Local Lit | September’s top literary happenings, workshops, and meetups

Oakland Public Library, Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Performance & Poster Launch | September 4

Join the citywide gathering of young Oakland poets on Facebook Live to celebrate current Laureate competition finalists, along with presentations by 2020 Youth Poet Laureate Greer Nakadegawa-Lee and winning poets from previous years. In partnership with Chapter 510, the organization’s writing and publishing center that brings visibility to Bay Area youth artists, the performance includes readings and serves as testimony to the ongoing effort to foster and encourage youth literacy in Oakland and surrounding communities. Host Monique Nadine Jonath, 2018 and 2019 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Finalist, keeps the attention centered on young people. The program funded by the Friends of the Oakland Public Library awards the winning poet a $5,000 educational scholarship and opportunities to serve as an ambassador for literacy, arts and youth expression.

Sept. 4 at 7 p.m. | Facebook Live | Free | facebook.com/youthpoetlaureate

City Lights on Zoom, Roberto Lovato with Myriam Gurba | September 8

The highly anticipated release of Roberto Lovato’s memoir, Unforgetting, is enhanced in this live stream appearance of the celebrated author in conversation with Myriam Gurba, author of the true-crime memoir Mean, a New York Times editors’ choice. Unforgetting’s subtitle, A Memoir of Family, Migration, Gangs, and Revolution in the Americas, indicates the broad-sweeping, real life story told by Lovato about growing up in 1970s and 80s San Francisco while MS-13 and other notorious Salvadoran gangs were forming in California. As the child of Salvadoran immigrants, Lovato lost friends, suffered physical and emotional violence—from gangs, but also within his family—and chose human rights advocacy, activism and journalism as paths leading forward. While continually processing his trauma, he writes and speaks of political and family histories that through “unforgetting,” might bring hope and healing.

Sept. 8 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm | Free | www.citylights.com/info/?fa=event&event_id=3681

Babylon Salon Fall Performance | September 12

Co-hosted by Marcus Books, the United States’ oldest Black-owned independent bookstore, this one-hour reading showcases three outstanding Black authors. Faith Adiele (The Nigerian-Nordic Girl’s Guide to Lady Problems and Meeting Faith), Sheree Renee Thomas (Nine Bar Blues: Stories and Shotgun Lullabies) and Hope Wabuke (her, The Leaving; Movement No.1: Trains) are joined by folk/pop/soul musician Charles Peoples III (Chasm Vol. I). Among them, the award-winning writers are also active as educators, editors, poets, live storytellers, television narrators and cultural spokespersons offering multi-genre, multigenerational, multiracial perspectives on contemporary life. It’s a rare opportunity to see these Black voices in concert and enhanced by the progressive soul sound track of Charles Peoples III.

Sept. 12 from 5:00 – 6:00 pm | Free | Register HERE | More info at www.babylonsalon.com

Mrs. Dalloway’s presents Zach Norris and Rosemarie Day | September 16

The pandemic’s effect on communities of color and lower income communities is undeniable. Community leader and Oakland lawyer Zach Norris is author of We Keep Us Safe: Building Secure, Just, and Inclusive Communities and the executive director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. Massachusetts-based Rosemarie Day, author of Marching Toward Coverage: How Women Can Lead the Fight for Universal Healthcare, is the founder and CEO of Day Health Strategies, a national health reform organization. Together, Norris and Day guide a Zoom audience to discover new approaches to civic engagement, violence prevention, juvenile justice, reductions in police brutality and shifting economic resources away from punishment to opportunity. Their books provide takeaway insights on how to achieve improved, equitable health care, housing, education and job security for everyone in America.

Sept. 16 from 4:00 – 6:00 pm | Free | More info at mrsdalloways.com/events/zach-norris-and-rosemarie-day-virtually

Writer As Fearless Citizen: Workshop Featuring Cheryl Strayed | September 26

The all-day workshop/webinar is a benefit for which a minimum twenty-five percent of the net profit proceeds is directed to the Black Lives Matter movement via the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The morning session has participants exploring a writer-citizen’s responsibilities, privileges, opportunities and “warmup” techniques with memoirist, novelist, and nonfiction writer Albert Flynn DeSilver. Following a one-hour lunch break, Strayed, the author of Wild, Tiny Beautiful Things and Torch, leads writing exercises, a lecture/talk including interactive discussion and Q&A. The last 30 minutes of the workshop is reserved for closing remarks. As this is a ticketed event, reservations are encouraged.

Sept. 26 from 10:00 – 3:30 pm | $249 | Register online HERE | Learn more at www.albertflynndesilver.com

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