Literary Death Match tonight

If you think writers are full of it, this is the event to attend, because rarely does the evening end without at least one writer suffering some form of public humiliation. Tonight, I just hope it’s not me. To read more about the format and the chilling Death Match finale, go here.

Tonight’s Literary Death Match is also a launch party for Issue 8 of Opium Magazine. It’s happening at the Elbo Room, 647 Valencia St. Doors open at 6:30, and the show begins at 7:15.

Who’s in the face-off: Katharine Noel (Halfway House), Eric Puchner (Music Through the Floor), KM Soehnlein (The World of Normal Boys), Jim Nelson (representing Instant City), and yours truly. How it works: there are two rounds in which readers go head to head, followed by the infamous finale: an as-yet-undisclosed non-literary contest between two finalists, often involving feats of physical strength.

Who’s judging: Ayelet Waldman (Bad Mother), Josh Kornbluth (Haiku Tunnel), and Peter Sinn Nachtrieb (T.I.C.–Trenchcoat in Common). How judging works: readers are evaluated on literary merit, style, and intangibles. I do hope Ayelet is judging style, because this woman knows her boots.

Cost: $10 includes an issue of Opium 8. The event is hosted by Todd Zuniga & Alana Conner.

Read More

Briefly in Britain

The current issue of UK’s Star Magazine features No One You Know, and gives it four (out of five) stars. Gotta love British brevity. The review in its entirety reads:

When Lila is violently murdered, her sister Ellie doesn’t know where to turn. Years later, off the beaten track in Nicaragua, she meets the man accused of the murder. Maintaining his innocence, he gives her Lila’s diary, leaving Ellie to unravel the mystery of her sister’s life.

Read More

Do You Have Stockpile Syndrome?

I was at Walgreen’s yesterday when I overheard a man at the pharmacy counter asking for face masks. “This is our last box,” the pharmacist said. The man glanced around to see if anyone was looking. I swear he gave me the evil eye right before he snatched the box from the pharmacist’s hands and hid it in his basket.

Despite reading that the masks may be pointless, I’d already looked for them. Out of a mild sense of self-respect, I had refrained from actually asking for them. Now, apparently, it was too late. If swine flu swept the city, my family would be mask-less. (more…)

Read More

Two From the World of Ink

I met Georges and Anne Borchardt at Sewanee Writers’ Conference in 2003. The couple co-founded their literary agency in 1967, and are known for introducing American audiences to the work of Roland Barthes, Samuel Beckett, Pierre Bourdieu, Marguerite Duras, Franz Fanon, Michel Foucault, Eugene Ionesco, Jacques Lacan, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Elie Wiesel.

When we met, I’d just had my first novel published with San Francisco independent MacAdam/Cage (sans agent) and was looking for representation. Jill McCorkle, a faculty member at the conference, read a chapter of the novel I was working on and set up a meeting. Many of the other fellows were going spelunking, but I skipped the cave trip and met the Borchardts on the little patio behind the apartment where they were staying. We talked for a while–about books, writing, my background and interests, my novel-in-progress. I immediately felt a connection with them. I liked their calmness, their magnetic presence. One had the feeling of being in the company of extraordinarily sharp and sensitive literary minds (more…)

Read More