Save the Date for March 2nd Yuba Lit

Thursday, March 2nd, 7 p.m., at The Open Book:

RAD DADS!

Featuring Seattle writer Joshua Mohr, whose new memoir SIRENS offers a beautiful portrait of the transforming power of fatherhood and “an entirely candid, compelling memoir of addiction and the long, fraught road of recovery.” (Kirkus Reviews)

AND

Oakland novelist (with roots in Grass Valley) Tomas Moniz, editor of the award winning zine RAD DAD, whose anthology RAD FAMILIES: A CELEBRATION honors the messy, the painful, the playful, the beautiful, the myriad ways we create families by gathering honest stories from a diverse group of parent-writers willing to be vulnerable about their failures and regrets.

These are two dedicated dads and powerful, poignant, funny writers. This is sure to be a RAD Yuba Lit.

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Sold-out House for UNITED WE STAND

Standing room only sold-out crowd for Yuba Lit’s UNITED WE STAND: Writers Respond to Trump!

Yuba Lit stood strong with Writers Resist!

Rousing, inspiring, and searching readings from Angela Sells and Will Dane, Indigo Moor, Sands Hall, Jordan Fisher Smith, and our incredible array of audience flash-readers. Thank you to Angela for bringing James Baldwin’s wisdom back before us, to Indigo for conjuring Yusef Komunyakaa, to Sands for leading us all to sing Woody Guthrie and reclaim “America the Beautiful.” So good to be in community last night. And as many in the audience and behind the mike said, this is just the beginning for those of us–so many of us–who believe in compassion, equality, and justice. As Mary Volmer reminded us: Every. Voice. Counts.

Great thanks to Andrea Roach for these photos:

 

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January 20th Yuba Lit: UNITED WE STAND

Literary writers serve a crucial role in turbulent times, dedicating their work to truth and understanding. As the new president takes office, Yuba Lit is proud to present a special reading with three esteemed authors whose work searches for truth and investigates values threatened by the Trump presidency: diversity, gender equality, care for the environment, religious freedom, and respect for all. Sacramento poet Indigo Moor, Nevada City novelist Sands Hall, and Nevada City environmental writer Jordan Fisher Smith will each share their own work, then offer a passage from a favorite writer sustaining them through this time. The program begins Friday, January 20th at 7 p.m. at The Open Book, 671 Maltman Drive, Grass Valley. Advance tickets are available at this link: https://theopenbook.yapsody.com/event/index/59294/yuba-lit

In addition to these three acclaimed readers, poet/nonfiction writer Angela Sells and Open Book proprietor Will Dane will offer a short dialogue. The evening will also feature flash-readings from audience members whose work responds to the prompt, “AFTER THE ELECTION.” Any audience member who brings a poem or a page they feel responds to that topic will be given a raffle ticket; ten readers will be drawn from the raffle, and given the mike to read their work.

Yuba Lit: UNITED WE STAND starts at 7 p.m. on Friday, January 20th at The Open Book, 671 Maltman Dr., Grass Valley. Fifty percent of the $5-$10 sliding scale cover (no one turned away for lack of funds) will benefit the Southern Poverty Law Center. Sierra Mountain Coffee Roasters will offer coffee, tea, and fresh food for sale. Yuba Lit will serve local wine from Nevada City Winery and Szabo Winery at intermission.

More on Yuba Lit’s UNITED WE STAND Readers:

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SANDS HALL is a writer, theatre artist, professor, and musician. Her work includes the novel, Catching Heaven; a book of writing essays and exercises, Tools of the Writers Craft; the plays Fair Use and Little Women (an adaptation of the Alcott novel); essays and short stories; and a CD of her original songs, Rustler’s Moon. She works with the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, for the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, and spends each fall in Lancaster, PA, teaching English and creative writing at Franklin & Marshall College. The rest of the year she lives in Nevada City, CA. At Yuba Lit, she will read from her feminist novel-in-progress. http://www.sandshall.com

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A former park and wilderness ranger, JORDAN FISHER SMITH is the author of Engineering Eden: The True Story of a Violent Death, a Trial, and the Fight Over Controlling Nature, which was recently long-listed for the prestigious PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. Booklist describes Smith as “a galvanizing storyteller fluent in the conflict between environmental science and politics.” His first book, Nature Noir, was a San Francisco Chronicle Best Books of 2005 pick, and an Audubon Magazine Editor’s Choice. Smith’s magazine work has appeared in TIME.com, Men’s Journal, Aeon, Discover, and elsewhere, and been nominated for awards from the American Society of Magazine Editors and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He lives in Nevada City.

