Ransom Stephens hosts the Barely Published Authors event as part of Litquake XIII at the Makeout Room in San Francisco. The event, which Ransom puts together every year, features, as he says, writers “on the threshold of an extraordinary career in literature.” To put the lineup together he asks leaders of the literary community to nominate one or two of these authors, always starting with Tamim Ansary, of the San Francisco Writers Workshop, who nominated Colleen McKee and Tim Floreen. This year, Stephens also asked Peg Alford Pursell, of the Why There Are Words series, who nominated Nancy Au; the Quiet Lightning advisory board, who nominated Graham Gremore; faculty at the California Institute of Integral Studies, who nominated Haldane King and Lois Keaney Smith; also, there is a submission process, by which Siamak Vossoughi and Sue Mell were selected. – October 6th, 2012
Before the show I saw Peg Alford Pursell, whom I first met when she was one of the readers at Barely Published back in 2009. We had both just moved here from the Southeast, only a couple months apart, but two months later I would co-found Quiet Lightning and she would start Why There Are Words. We became fast friends. It was a pretty extraordinary feeling to be on the flip side of this process, with Peg and I both nominating readers only three years later.
As it has been since that first night, this was one of my favorite events of the festival. The work here isn’t the best in the Bay Area. Nor is it the best of the emerging writers in the Bay Area. Strip the event of whatever pretense you think it might have, because it’s simply not there. What you will find is a diverse group of writers who are truly dedicated to their craft, with lucid voices and a still-emerging style.
See for yourself. Whether you’re looking for humorous list poems, metaphysical fiction with sports as a metaphor, or experiments in YA fiction that begin with a dead body in a restaurant… well: find all that and much, much more.
This show was filmed by Evelyn Manangan Price.