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Litquake's Lit Cast


Litquake is San Francisco's nine-day literary festival for booklovers, complete with cutting-edge panel discussions, unique cross-media events, and hundreds of readings. Litquake's Lit Cast is our selection of live recordings from the "Epicenter", a monthly series which embraces a theater of ideas between writers and readers.

Litquake is San Francisco's nine-day literary festival for booklovers, complete with cutting-edge panel discussions, unique cross-media events, and hundreds of readings. Litquake's Lit Cast is our selection of live recordings from the "Epicenter", a monthly series which embraces a theater of ideas between writers and readers.


San Francisco, CA


Litquake is San Francisco's nine-day literary festival for booklovers, complete with cutting-edge panel discussions, unique cross-media events, and hundreds of readings. Litquake's Lit Cast is our selection of live recordings from the "Epicenter", a monthly series which embraces a theater of ideas between writers and readers.






A Family Divided: Lit Cast Live Episode 128

Millions of families are separated today, by circumstances of the current pandemic, by draconian immigration policies, and by war. Family separation has long been used as an intentional political tool to pressure, frighten, and terrorize. Through the lens of fiction, we can understand the impact of such wounds, and strengthen our shared belief in family and community connection. Authors Donna Hemans, Aimee Liu, Ellen Meeropol, and Kristen Millares Young discuss their Spring 2020 novels, and...


Alexandra Petri and Nothing Is Wrong and Here Is Why: Lit Cast Live Episode 127

“One of the difficulties of being alive today, is that everything is absurd but fewer and fewer things are funny.” In her new essay collection Nothing Is Wrong and Here Is Why, acclaimed Washington Post satirist Alexandra Petri offers perfectly logical, reassuring reasons for everything that has happened in recent American politics that will in no way unsettle your worldview. Petri reports that the Trump administration is as competent as it is uncorrupted, white supremacy has never been less...


Afrofuturism — Risen From a Poet’s Sun: Lit Cast Live Episode 126

Afrofuturism: Risen From a Poet’s Sun explores the intersection of technology, science, and the arts, as well as culture, of the African Diaspora. Featuring Bay Area poets James Cagney, Tongo-Eisen Martin, Thea Matthews, and Tureeda Mikell.


You, Me, and Everyone In Quarantine: Lit Cast Live Episode 125

Cutting-edge poetry and visuals from both coasts, on the theme of "You, Me, and Everyone In Quarantine." From the depths of their shelter-in-place, these writers will perform their literary hearts out for you! With SevanKele Boult, Wo Chan, Katie Fricas, Irene McCalphin aka Magnoliah Black, and Preeti Vangani. Curated and hosted by Baruch Porras-Hernandez. Books are available from your favorite indie bookstores, or order from!


Literary Page Turners: Lit Cast Live Episode 124

Page turners are usually associated with genre or popular fiction rather than literary fiction. In this discussion, Melanie Abrams, Laura Mazer, and Kate Milliken will talk about what readers, agents, and editors are looking for when it comes to plot. Our guest authors speak about marketability, but also how to write a beautifully crafted narrative while still making readers turn pages. Books are available from your favorite indie bookstores, or order from!


Alka Joshi and The Henna Artist: Lit Cast Live Episode 123

Please join us for this vivid and compelling evening with Alka Joshi, author of The Henna Artist, the May selection for Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Book Club. Tune in and learn why Publishers Weekly calls this novel “eloquent and moving,” while Christian Science Monitor highlights its “vibrant characters, evocative imagery, and sumptuous prose.” A portrait of one woman’s struggle for fulfillment in a society pivoting between the traditional and the modern, The Henna Artist takes...


Ishmael Beah and Little Family: Lit Cast Live Episode 122

From the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of the Sierra Leone child-soldier memoir, A LONG WAY GONE, comes this powerful new novel about young people living at the margins of society. LITTLE FAMILY portrays the lives of five youth who have improvised a household in an abandoned airplane, struggling to replace the homes they have lost with the one they have created together. Join us to celebrate release of this remarkable debut work of fiction from Ishmael Beah, whom Vanity Fair has...


Fiction Writing in a Time of Crisis: Lit Cast Live Episode 121

Fiction writers Nayomi Munaweera, R.O. Kwon, Ingrid Rojas Contreras, and host Lauren Markham discuss both the challenges and urgency of fiction writing at this moment in time. How do we write during bleak times, and into the bleakness? How does the loss and grief of our current moment impact what we are writing about, how we write, and who we are writing for? What works or writers are we turning to right now, and how are we finding sustenance there? And perhaps most importantly, where might...


Bring the World into Your Home with World Editions: Lit Cast Live Episode 120

Let's connect our global literary community in a time of closed borders. Hear World Editions authors Adam Dalva, Esther Gerritsen, Adeline Dieudonné, Pierre Jarawan, Sisonke Msimang, and Amin Maalouf read from their works, discuss the current situation in their countries, and talk about what books mean to them during Covid-19. Adam Dalva’s writing has appeared in The New York Review of Books, The Paris Review, Tin House, and The Guardian. He teaches Creative Writing at Rutgers University...


