Coming Up: NBCC Conversation on Future of Reading at Book Passage in San Francisco

By Jane Ciabattari

National Book Critics Circle Conversation, The Next Decade in Book Culture, at Book Passage, San Francisco

When: November 3, 2010 7 pm

Where: Book Passage, 1 Ferry Building # 42 San Francisco, CA 94111-4231

Is reading on the decline? Many think so. Writers, booksellers, librarians, and reviewers all have a stake in the evolving culture of reading. But no one has more to gain or lose than readers. Join the conversation among stakeholders in an NBCC-sponsored conversation

With moderator Oscar Villalon, NBCC biography finalist Jason Roberts, Meg Pokrass and Michael Lukas.

Moderator Oscar Villalon is a San Francisco writer and critic. The former book editor at the San Francisco Chronicle, his work has been published by the Daily Beast,, VQR, Black Clock, the, and the Los Angeles Times. His reviews also air on KQED's “The California Report.”

Michael David Lukas has been a Fulbright Scholar in Turkey, a late-shift proofreader in Tel Aviv, and a Rotary Scholar in Tunisia. A graduate of Brown University and the University of Maryland, his writing has been published in the Virginia Quarterly Review, Slate, National Geographic Traveler, and the Georgia Review. He has received scholarships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and the Elizabeth George Foundation. His debut novel, “The Oracle of Stamboul,” will be published in February 2011 by HarperCollins. When he isn’t writing, he teaches creative writing to third and fourth graders.

Meg Pokrass writes short short stories and poetry. Her collection of shorts,”Damn Sure Right” will be published by Press 53 in Feb. 2011. She serves as Editor at Large for BLIP Magazine (formerly Mississippi Review) and before that, served for two years for SmokeLong Quarterly. She designs and runs the well loved Fictionaut Five author interview series for Fictionaut. Her work has appeared in close to one hundred online and print publications, including Mississippi Review, Wigleaf, The Pedestal, Keyhole, Annalemma, Mississippi Review, Smokelong Quarterly, elimae, Gigantic, Gargoyle, Prime Number, Women Writers, Istanbul Review, 3AM, Foundling Review, Istanbul Review, Mud Luscious, Juked, Frigg, Wordriot. Meg serves as an online mentor for Dzanc's Creative Writing Sessions. Meg speaks to graduate writing programs about online writing, focusing specifically on how it can lead to book publication. She edits and teaches writing privately in San Francisco. Meg blogs here:

Jason Roberts is the author of “A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History’s Greatest Traveler” (HarperCollins), which was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award, longlisted for the international Guardian First Book Award, and named a Best Book of the Year by the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle and Kirkus Reviews. He is also the inaugural winner of the Van Zorn Prize for emerging fiction writers, sponsored by Michael Chabon, and a contributor to McSweeney’s, The Believer, the Village Voice and other publications. Roberts is currently at work on two books: a nonfiction narrative, centered on the opening of Japan in 1853, and a novel set in Northern California and post-unification Germany. He and his family live in Sausalito.