Every year, on the ninth and final day of San Francisco’s literary festival, Litquake, hundreds of storytellers, poets, biographers and writers of all kinds converge from near and far to form a massive, four-hour-long Choose-Your-Own-Adventure style parade through the Mission District, a phenomenon that attracts thousands of readers and listeners and that has spawned similar annual events in eight other cities.
Last year, as Litquake turned 15 and Lit Crawl expanded to Helsinki, co-founder Jack Boulware said, “It’s nice to see the DNA of something that spawned so organically in S.F. (be) exciting to other people in other cities. It changes with each city, but … I think Dave Eggers said it: It could have never started in any other city.”
Unparalleled in its demonstration of the Bay Area’s rich, vast spectrum of literary activity, Lit Crawl brings together so many groups that it inevitably fosters collaboration throughout the rest of the year. In this way and in others, it has helped define the local community ethos that distinguishes many Bay Area writers.
This Saturday, Oct. 17, is San Francisco’s 11th Lit Crawl, which is organized into three hour-long phases and concludes with an after-party. Each phase contains an average of about 30 concurrent events and has so many sure-thing options it’s almost a shame to have to pick one or two for each hour. But here goes:
Phase 1, 6-7 p.m.: KQED presents Warrior Women: Denise Jolly, Ben McCoy, Natasha Muse, Kamala Puligandla and Maggie Tokuda-Hall (Elbo Room, upstairs, 647 Valencia St.); Small Press Distribution presents five first-book poets at Valencia Gardens Community Room (390 Valencia St.); Radar Productions hosts Michelle Tea, Maya Chinchilla, Kat Marie Yoas and Baruch Porras-Hernandez downstairs at the Elbo Room; and Omnibucket: Action Fiction takes over the Mission police station, with professional actors interpreting short fiction by local authors (630 Valencia St.).
Phase 2, 7:15-8:15 p.m.: Stanford’s Environmental Communication Graduate Program presents true stories of Hungry Writers in a Dry Land (Mission Cheese, 736 Valencia St.); Hazel hosts Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Nayomi Munaweera, Florencia Milito, Mary Volmer and Maw Shein Win (Ruby, 3602 20th St.); Threepenny Review features the likes of Kim Addonizio, Charlie Haas and Jill McDonough (Betabrand, 780 Valencia St.); and the Castro Writers Coop, born this year, presents an original piece written for the event that will be read, in relay fashion, by its more than a dozen members (Fellow Barber, 696 Valencia St.).
Phase 3, 8:30-9:30 p.m.: The Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network presents Angie Chau, Bich Minh Nguyen,Thao P. Nguyen, Aimee Phan, Dao Strom and Julie Thi Underhill on the theme of the Vietnamese feminine (Haus Coffee, 3086 24th St.); California Institute of Integral Studies features six writers and six genres, including Carolyn Cooke, Ronaldo V. Wilson and Aimee Suzara (Ritual Coffee Roasters, 1026 Valencia St.); the Arts Resistance hosts three generations of writers from Afghanistan, America, Belgium, Canada, China and Russia, including Tamim Ansary and Zarina Zabrisky (Modern Times Bookstore, 2919 24th St.); at the San Francisco Buddhist Center, six writers meditate on “home,” including Yas Ahmed, Tarin Towers and Michael Warr (37 Bartlett St.).
For a full guide to Lit Crawl, visit www.litcrawl.org or pick up a print guide at any Litquake event.
IF YOU GO
Lit Crawl: 6 p.m. Saturday, Free, various Mission District locations. (415) 440-4177.
Other book events this weekend
Litquake presents Consciousness of the Past: A Night of Historical Fiction with Annie Barrows, Yangsze Chu, Carolina De Robertis, Lalita Tademy and others (7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, Z Space, 470 Florida St., $12).
Curated by Hollie Hardy and Tess Taylor, and in collaboration with sommelier Christopher Sawyer, Flight of Poets pairs poets with wines, including Ellen Bass, Deborah Landau and Indigo Moor (7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15,Hotel Rex, 562 Sutter St., $20).
To launch his book of collected lyrics and writings, “Tell Homeland Security: We Are the Bomb,” Boots Riley is in conversation with W. Kamau Bell and Adam Mansbach (8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, Z Space, 470 Florida St., $5-10).
Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll celebrates One City One Book’s 2015 selection “Season of the Witch,” by David Talbot, featuring a stout cast of San Francisco personalities including Susie Bright, Ben Fong Torres, Penelope Houston and Gary Kamiya (8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, Z Space, 450 Florida St., $25).
Kearny Street Workshop and St. Mary’s College MFA Program team up with Litquake to present “Reclaiming the Narrative”: readings by Cathy Park Hong and Oliver Wang (8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, Arc Gallery, 1246 Folsom St., $7-10).
San Francisco Poet Laureate Alejandro Murgía and Radio Bilingue/KPOO FM 89.5 Announcer Chelis Lópezlead a tribute to the Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano, with special guests Carolina De Robertis and KPFA events coordinator Bob Baldock (3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18, Main Library, 100 Larkin St., Latino/Hispanic Rooms A & B, Free).