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August Calendar: Celebrating The Written Word

by Paul Wilner

The literary life marches on, as local booksellers continue to host their popular online events and begin opening their doors to live audiences. It’s clear the pandemic, and the social conditions preceding it, sparked bursts of creative expression, including new collections by Anthony Veasna So, who, sadly, died at age 28 last December, and Chicano artist and gay activist Jaime Cortez. Here’s a look at the month ahead:


The Glassy, Burning Floor of Hell

Sci-fi bestselling author Brian Evenson is featured in conversation with Sarah Rose Etter, and discusses his latest dystopian thriller, The Glassy, Burning Floor of Hell, featuring a murderous prosthetic leg and “brutal barrow men.”
6 p.m. |


Pilgrim Bell

Poet Kaveh Akbar reads from Pilgrim Bell, his latest collection, in an in-person event (masks required) at Green Apple Books on the Park, 1231 Ninth Avenue, San Francisco. The event will also be streamed via Zoom.
6 p.m. |



Afterparties, Anthony Veasna So’s post humously released story collection about the lives of young Cambodian immigrants dealing with race, sexuality and family, will be honored at a tribute that includes National Book Award recipient Bryan Washington, poet Monica Sok, novelist-graphic memoirist Mira Jacob and Alex Torres. So’s sister, Samantha So Lamb, will read an excerpt from the collection.
4 p.m. |


Unstrung: Rants and Stories of a Noise Guitarist

Guitarist Marc Ribot hits some new notes with an essay and story collection, Unstrung: Rants and Stories of a Noise Guitarist. He’ll be speaking with Elliott Sharp in this online event.
12 p.m. |


Phallacy: Life Lessons From the Animal Penis

Science writer Emily Willingham speaks about her wryly titled Phallacy: Life Lessons From the Animal Penis. Spoiler alert: The organ is not synonymous with dominance and power
7 p.m. |


Paradise: One Town’s Struggle to Survive an American Wildfire

For Kepler’s Literary Foundation, journalists Angie Coiro and Lizzie Johnson will discuss Johnson’s riveting reporting on the 2018 Camp Fire in Paradise: One Town’s Struggle to Survive an American Wildfire, released this month. Johnson’s firsthand account is the call to action the American West needs.
6 p.m. |



Jaime Cortez’s debut short story collection, Gordo, set in a migrant camp near Watsonville in the 1970s and featuring workers seen through the eyes of a young, probably gay boy trying to find his way in the world, has been hailed as “the Winesburg, Ohio of the 21st century” by LitHub, which also declared it “Hands down, top debut of 2021.” Rebecca Solnit does the interviewing honors for this Zoom event.
6 p.m. |

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