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Sacramento poet and playwright INDIGO MOOR won the Cave Canem prize for his second book of poetry, Through the Stonecutter’s Window. U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey has said of Moor’s first poetry collection, Tap-Root, “These are poems that tremble and ache with urgency as Moor longs for, returns to, leaves behind, and elegizes his South—a landscape of hardship, beauty, work, and the sweet music forged out of survival.” Three of his short plays, Harvest, Shuffling, and The Red and Yellow Quartet debuted at the 60 Million Plus Theatre’s Spring Playwright’s festival. His stageplay, Live! at the Excelsior, was a finalist for the Images Theatre Playwright Award and is being made into a feature film. Moor won the Indiana University Prize for Emerging Writers, and formerly served as Vice President of the Sacramento Poetry Center. He is currently at work on his third collection, In the Room of Thirsts & Hungers.

A community reading series celebrating great writing in the Sierra foothills, YUBA LIT launched September 2015 with a program featuring novelists Joshua Mohr and Christian Kiefer, and poet Molly Fisk. Subsequent Yuba Lits have featured novelists Janis Cooke Newman, Louis B. Jones, and Josh Weil, memoirists Frances Stroh and Cris Mulvey, and poets Indigo Moor and Eugene Berson among many other readers, consistently drawing robust audiences.

Fifty percent of Yuba Lit’s January proceeds benefit the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Yuba Lit is produced and hosted by Nevada City memoirist and fiction writer Rachel Howard and co-produced by poet Angela Sells. If you’d like to volunteer or join our mailing list, please email Rachel at rachel (dot) howard (at) gmail (dot) com. You can learn more about Rachel at http://www.rachelhoward.com.

Yuba Lit’s website is http://www.yubalit.org. You can keep in touch with us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/yubalit.

Thanks to our home venue, The Open Book, and to Sierra Mountain Coffee Roasters. Visit http://www.splcenter.org to learn more about our beneficiary, the Southern Poverty Law Center.

January 20th: Special Yuba Lit: UNITED WE STAND

Dear Friends in literature,

Some of my favorite Yuba Lit moments happen not when the esteemed readers share their work on the stage, but when we—the audience members, the flash readers, the literature-loving community—get to know each other during intermission and after the show.

At the close of November’s Yuba Lit, held a week and two days after the election, an audience member approached to say she was uncomfortable with the plans I’d announced for January’s Yuba Lit: A slate of writers whose readings will uphold values we’ll stand up for during the Trump presidency. These values include diversity, freedom of religion, care for the environment, gender equality, and compassion for all. This audience member worried that such a program would be divisive, and would exclude Trump supporters. She appreciated Yuba Lit and worried that the series should remain apolitical.

As I shared with this audience member, I thought long and hard on her concerns before announcing this program. I’ve continued to think on her concerns since. A number of eternally challenging questions come to mind, ranging from the role of art and literature in society, to where the line should be drawn between reconciliation and appeasement. One thing to me is clear: UNITED WE STAND: Writers Respond to Trump is in spirit an inclusive event, and its values transcend politics. I hope anyone who loves literature and supports diversity, freedom of religion, care for the environment, gender equality, and compassion for all will come.

I could not be more thrilled about our lineup. Please take note, save the date (note: a FRIDAY rather than our usual Thursday, to coordinate with the stellar Sierra Writers Conference), and invite your literature-loving friends:

FRIDAY, January 20th, 7:30 p.m., at The Open Book, 671 Maltman Dr., Grass Valley

A Special Yuba Lit
UNITED WE STAND:
Writers Respond to Trump
FEATURING:
Poet INDIGO MOOR
Novelist SANDS HALL
Environmental writer JORDAN FISHER SMITH
Poet ANGELA SELLS and
Owner of The Open Book, WILL DANE

SPECIAL AUDIENCE FLASH-READING:
Your responses to the prompt, “AFTER THE ELECTION”

$10 at the door; fifty percent benefits the Southern Poverty Law Center.

I hope this evening of thoughtful and thought-provoking readings will serve a dual purpose, helping us to connect and organize in defense of these values, and providing a venue for open-hearted dialogue. As we all know, there is much of staggering consequence demanding daily response. Already Trump has appointed the head of a White Nationalist website as his chief White House advisor. Already he has named a climate change denier and ally of the fossil fuel industry the head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Already groups attacking people of color and Muslims have been emboldened by Trump’s rhetoric—even in our backyard, as evidenced by the letter sent to the Islamic Center of Davis threatening, “He is going to do to you what Hitler did to the Jews.”

