Piece of Home

2 10 2008

Tomorrow evening marks the opening night of Litquake, San Francisco’s 10 day literary extravaganza, and (in my humble opinion) the best thing to happen to literature in a very long time. Now in its sixth year, Litquake overflows the already great city of San Francisco with writers and readers who gather nightly at various locales for readings and revelry, with everything from comedy to a special Kidquake, because it’s never too early to hook ’em on books.

If I sound like I’m gushing, it’s because, well, I am. I had the fortune of working on Litquake for two years, and, at the risk of sounding dramatic (and offending family and friends) it was one of the hardest-to-leave-behind aspects of my California life. It is wistfully that I announce it this year, since, alas, I will be here in New York rather than at opening night with Porchlight Storytelling or any of the other great events in this year’s stellar lineup.

I know, I live in New York City, capitol of all things literary, right? And we have the New Yorker (capitol of all magazines literary) Festival, right? Right. I am surrounded by brilliant writers and fantastic reading series and the New Yorker Festival, but it’s not quite the same. For one thing, events at the New Yorker Festival sell out in a hot second, and for another, at at least $20 a pop, this poor struggling writer can’t afford to go to too many of them.  Litquake, on the other hand, is many days of inexpensive (and often free) readings. So my whining is not for naught.

What’s a girl to do? Bring the festival here, that’s what. And I did! This year, I joined forces with a fellow San Francisco transplant to put on a Lit Crawl here in NYC. Lit Crawl, is the phenomenal culminating evening of Litquake, a literary pub crawl that literally takes readers to the streets of the Mission District.

This year in SF they have 45 venues in total. Our modest Lit Crawl New York, which started in the Lower East Side and then crawled to the East Village and along the L train to Williamsburg, had 17, but it was a huge success (in my humble opinion). The literary community really rallied round us, and we had big name particpants from the New Yorker’s Ben Greenman to readers from Bloomsbury and Penguin. it was enough to draw New Yorkers out, even on a rainy night. I heard nothing but good things and queries about when the next will be. And so, though I can’t be in SF, at least I had the next best thing. (And now I catch my breath before it’s time to start planning for next year!)

Does it get much cooler then crowds of readers drowned in red light? Not likely.

Does it get much cooler than crowds of readers drowned in red light? Not likely.

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One response

5 10 2008
mom

Glad all that hard work paid off and it was a success. I really enjoyed attending some of the readings in SF a couple of years ago. Wish I could have gone to some of these too… maybe next year! Love, Mom

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