Literature is being celebrated across the Bay Area as the annual 2016 Litquake Festival, which lasts until Oct. 15th, gets underway. The party comes to the Castro tomorrow, October 9th, when Litquake takes up residence at Jane Warner Plaza at 1pm.
"Each year we select outstanding writers from the LGBTQ community," Scott James, the producer of the Castro event, told us. "Many of them are award-winning writers. Sometimes we go to events during the year and listen to writers speak. They may not be nationally known, but we think they're worth being heard. Others might be Lambda Literary Award winners."
James, who also sits on Litquake's Board of Directors, feels that Jane Warner Plaza is the perfect location to introduce these writers to a wider readership.
"I love that this will be held outdoors so anyone can simply wander up and hear provocative and engaging work from some of the best local writers of our time," James said.
The historical significance of that corner is another reason. "These are the same streets where Harvey Milk organized the community with his bullhorn," James pointed out. "It's exciting to put people out in those same streets—I can't wait to hear what today's voices have to say."
James feels that the Litquake readings, which were held at the Plaza back in 2013, are one of those "only in San Francisco" things, and recalled Litquake's origins 17 years ago. "We started with just a couple of writers in Golden Gate Park," he said. "We were shocked when hundreds of people showed up. We're expecting 15,000 (at all events combined) this year."
This year's Castro line-up includes Rabih Alameddine, Guggenheim winner and National Book Award finalist, and author of the new novel “The Angel of History,” set in San Francisco; Meliza Bañales, author of the Lambda Literary Award finalist Life Is Wonderful, People Are Terrific; Julie Blair, author of the Lambda-winning romance Making A Comeback; Roberto F. Santiago, Lambda finalist for poetry for “Angel Park”; James Siegel, founder of San Francisco’s Literary Speakeasy; and Willy Wilkinson, author of the Lambda winning Born on the Edge of Race and Gender: A Voice for Cultural Competency.
A reception with book sales, signings and wine will be held immediately following the readings at 2pm at Dog Eared Books (489 Castro St.). The readings and the reception are free to all, and sunny skies are forecasted.