Since November’s Yuba Lit, I have thought often about another conversation from that evening. During intermission, a much-appreciated regular attendee gave me a hug, then said she had voted for Trump. We had a difficult, delicate conversation about Trump’s proposal for the government to register Muslims. This audience member supported the proposal; I did not. The discussion was heated. At the end, we were no closer to agreement. But the audience member stayed. Was that conversation a first step towards possible understanding, or futile for us both? I don’t know. But I am grateful to her for staying. At one point she confessed that she had moved from the Bay Area to Nevada County to get away from “certain kinds of people”—people, I deduce, at least in some way like me. I don’t believe we really can “get away from each other.” Nor would I want that. So I am glad that Yuba Lit brought us together.

Whatever our discussions may bring, I have faith in the act of peacefully gathering in the name of all that we love. I believe that literary writers serve a unique role in society, one dedicated to truth and understanding. And I greatly look forward to what these fine writers will share at the next Yuba Lit.

Yours in the love of literature and community,
Rachel

PS: I’d like to pass on a few recent writings and radio shows, several literature-related, that I’ve found useful and eye-opening since the election. If you’d like to send on your favorite post-election readings, I would love to receive them. Reply to yubalit@gmail.com. I will gather all recommended readings—ALL readings, of any political persuasion—into a list to be distributed to the audience on January 20th, and sent in an email to the Yuba Lit list. In this way we can break outside the “siloing into separate fact-universes,” as The Atlantic puts it, that the great majority of us have experienced through Facebook.

Here are some of my favorites:

https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/602/the-sun-comes-up

http://www.zyzzyva.org/2016/11/17/solidarity-a-letter-from-the-editors/#comment-94290

http://lithub.com/poetry-and-poets-in-a-time-of-crisis/

http://www.npr.org/2016/12/07/504486620/reporters-notebook-what-a-muslim-on-the-campaign-trail-in-2016

January Yuba Lit: UNITED WE STAND

Save FRIDAY, January 20, 7:30 p.m. for a Special Yuba Lit

UNITED WE STAND:

Writers Respond to Trump

FEATURING:

Poet INDIGO MOOR

Novelist SANDS HALL

Environmental writer JORDAN FISHER SMITH

Poet ANGELA SELLS and

Owner of The Open Book, WILL DANE

Each will offer a reading upholding the values we cherish and defend in a post-Trump presidency world: diversity, gender equality, care for the environment, religious freedom, respect for all. Each will also offer a passage from a favorite writer sustaining them through this time.

SPECIAL AUDIENCE FLASH-READING:

Your responses to the prompt, “AFTER THE ELECTION”

Let’s come together and find strength in each other.

Suggested donation of $5-$10 at the door;

fifty percent benefits the Southern Poverty Law Center.

November 17th Yuba Lit Features Short Story Writer Vanessa Hua, Memoirist Louise Nayer, and Poet Ingrid Keriotis

Vanessa Hua’s Deceit and Other Possibilities is one of this year’s most anticipated fiction releases, called a “searing debut” by Oprah Magazine and described as “fast-paced, dazzling, smart and fun” by celebrated novelist Gary Shteyngart. From a Hong Kong movie idol fleeing a sex scandal to a Korean-American pastor with a secret agenda, the characters in Hua’s story collection embody the conflict between self and society, tradition and change. Yuba Lit is proud to feature Hua, the winner of a prestigious Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award, alongside San Francisco memoirist Louise Nayer and Grass Valley poet Ingrid Keriotis on Thursday, November 17th, at 7 p.m. at The Open Book, 671 Maltman Drive, Grass Valley.

In addition to Yuba Lit’s three featured readers, audience members are invited to bring a page or a poem for our opening flash readings. Any audience member who brings a poem or a page will be given a raffle ticket; five readers will be drawn from the raffle, and given the mike for three minutes to read their work. The opening flash readings are always a lively highlight of Yuba Lit.

Yuba Lit starts at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 17th at The Open Book, 671 Maltman Dr., Grass Valley. The $5-$10 sliding scale cover (no one turned away for lack of funds), is split 50/50 between benefiting the Bear Yuba Land Trust, and supporting basic operating costs of Yuba Lit. Sierra Mountain Coffee Roasters will offer coffee, tea, and fresh food for sale. An audience Q and A with our readers caps the festive community evening.

