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VIRTUAL: ZYZZYVA & The Booksmith Present: Lockdown Lit @ Lunch with Jennifer Steil & Ava Homa

July 21, 2020 @ 11:00 am - 1:00 pm PDT

Booksmith and The Bindery, in partnership with Zyzzyva, present Lockdown Lit @ Lunch, a weekly salon, Tuesdays at 11am PST. Lockdown Literature is a group of authors with books published during the coronavirus pandemic who have banded together to support one another. This event features Jennifer Steil (Exile Music: A Novel) & Ava Homa (Daughters of Smoke and Fire: A Novel).

** Please note **

>  The books may be listed as out of stock — this is because we’re shipping directly from the warehouse to your door! If you’d like to purchase the books, please do so through the links above or below, at the bottom of this page.

>  You can find a full list of Lockown Lit authors here. Please save the dates and join us!

>  This event will be streaming live on our Facebook page.

Friends, neighbors: We are pleased to be able to bring you some of our events virtually while our doors are otherwise closed in the interest of public health. If you’d like to support the store, you can still do that in the usual ways:

Buy Exile Music and/or Daughters of Smoke and Fire and we’ll deliver them directly to your door.
> Buy one of our gift certificates, which we keep on file and never expire.
Make a donation.

Thank you very much for your support – we’re proud to be a legacy business and a mainstay of the Haight-Ashbury since 1976!

Exile Music by Jennifer Steil

Exile Music by Jennifer SteilAs a young girl growing up in Vienna in the 1930s, Orly has an idyllic childhood filled with music. Her father plays the viola in the Philharmonic, her mother is a well-regarded opera singer, her beloved and charismatic older brother holds the neighborhood in his thrall, and most of her eccentric and wonderful extended family live nearby. Only vaguely aware of Hitler’s rise or how her Jewish heritage will define her family’s identity, Orly spends her days immersed in play with her best friend and upstairs neighbor, Anneliese. Together they dream up vivid and elaborate worlds, where they can escape the growing tensions around them.

But in 1938, Orly’s peaceful life is shattered when the Germans arrive. Her older brother flees Vienna first, and soon Orly, her father, and her mother procure refugee visas for La Paz, a city high up in the Bolivian Andes. Even as the number of Jewish refugees in the small community grows, her family is haunted by the music that can no longer be their livelihood, and by the family and friends they left behind. While Orly and her father find their footing in the mountains, Orly’s mother grows even more distant, harboring a secret that could put their family at risk again. Years pass, the war ends, and Orly must decide: Is the love and adventure she has found in La Paz what defines home, or is the pull of her past in Europe—and the piece of her heart she left with Anneliese—too strong to ignore?

photo of Jennifer Steil by Beowulf SheehanJennifer Steil is an award-winning novelist and memoirist who lives in many countries. She left the United States in 2006 to take a job as editor of a newspaper in Sana’a, Yemen, where she lived for four years. Her first book, The Woman Who Fell From the Sky, was inspired by her Yemeni reporters. She began writing her first novel, The Ambassador’s Wife, after she was kidnapped when pregnant with her daughter. That experience became the first scene of the novel. She and her infant daughter were evacuated from Yemen after her husband Tim Torlot, a British diplomat, was attacked by a suicide bomber. They lived in Amman, Jordan, until his posting ended and he could join them in London. In 2012, they moved to La Paz, Bolivia. Early in her time there, Steil met Jewish Bolivians whose families had fled the Nazis in Europe during World War II. Their stories inspired her third book, Exile Music, just released by Viking. She now lives in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.



Daughters of Fire and Smoke by Ava Homa

front cover of Daughters of Smoke and Fire by Ava HomaSet in Iran, this extraordinary debut novel takes readers into the everyday lives of the Kurds. Leila dreams of making films to bring the suppressed stories of her people onto the global stage, but obstacles keep piling up. Leila’s younger brother Chia, influenced by their father’s past torture, imprisonment, and his deep-seated desire for justice, begins to engage with social and political affairs. But his activism grows increasingly risky and one day he disappears in Tehran. Seeking answers about her brother’s whereabouts, Leila fears the worst and begins a campaign to save him. But when she publishes Chia’s writings online, she finds herself in grave danger as well.

Daughters of Smoke and Fire is an evocative portrait of the lives and stakes faced by 40 million stateless Kurds and a powerful story that brilliantly illuminates the meaning of identity and the complex bonds of family, perfect for fans of Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun.



photo of Ava Homa courtesy of  the authorAva Homa is a writer, journalist, and activist specializing in women’s issues and Middle Eastern affairs. She holds an MA in English and Creative Writing from the University of Windsor in Canada. Her collection of short stories, Echoes from the Other Land, was nominated for the Frank O’Connor International Prize, and she is the inaugural recipient of the PEN Canada-Humber College Writers-In-Exile Scholarship. Daughters of Smoke and Fire is her debut novel which has received much acclaim. For more information please visit at www.AvaHoma.com




This event is free and all ages.

RSVP appreciated by not required.


July 21, 2020
11:00 am - 1:00 pm PDT
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