling author Ingrid Rojas Contreras for a chat about her new memoir with Lambda Literary Award–winner Julián Delgado Lopera. The book, The Man Who Could Move Clouds, recalls Contreras' upbringing with her fortune-telling mother and curandero grandfather and traces the family's lineage back to its Indigenous and Spanish roots. At the heart of the book is one divisive question: Is the magic in the family a gift or a curse? Come for the convo, but stay for the cumbia dance party with Mexico City native DJ Telepathic Juan.
// 7:30pm to 10:30pm at Amado's, 998 Valencia St. (Mission); tickets are $15 advance and $20/door, eventbrite.com.
'Nein, Nein, Nein!': Jerry Stahl in Conversation with Beth Lisick, Weds. Oct. 12
When the going gets tough, the tough take a bus tour of Holocaust concentration camps through Poland and Germany. At least, that was writer Jerry Stahl’s strategy in 2016, when his lifelong depression turned into deep despair. His new memoir, Nein, Nein, Nein!, weaves his signature dark humor into both global and personal histories, taking the reader through "genocidal horrors, generational pain, oddball fellow travelers, gang polkas, and the truly disturbing snack bar at Auschwitz." Stahl is in conversation with writer/actor and Porchlight co-creator Beth Lisick tonight, and will be signing books afterward.
// 7:30pm to 8:30pm at Amado’s, 998 Valencia St. (Mission), $15/advance and $20/door, eventbrite.com.
'Girls Who Green the World,' with Diana Kapp, Sat., Oct. 15
Diana Kapp's second woman-powered book, Girls Who Green the World, profiles ladies on a quest to make positive environmental impact.
(Courtesy of @rheamazumdarsinghalofficial)
If you're the type who enjoys reading a good book in the garden, head to Golden Gate Park to meet the journalist who's chronicling women out to save the planet. Diana Kapp's new book, Girls Who Green the World, celebrates female environmental crusaders. Kapp and author Leslie Roberts will be exploring the best ways young women can make a difference.
// 2pm to 3pm at SF Botanical Gardens’ Redwood Grove, 1199 9th Ave. (Golden Gate Park), register for free with admission to the gardens, eventbrite.com.
Litquake Out Loud: Spotlight on the Bay Area’s BIPOC & LGBTQ+ Writers, Sat. and Sun. Oct. 15-16
It wouldn't be a festival in San Francisco without a vibrant salute to the queer authors who lend our region so much color. And because there are so many of them, this year's festival will present a full series, Litquake Out Loud, over two days in the Yerba Buena Gardens Esplanade. Look for a full lineup by guest curators Kevin Madrigal Galindo, Sophia Dahlin, Nazelah Jamison, and more.
/ 2:30pm, 3:45pm, and 4:45pm on Sat. Oct. 15 and noon, 1:15pm, 2:30pm, and 3:45pm on Sun. Oct. 16 at Yerba Buena Gardens Esplanade, 700 Mission St. (SoMa); for full details, visit Litquake's event calendar at litquake.org.
'Army of Lovers': K.M. Soehnlein with Jesse Ataide, Thurs. Oct. 20
Author K.M. Soehnlein being arrested in Albany, New York circa 1990 during an ACT UP protest;
(Image courtesy of the author)
We've been fortunate to call Lambda Award–winning writer K.M. Soehnlein a 7x7 contributor over the years, from his delicious profile of local drag icon Juanita More back in 2013 to his send-off to the Stud during Covid. So we are honored to support the official launch of Army of Lovers, the author’s new historical novel inspired by his own activism with ACT UP. The story is set inside the vibrant queer communities of New York and San Francisco in the face of the AIDS crisis and social stigma of the 1980s and ’90s. Soehnlein will be reading from the book and discussing with Jesse Ataide of Queer Modernisms.
// 7pm Thurs. Oct. 20 atStrut, 470 Castro St. (Castro); free with suggested donation $5-$10, pre-registration required at eventbrite.com.
Lit Crawl returns to the Mission, Sat. Oct. 22
A reading in a laundromat during Litquake's Lit Crawl.
Raise a glass or two to the world's most famous, free literary pub crawl! Lit Crawl is bringing it this year with more than 300 authors in bars, cafes, galleries, bookstores, tattoo parlors, barbershops, and laundromats. A few highlights include Zyzzyva’s Fall All Stars (6:30pm at Dog Eared Books), Noir at the Bar (5pm at Latin American Club), the Happy Endings reading series (6:30pm at Make-out Room), and Arab-American poets (8pm at Arcana).
// 5pm to 9pm Sat. Oct. 22 at venues throughout the Mission; for the full schedule of events, go to litquake.org.