More on Yuba Lit’s November Readers:
vanessahua

Bay Area native Vanessa Hua is an award-winning journalist and fiction writer, as well as a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. For nearly two decades, she has been writing about Asia and the diaspora, filing stories from China, Burma, Panama, South Korea, Abu Dhabi, and Ecuador. Her fiction and nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times, New Yorker online, Salon, San Francisco, Washington Post, The Atlantic, ZYZZYVA, and Guernica. She has also written two novels forthcoming from Ballantine.
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Louise Nayer is the author of Burned: A Memoir, an Oprah Great Read, endorsed by Isabel Allende and the winner of the Wisconsin Library Association Award. She has also authored two books of poetry– Keeping Watch and The Houses Are Covered in Sound—and is co-author of How to Bury a Goldfish: 113 Rituals for Everyday Life. Poised for Retirement: Moving from Anxiety to Zen will be published in June 2017. She is a member of the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto where she also teaches memoir writing.
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Ingrid Keriotis’ poetry has recently appeared in Poetry Now and Blue Unicorn. Her poems were also published in the anthology More Than Soil, More Than Sky. Though a native Californian, she received her MFA in Creative Writing from Eastern Washington University. She has been teaching English and creative writing for 16 years, and currently teaches English at Sierra College. A resident of Grass Valley, she is inspired daily by her students, her two daughters, her husband Dimitri, and the incredible Sierra Nevada foothills.

A community reading series celebrating great writing in the Sierra foothills, Yuba Lit launched September 2015 with a program featuring novelists Joshua Mohr and Christian Kiefer, and poet Molly Fisk. Subsequent Yuba Lits have featured novelists Janis Cooke Newman, Louis B. Jones, and Josh Weil, memoirists Frances Stroh and Cris Mulvey, and poets Indigo Moor and Eugene Berson among many other readers, consistently drawing robust audiences.

Fifty percent of Yuba Lit’s proceeds benefit the Bear Yuba Land Trust.

Yuba Lit is produced and hosted by Nevada City memoirist and fiction writer Rachel Howard and co-produced by poet Angela Sells. If you’d like to volunteer or join our mailing list, please email Rachel at rachel (dot) howard (at) gmail (dot) com. You can learn more about Rachel at http://www.rachelhoward.com.

Special thanks to The Open Book, Harmony Books, and Sierra Mountain Coffee Roasters.  Hope you can join us for great live literature at Yuba Lit!

A Lively September Yuba Lit

We had one of our biggest, most enchanting Yuba Lit readings on September 15th–and we had photographer Todd Wahoske to capture it. A full-capacity audience including Nevada City fiction luminaries Josh Weil and Louis B. Jones among many notables. Gripping fiction from Elizabeth Soderstrom, mesmerizing poetry from Eugene Berson, and a compelling family saga from Frances Stroh, who brought actual Stroh’s beer to set the stage for her reading from Beer Money. Please note our next Yuba Lit will be November 17th, with Vanessa Hua reading from her acclaimed debut collection, Deceit and Other Possibilities. And note that thanks to Yuba Lit co-producer Angela Sells, our September Yuba Lit readers are featured in her new zine, Sierra Musings–which is now seeking submissions for its next issue. Reach out to Angela Sells if interested.  Meanwhile, enjoy these photos.

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Fiction luminaries Josh Weil (far right) and Louis B. Jones (center) arrive to listen.

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Frances Stroh reads from her memoir.

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Unprepossessing Eugene Berson entrances with his poetry.

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Fiction writer Elizabeth Soderstrom reads a scene from her novel set in Bostswana.

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Our gallant Yuba Lit bartenders Niel Locke (left) and John Parent serve up Stroh’s Beer.

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Rachel Howard emcees.

 

 

 

 

Save the Date for November’s Yuba Lit

Thursday, November 17th, 7 p.m., at The Open Book:

VANESSA HUA

AUTHOR OF DECEIT AND OTHER POSSIBILITIES

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In her powerful debut story collection, Vanessa Hua, winner of the prestigious Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award, gives voice to immigrant families navigating a new America. From a Hong Kong movie idol fleeing a sex scandal to a Korean-American pastor with a secret agenda, the characters in the collection illustrate the conflict between self and society, tradition and change.

“A searing debut.”

—O, the Oprah Magazine

“Fast-paced, dazzling, smart, and fun, Vanessa Hua’s debut collection illustrates the insanities and heartbreaks on both sides of the Pacific.”

–Gary Shteyngart, author of Little Failure and Super Sad True Love Story

 

Reading with Vanessa Hua:

LOUISE NAYER, author of BURNED: A MEMOIR, winner of the Wisconsin Library Association Award, 2011 and an Oprah Magazine Great Read.

INGRID KERIOTIS, poetry instructor at Sierra College, published in literary magazines such as Quercus Review and the anthology More Than Soil, More Than Sky.

