Have you been feeling the ground beneath you quake? The news may tell you it was the 2.9 earthquake in Morgan Hill, or the 4.5 in Pleasant Hill, but I am here to tell you, “It’s LITQUAKE, baby!”
Litquake debuted in 1999 as, Litstock, a name reminiscent of another movement spearheaded by shared interests. The event consisted of a single day of readings among the evergreens of Golden Gate Park under a blanket of fog. Not long after, it became clear to cofounders Jack Boulware and Jane Ganahl that the San Francisco literary community was jonesing for more. In 2002, the festival expanded, rebranded itself as Litquake and was inaugurated by, American poet and cofounder of City Lights Booksellers & Publishers, Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s reading of his poem “Lit.quake?” (source: https://www.litquake.org/our-mission.html)
This year, Litquake celebrates its 20 th Anniversary connecting writers to their readers and bring together the Bay Area’s literary community for ten full days of events. The festival began, October 10 th , at the glamorous Monroe club in the heart of North Beach with a 1920’s gala. There you could mingle with local authors, publishers and bump elbows with, cofounder, Jack Boulware while ordering the Proofreader (custom cocktail). Buzzed on the atmosphere of banter, laughter, and live jazz, attendees were offered festival guides and a photo op in front of the Litquake backdrop.
The program this year features over two hundred events, consisting of panels, readings, discussions, film screenings, and other themed festivities that encompasses a widespread audience.
- Kidquake and Teenquake brings young adult novelist and children’s book authors together for readings and special events meant to fuel your child’s imagination. This series concludes with a teen writing competition Saturday, October 19 th , during the festivals final festivities, Lit Crawl.
- For the aspiring author, events under the categories of The Art of Writing and The Pursuit of Publishing offer panels of published authors as well as local publishers and literary magazines giving you the best insight on how to perfect the craft.
- Words Around the World is a series of events that epitomizes San Francisco’s claim to being one of America’s original international cities. Join discussions and translated readings by authors from all over the world.
- A series launched by the founder of Craigslist, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, consists of discussions on the enhancement of women’s role in technology, the importance of trustworthy journalism, and the war on immigration, as well as a literary walking tour.
- Litqauke’s 20 in 20 was created in honor of their 20 th anniversary. It is comprised of twenty additional events in twenty cities outside of San Francisco that offer workshops, readings, and discussions. These cities include: Petaluma, San Jose, Marin, Point Richmond, Santa Rosa, Menlo Park, Los Gatos, El Cerrito, Occidental, Davis, Corte Madera, Napa, Penngrove, Half Moon Bay, Fairfax, Santa Cruz, Campbell, Orinda, Stanford, and Novato.
The week is nearly over, but the fun has just begun! Do not miss out on Litquake’s traditional closing event, dubbed the world’s largest literary pub crawl, Lit Crawl. Starting this Saturday, October 19 th at 5pm over one hundred of Litquake’s festivities will take place in San Francisco’s Mission District. Run into ZYZZYVA and Fourteen Hills at Dog Eared Books, or discuss sex and culture at Good Vibrations. All events are free, but don’t forget to donate to the cause. Find and download the map online at http://www.litquake.org and join in the merriment that is San Francisco’s literary community.
Kelly Rota is a fiction editor for Ramblr. She graduated
from SF State with a BA in Fine Arts and double majored
in Creative Writing and Comparative World Literature.
Formally the Editor-in-Chief of Transfer, she now interns
and contributes to The Daily Fandom. When she’s not
having a blast at Litquake you can find her Hosting at