Local Lit | September’s top five lit(erary) events

This month’s news of noteworthy literary events at local libraries, bookstores, concert halls, performing arts centers, coffee shops, salons and other venues. Happy reading and writing in community with all lovers of literature!


Mrs. Dalloway’s Bookstore | September 14

Herd your kids ages 4-8 into the family vehicle or public transport and come to the independently owned Berkeley bookstore to hang out with a mischievous rabbit, a cranky old lady, and a lovable dog. Mac Barnett & Greg Pizzoli present their newest books, Hi, Jack! and Jack Blasts Off, at this event that requires pre-purchase of either book to reserve a seat. Best-selling Oakland-based children’s book author Barnett and award-winning author/illustrator Pizzoli, who hails from Philadelphia, bring high speed energy and childlike enthusiasm to the family friendly event. Expect even the most reluctant reader to become a Next Gen bibliophile.

Saturday, September 14, 10 a.m., book purchase includes reserved seat, Mrs. Dalloway’s Bookstore, 2904 College Avenue, Berkeley, 510.704.8222, info@mrsdalloways.com

Great Good Place For Books | September 19

Food writer Carolyn Jung and Emily Buysse, owner of Batch Pastries, discuss Jung’s new cookbook, East Bay Cooks: Signature Recipes from the Best Restaurants, Bars, and Bakeries, at Great Good Place For Books in Montclair Village. Jung pays tribute to the East Bay’s culinary treasures while sharing the history and recipes of 80 signature dishes from 40 Bay Area restaurants. From tacos to grits and beyond, learn the inside stories behind local cuisine. The independent bookstore provides a cozy, casual atmosphere to ask questions of Jung, who also writes a terrific online food and wine blog, FoodGal.com.

Thursday, Sept. 19 at 7:00 p.m., Free, (510) 339-8210, 6120 La Salle Ave, Oakland, books@ggpbooks.com

Main Oakland Library | September 24

Author E.R. Ramzipoor studied political science at UC Berkeley. During her time at CAL, she discovered the forgotten story of Faux Soir, an underground resistance movement in the 1940s that sought to undermine Nazi propaganda with a fake version of the regime’s most popular newspaper, Le Soir. Her debut novel, The Ventriloquists, has earned rave reviews from trade publications including Kirkus Reviews and Publishers’ Weekly. Hear her read at Oakland’s main library and purchase a signed copy of the book courtesy of Mrs. Dalloway’s Bookstore.

Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 6:30pm, Free, Oakland Main Library, Bradley Walters Community Room, 125 14th St., Oakland, (510) 238-3134.

Mills College | September 24

Readers who appreciate all genres of literature will want to add to their calendars the Contemporary Writers Series at Mills College. The annual readings and after-talk receptions with established and emerging authors, poets and scholars are produced by graduate students. In September, the free and open to the public series provides access to writers like Wendy C. Ortiz, whose Excavation: A Memoir, Hollywood Notebook, and the dreamoir, Bruja, earned widespread attention and caused Bustle in 2016 to name her one of “9 Women Writers Who Are Breaking New Nonfiction Territory.” Come to the Mills Halls Living Room and find out why Ortiz, a practicing psychotherapist who lives and works in Los Angeles, finds particular reward in writing.

Tuesday, Sept. 24, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m., Mills Hall Living Room, Mills, College, 5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland, 510.430.2255, https://www.mills.edu/academics/graduate-programs/creative-writing-literature/contemporary-writers-series/index.php

Rockridge Public Library | September 21 (and ongoing 3rd Saturdays each month)

If there are going to be new books, there must be writers writing them. Which is why it is essential to have gatherings like the monthly meeting at the Rockridge library of “Writers’ Support and Critique Group: All Writers Welcome!” Aspiring writers not quite ready to join a formal writing club or established writers seeking input from a new audience of peers are asked to bring 5 copies of up to 5 pages (double-spaced, MS margins) of any prose for on-site reading/discussion with fellow writers. Sponsored by the California Writers Club of Berkeley, even people arriving empty-handed are welcome to attend. Who knows? You may be the next Virginia Woolf, Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, Ibram X. Kendi, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Colson Whitehead, Dave Eggers….the list is endless, the sharing always respectful.

Saturday, Sept., 21 (Oct. 19, Nov. 16, Dec. 21, Jan. 18, 2020), 1 p.m. – 5 p.m., Oakland Public Library, Rockridge Branch, 5366 College Ave., Oakland, (510) 597-5017


Have a suggestion to add to the mix? Reach columnist Lou Fancher at writefox@aol.com.

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