September 15th Yuba Lit Features Memoirist Frances Stroh, Poet Eugene Berson, and Fiction Writer Elizabeth Soderstrom

When Frances Stroh was growing up in Detroit, her family’s Stroh Brewing Company had amassed the largest private beer fortune in America, worth $700 million. But the fortune dissolved in a decade, torn apart by divorce and drugs. Stroh will read from her acclaimed memoir about the family’s decline, Beer Money: A Memoir of Privilege and Loss, at the next Yuba Lit reading on Thursday, September 15th. The program starts at 7 p.m. at The Open Book, 671 Maltman Drive, Grass Valley.

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BEER MONEY: A Memoir of Privilege and Loss is at once a recollection of a city, an industry, and a dynasty in decline, and the story of a young artist who struggles to find her way out of the ruins. Publisher’s Weekly writes, “Stroh’s compelling memoir vividly portrays the aching permanence of loss and the palpability of hope that accompanies starting over.” Reading with Stroh will be Sierra foothills poet Eugene Berson and Nevada City fiction writer Elizabeth Soderstrom.

In addition to Yuba Lit’s three featured readers, audience members are invited to bring a page or a poem for our opening flash readings. Any audience member who brings a poem or a page will be given a raffle ticket; five readers will be drawn from the raffle, and given the mike for three minutes each to read their work. The opening flash readings are always a lively highlight of Yuba Lit.

Yuba Lit starts at 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 15th at The Open Book, 671 Maltman Dr., Grass Valley. The $5-$10 sliding scale cover (no one turned away for lack of funds), is split 50/50 between benefiting the Bear Yuba Land Trust, and supporting basic operating costs of Yuba Lit. Sierra Mountain Coffee Roasters will offer coffee, tea, and fresh food for sale.

More on Yuba Lit’s September Readers:

FrancesStrohAuthorPhoto

San Francisco-based writer Frances Stroh was born in Detroit and raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. She received her B.A. from Duke University and her M.A. from Chelsea College of Art in London as a Fulbright Scholar. She practiced as an installation artist, exhibiting in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and London before turning to writing. Frances is a member of the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. Her work across all media explores issues of identity, point of view, and the mythologies that define us.

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Sierra foothills resident Eugene Berson is working on a collection titled Yuba Grooves. Long active in the Bay Area poetry scene, Berson has published in American Poetry Review, Bastard Angel, Beatitude, Vanishing Cab, Abalone Moon and Referential Magazine and the anthology Honeydew. He has taught poetry workshops in everything from one-room Wyoming schoolhouses to reform schools, Indian reservations, and as a high school teacher in Oakland. He also worked in the trade show industry as a member of Sign Display Union, local 510.

Elizabeth Soderstrom

Nevada City environmentalist Elizabeth Soderstrom is working on her first novel, Malachite Drift, which takes place in northern Botswana in the Okavango Delta, where Soderstrom worked for the State Department and the US Agency for International Development. Soderstrom is a graduate in Creative Writing from Stanford University where she was also the fiction editor of Sequoia, Stanford’s literary magazine. She earned her PhD in Wildlands Research Science from UC Berkeley. Having spent the last 15 years working for environmental organizations, including the Natural Heritage Institute and American Rivers, Soderstrom is now a Program Manager at the Resources Legacy Fund, a foundation that addresses environmental issues.

About Yuba Lit

A community reading series celebrating great writing in the Sierra foothills, Yuba Lit launched September 2015 with a program featuring novelists Joshua Mohr and Christian Kiefer, and poet Molly Fisk. The second Yuba Lit drew more than 65 audience members to hear readings from novelists Janis Cooke Newman, Louis B. Jones, and Amy Rutten, and the third Yuba Lit drew an equally robust audience for poet Indigo Moor, novelist Josh Weil, and memoirist Cris Mulvey.

Fifty percent of Yuba Lit’s proceeds benefit the Bear Yuba Land Trust.

Yuba Lit is produced and hosted by Nevada City memoirist and fiction writer Rachel Howard and co-produced by poet Angela Sells.  If you’d like to volunteer or join our mailing list, please email Rachel at rachel (dot) howard (at) gmail (dot) com.  You can learn more about Rachel at www.rachelhoward.com.

Keep in touch with us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/yubalit.

Thanks to our home venue, The Open Book, and to Sierra Mountain Coffee Roasters. Visit www.bylt.org to learn more about the trail building and conservation efforts of the Bear Yuba Land Trust.

Please join us to celebrate great writing in the Sierras at Yuba Lit!