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Literary / Public Talks Archive

March 8, 2017

Local History in Your Ear

Podcasts are shaping the presentation of history through audio delivery. Hosts of several local series tell us why they chose this new technology to delve into the past and how they gauge success. Hear clips of each program in a special podcast challenge! With David Gallagher and Woody LaBounty (The Western Neighoborhoods Project Outside Lands San Francisco), Liam O’Donoghue (East Bay Yesterday), and David Boyer (The Intersection).




November 11, 2015

Literary Liberalism and the Western Voice

Ina Coolbrith, California’s first Poet Laureate (1915), was a contemporary of many male writers we count on for our understanding of what is meant by the American West. She was also a frequent contributor to The Overland Monthly which acted as a vehicle for showcasing poets and authors exploring and constructing ideas of liberal selfhood as the United States moved westward. Biographer Aleta George and author Stephen Mexal provide a look at the literary landscape of the West and its characters, and historian Barbara Berglund Sokolov explores class and gender dynamics in the late 19th-century.




November 13, 2013

Art & Politics:
Literary Treasures of the North Mission

Poets, painters, writers, and other cultural and literary denizens of the single-room-occupancy hotels of the North Mission, especially the Royan, the Crown, the Albion, and others, will be remembered, regaled, and recited. San Francisco Poet Laureate Alejandro Murguia reminisces and recites, bringing in literary heroes of the past decades.




October 16, 2013

Unsettlers: El Cabe

In Adriana Camarena's new work the most precarious residents of the Mission are the central storytellers. Theirs are historic tales of Californian daily life: Indigenous migrants on their day off from construction or cooking on the line, watch movies inside their shared group apartments. Parents, raising children in the Mission, fend off poverty by working hard, with the result that their dutifulness sometimes translates into absence for their kids. Lost in plain sight, young kids in gangs troll the neighborhood flexing their muscles over territorial disputes, and seasoned convicts in their twenties run the drug exchange at corner depots. War veterans and the mentally ill fill the neighborhood shelters, while the neighborhood gentrifies around them. These are stories of abandon, but also of love, loyalty, laughter, and a fierce will to survive adversity. Explore the project!

This project was made possible with support from Cal Humanities, an independent non-profit state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information, visit www.calhum.org.




May 8, 2013

Unsettlers: Migrants, Homies, and Mammas in the Mission

In Adriana Camarena's new work the most precarious residents of the Mission are the central storytellers. Theirs are historic tales of Californian daily life: Indigenous migrants on their day off from construction or cooking on the line, watch movies inside their shared group apartments. Parents, raising children in the Mission, fend off poverty by working hard, with the result that their dutifulness sometimes translates into absence for their kids. Lost in plain sight, young kids in gangs troll the neighborhood flexing their muscles over territorial disputes, and seasoned convicts in their twenties run the drug exchange at corner depots. War veterans and the mentally ill fill the neighborhood shelters, while the neighborhood gentrifies around them. These are stories of abandon, but also of love, loyalty, laughter, and a fierce will to survive adversity. Explore the project!

This project was made possible with support from Cal Humanities, an independent non-profit state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information, visit www.calhum.org.




April 13, 2011

History of the Charles H. Kerr Publishing Co.

Founded in 1886 by a Unitarian (who moved rapidly leftwards!), the Charles H. Kerr Publishing Co. has been a mainstay of non-sectarian Left publishing and culture since its inception. The first to publish Marx's Capital in English, and the pre-eminent publisher of the IWW for the last century, Allen Ruff interrogates, analyzes, and celebrates the previous 115 years, and looks forward to the next. Allen Ruff is an independent writer, and researcher whose history of the Kerr Co. remains not only the definitive account of this remarkable publisher, but of the social movements and literature of which it was an integral part during the first few decades of the 20th century. Co-presented by PM Press.

March 23, 2011

The Radical Futures Of The Book

With the collapse of one of the two major bookstore chains in the U.S. and authors abandoned by publishers to go "indie" via Kindle and iPad, the ebook (r)evolution is apparently here, but its course is not yet charted — will the dinosaurs of New York's publishing industry go extinct? What new species of publication and publisher will emerge? Join science fiction writers in prognosticating doom and poverty, or a cybercommons of plenty, or both! Terry Bisson is a novelist, activist, and a Hugo and Nebula awardwinning author, including of TVA Baby (PM Press); Tim Pratt is the author of several fantasy novels in the Marla Mason series, which he has recently taken to self-publishing on Kindle, and most recently The Nex (Tropism Press); Nick Mamatas is the author of three novels, including Sensation (PM Press) and edits Japanese science fiction and fantasy in translation.Co-presented by PM Press.

October 20, 2010

Hard Boiled for Hard Times—Crime Authors in the City

A conversation with some of the finest exponents of crime fiction and noir. Prepare to be impressed, entertained, and awed. Owen Hill is the author of two novels, his latest, The Incredible Double, and many books of poetry. Benjamin Whitmer and Michael Harris are debuting novels as part of the noir Switchblade imprint. Barry Eisler’s bestselling thrillers draw on his experience in a covert position in the CIA and on his time as a technology lawyer and startup executive in Silicon Valley and Japan. His latest, Inside Out is about black sites, ghost detainees, and those missing CIA interrogation videos. Co-presented by PM Press.

October 13, 2010

Outspoken Authors Speak Out

It's only a story; or is it? Fantasy, science fiction, and noir conspire as three of PM Press's Outspoken Authors series discuss the problems, pitfalls, and possibilities of writing fiction from a revolutionary perspective. With Kim Stanley Robinson, the Hugo winning author of Red Mars and Galileo’s Dream; Terry Bisson, an award winning short story writer and the biographer of Mumia Abu Jamal and Nat Turner; and LA’s own Gary Phillips “combines politics and storytelling as well as any writer of crime fiction" (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine). Co-presented by PM Press.

March 24, 2010

Science Fiction and the Struggle for Justice

From H.G. Wells to Octavia Butler, from New Wave to Cyberpunk to the Slipstream of today, Sci Fi has been a tool to agitate, organize, speculate, and explore utopian alternatives. A panel of working pros discuss the perils and possibilities. With John Shirley, Bram Stoker Award winner, cyberpunk pioneer, and author of Bleak History, Black Glass; Lisa Goldstein, American Book Award winner, charter member of scifi's"Shameless Hussies," author of The Red Magician, The Divided Crown; Amelia Beamer, Locus magazine editor, critic, author of The Loving Dead; and moderator Terry Bisson, Hugo winning author of "They're Made out of Meat," Fire on the Mountain, and biographer of Mumia Abu Jamal. Co-presented by PM Press.

March 17, 2010

Crime/Noir Writers Describe Their Crimes in the City

"Crime fiction is almost like a product of capitalism. It's about social inequality" —Ian Rankin, best-selling crime novelist
Four of the finest exponents of crime and noir discuss how fiction is not just a mirror to the seamier sides of life, but the proverbial hammer with which to shape it. Owen Hill is the author of two novels, his latest being The Incredible Double, and many books of poetry. He lives in Berkeley, where he works as a bookseller and curates a reading series. Jim Nisbet, long regarded as one of fiction's best kept secrets, claims 2010 as his own, with the publication of two new novels, and the reissuing of ten of his previous classics! Summer Brenner's novel of sex-trafficking, I-5 made numerous book of the year lists for 2009, and is an underground best-seller. Peter Maravelis is the best-selling editor of San Francisco Noir and San Francisco Noir 2. He has worked at City Lights bookstore for many years as the readings co-ordinator. Co-presented by PM Press.