DIY Flash with the Flash Fiction Collective: Lit Cast Live Episode 119

A reading of dozens of tiny stories from micro-fictionistas, including guest readers, plus a discussion of the Art of Flash and prompts—including visual prompts—to write and submit your own, with a selection to be published on the Flash Fiction Collective Facebook page. Author bios: Jane Ciabattari, author of the short story collection Stealing the Fire, writes the Between the Lines column for BBC Culture. She is a former president of the National Book Critics Circle and a member of...


ZYZZYVA 35th Anniversary Issue Release: Lit Cast Live Episode 118

Celebrate ZYZZYVA's 35th anniversary issue with contributors Dave Madden, Lysley Tenorio, Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, and Kristen Iskandrian. Kristen Iskandrian is the author of the novel Motherest (Twelve). Her story “Good With Boys,” which appeared in Issue No. 109, was included in Best American Short Stories 2018. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama, and is co-owner of Thank You Books, a new independent bookstore. Lysley Tenorio is the author of the forthcoming novel The Son of Good Fortune...


William Gibson: Lit Cast Live Episode 117

Booksmith presents visionary novelist William Gibson reading from the sharply imagined sequel to his New York Times bestselling novel The Peripheral. He is in conversation with Mother Jones editor-in-chief, Clara Jeffery. This event was recorded January 23, 2020 at Public Works.


Zora Neale Hurston: Stories from the Harlem Renaissance: Lit Cast Live Episode 116

Co-presented by Litquake and MoAD In honor of the post-mortem publication of Zora Neal-Hurston’s short story anthology Hitting a Straight Lick With a Crooked Stick: Stories From The Harlem Renaissance, we put together a reading at the Museum of African Diaspora here in San Francisco. After reading pieces of their favorite stories from the book, local authors, educators, and activists spoke to a sold out crowd about the legacy of Zora Neale Hurston and how it has influenced contemporary...


Anna Wiener: Lit Cast Live Episode 115

Anna Wiener discusses her new memoir, Uncanny Valley, with author Mike Isaac. This podcast was recorded at Green Apple Books on January 27, 2020


Triple Trouble Queerboy Extravaganza at Wolfman Books: Lit Cast Live Episode 114

Towards the end of 2019, we attended one of the many incredible readings held at Oakland-based Wolfman Books. To celebrate Trebor Healey’s new collection, Falling, we packed in to Wolfman’s 40th street storefront to hear stories that confronted populism, immigration, and queer identity. Supported by intimate tales from Alvin Orloff’s memoir, Disasterama: Adventures in the Queer Underground 1977-1997, and new work from Oakland-based choreographer and poet Brontez Purnell, the night was filled...


The Ego Has Landed: A Closer Look at Uber and Facebook: Lit Cast Live Episode 113

Who doesn't love a glimpse behind the facades of troubled Silicon Valley giants? In the tradition of Brad Stone’s Everything Store and John Carreyrou’s Bad Blood, award-winning investigative reporter Mike Isaac’s Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber delivers a gripping account of Uber’s rapid rise, its pitched battles with taxi unions and drivers, the company’s toxic internal culture, and the bare-knuckle tactics it devised to overcome obstacles in its quest for dominance. Roger McNamee's...


Eureka! California's Best Authors Read by More of the Same: Lit Cast Live Episode 112

Eureka! We did it! From this year’s 20th Litquake festival, we present some of our favorite Bay Area authors reading from THEIR favorite Californian wordsmiths live at the Swedish American Hall in San Francisco. Listen to this festival kick off with a raucous night of readings by Charlie Jane Anders, Natalie Baszile, Elaine Castillo, Ingrid Rojas Contreras, Daniel Handler, Adam Johnson, Chang-rae Lee, Beth Lisick, Ishmael Reed, and Tobias Wolff, presenting from the works of writers who...


Lawrence Ferlinghetti: Lit Cast Live Episode 111

In this very special episode of Lit Cast, we're proud to feature the only recording Lawrence Ferlinghetti reading his original work "Lit.quake?" - plus a few more - at Litquake 2002. Litquake's 20th anniversary festival will take place October 10-19, 2019. For all the latest updates, follow us @litquake on Facebook and Twitter!


Rachel Kushner: Lit Cast Live Episode 110

From the Litquake archives! During our 2018 festival, National Book Award–nominated Rachel Kushner joined Litquake for an evening on her New York Times bestselling novel The Mars Room. This novel tells the story of Romy Hall, who’s at the start of two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility, deep in California’s Central Valley. As James Wood said in The New Yorker, Kushner’s fiction “succeeds because it is so full of vibrantly different stories and histories,...


Julia Flynn Siler: Lit Cast Live Episode 109

Litquake’s proud to present a special episode of Lit Cast Live featuring one of our own, Julia Flynn Siler, in conversation on her newest book The White Devil’s Daughters: The Women Who Fought Slavery in San Francisco’s Chinatown. In a narrative hailed as “eye-opening” by Kirkus Reviews, Siler tells the story of both the abolitionists who challenged the corrosive anti-Chinese prejudices of the time and the young women who dared to flee their fate. She relates how the women who ran the...