The NBCC cocktail party at Zyzzyva's offices on Geary Street in San Francisco on June 15, cohosted by Zyzzyva editor Laura Cogan and managing editor (and NBCC board member) Oscar Villalon, former NBCC president Jane Ciabattari, and NBCC member Tess Taylor, was full of literary buzz. Not to mention tequila, wine, cupcakes, chips, and that potent tipple known as the Zyzzyva (Root liqueur, ginger beer, lemon). There was also talk of the unseasonably warm weather (San Francisco's notorious fog had been absent for a few days and 100-degree temperatures were predicted for some parts of the Bay Area over the weekend).
In a celebratory mood: Mary Jo McConahay, whose book Maya Roads was on the verge of publication at the NBCC/Zyzzyva party last August, had just learned that Maya Roads had been named the Best Creative Nonfiction Book of the Year at the Northern California Book Awards (the announcement came on June 10). Newlyweds Jesette and Surya Kalsi described their literary themed wedding, with Alice Munro and other authors highlighted at each table. Ingrid Rojas, who recently moved to San Francisco from Chicago, talked about her memoir in progress based on her family in Colombia.
Novelist Michael David Lukas and co-host Tess Taylor talked about their writerly coffee shop gatherings in the East Bay. (He's Oakland, she's El Cerrito). Taylor also mentioned her upcoming interview with former NBCC board member/poet Maureen McLane about her new book, My Poets in the Barnes and Noble Review.
Zyzzyva editor Laura Cogan had recently appeared on a panel at the expanded Los Angeles Times Festival of the Book. And there was early notice about several fall events. Tess Taylor announced two NBCC programs she had organized at City Lights, on September 20 and in mid-October during Litquake 2012. Some of those in the room will take part, including Oscar Villalon and John McMurtrie, the San Francisco Chronicle's book editor. Stay tuned.
Meg Pokrass (Blip, Fictionaut Five), who brought along her charming husband, Doug Bond, caught up with several who are part of the “Off the Richter Scale” flash fiction reading she has organized for October 7 at Litquake 2012, including Molly Giles, Frances Lefkowitz, Thaisa Frank (I'm reading, too, as are Pamela Painter and The New School's Luis Jaramillo).
Molly Giles, who won the NBCC's Balakian award, novelist Susanne Pari, and Zyzzyva contributing editor Sam Barry were among those talking about the June 25 memorial organized by Amy Tan and others for Sam's beloved wife Kathi Kamen Goldmark, a founder and guiding light for the Rock Bottom Remainders and longtime Bay Area literary anchor. She will be missed.
Captions for photos below:
1: Michael David Lukas and Tess Taylor
2: Mary Jo McConahay and husband Robert DeGaetano
3: Bridget Quinn, Meg Pokrass, Laura Cogan, Frances Lefkowitz
4: Tess Taylor, John McMurtrie, Holly Jones, Molly Giles, Thaisa Frank, Audrey Ferber
5: Bridget Quinn, Laura Cogan, Taylor Schreiner, Ryan Sloan