Photos by Nora Lowinsky, unless otherwise noted.

SATURDAY MAY 30, 2015, 6PM - 8PM
Keynote Address: Lewis Lapham
Reading Oakland: Stories from our City's Literary Past

SUNDAY MAY 31, 2015

Council Chambers: 11am—12:30pm
Presented by Rick Prelinger and Alex Cruse

Hearing Room 1: 11am—12pm
Bruce Anderson, Frank Bardacke, Joe Paff

Presented by PEN Oakland
Hearing Room 2: 11am—12pm
Judy Juanita, Tennessee Reed, Tony R. Rodriguez, Floyd Salas, Al Young

Presented by Litquake
Hearing Room 3: 11am—12pm
Kim Bancroft, Jerry Cimino, Benjamin Griffin, Steve Lavoie

Hearing Room 4: 11am—12pm
Mark Danner, Anthony Marra, Nayomi Munaweera

Laurel Book Store: 11am—12pm
Ian Davis, Zakiya Harris, Dom Jones, Karen Seneferu

Hearing Room 1: 12:15—1:15pm
Veronica Graham, Benjamin Grant, Pendarvis Harshaw

Hearing Room 2: 12:15—1:15pm
Will Alexander, Greg Mahrer, Tennessee Reed, Matthew Zapruder

Presented by UC PRESS
Hearing Room 3: 12:15—1:15pm
Julie Guthman, Seth M. Holmes, Dana Perls

Hearing Room 4: 12:15—1:30pm
Vikram Chandra, Leo Hollis, Gary Kamiya, Kathryn Myers

Laurel Book Store: 12:15—1:15pm
Molly Antopol, Maria Hummel, Michael McGriff, J.M. Tyree 

Council Chambers 12:45—1:30pm

Hearing Room 1: 1:30—2:15pm
Stacy Carlson, Aleta George, Dorothy Lazard

Hearing Room 3: 1:30—2:15pm
Roger D. Hodge, Linda Norton

Laurel Book Store: 1:30—2:15pm
Rod Campbell, Novella Carpenter, Zac Unger

Council Chambers: 1:45—2:30pm
Adam Johnson, Jenny Offill

Hearing Room 2: 1:45—3pm
Simon Critchely, Mark Greif, Frank B. Wilderson, III

Presented by ZYZZYVA
Hearing Room 4: 1:45—3pm
Paul Beatty, Vanessa Hua, Héctor Tobar

Hearing Room 1: 2:30—3:15pm
Akhil Sharma, Ayelet Waldman

Presented by UC Press
Hearing Room 3: 2:30—3:15pm
Kiera Butler, Anna Lappé, Kim O’Donnel, Naomi Starkman

Laurel Book Store: 2:30—3:30pm
Melanie Abrams, Leslie C. Bell, Tracy Clark-Flory, Maria Dahvana Headley

VOICES: EDWIDGE DANTICAT in conversation with László Jakab Orsós
Council Chambers: 2:45—3:30pm

Hearing Room 1: 3:30—4:30pm
Roger D. Hodge, Clara Jeffery, David Rose

Hearing Room 2: 3:30—4:30pm
Elaine Brown, Astra Taylor, Frank B. Wilderson, III

Hearing Room 3: 3:30—4:30pm
Lance Freeman, Malo André Hutson, Gordon Young

Hearing Room 4: 3:30—4:30pm
Gregory Jordan, Reverend Dr. Harold R. Mayberry

Presented by Mother Jones
Laurel Book Store: 3:45—4:30pm
Jaeah Lee, Lateefah Simon, Ali Winston

VOICES: TRACY K. SMITH in conversation with Matthew Zapruder
Council Chambers: 3:45—4:30pm

Hearing Room 1: 4:45—6pm
Chris Johnson

Hearing Room 2: 4:45—6pm
Kathleen McClellan, Eyal Press, Eric Schmitt

FIGHTIN’ WORDS: PEN Oakland presents Oakland Out Loud
Hearing Room 3: 4:45—6pm
Lucille Lang Day, Judy Juanita, Genny Lim, Ruben Llamas, Floyd Salas

Presented by the Before Columbus Foundation
Hearing Room 4: 4:45—6pm
Lorna Dee Cervantes, David Meltzer, Gundars Strads, Armond White, Shawn Wong

Council Chambers: 4:45—6pm
Simon Critchley, Leo Hollis, Khafre James, Reverend Dr. Harold R. Mayberry, Dashka Slater, Atra Taylor


Children’s Area

11:00—11:30 Oakland Public Library, Reading Favorite Children’s Stories

11:30—12:00 Fairyland Presents: Tweedle-dee

12:00—12:30 Chapter 510: What if an Artist Ruled the World
Chapter 510 and North Oakland Community Charter School students read from What if an Artist Ruled the World/Si un artista dirigiera el mundo

1:00—1:30 Fairyland Presents: Little Miss Muffet

1:30—2:00 Oakland Public Library, Reading Favorite Children’s Stories

2:00—2:30 Fairyland Presents: Tweedle-dee

2:30—3:00 Oakland Public Library, Reading Favorite Children’s Stories

3:00—3:30 Kate Schatz and Miriam Klein Stahl read from Rad American Women A—Z 

3:30—4:00 Fairyland Presents: Little Miss Muffet


11:00—12:00 Oakland Youth Chorus, Miracle Chorus

12:00—1:00 Oakland School for the Arts Classical Guitarist Ensemble

1:00—2:00 HipHop4Change presents: Dizzy, J-Mal, Khafre Jay

2:00—3:00 Oakland Youth Chorus, Concert Chorus

3:00—4:00 DJ Simmons

4:00—5:00 HipHop4Change presents: Breathless, Golden Age, Dom Jones


Sunday May 31, 2015, 8pm
XOXO Nightclub, 201 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607
Performance by Critchley and Simmons

Getting There

Clay Street Garage (1414 Clay St, Oakland) is open and available the day of the Festival for a flat fee of $5 for the day.

You can also reach City Hall by the 12th Street/City Center BART station and AC Transit lines at the 14th Street/Broadway stops.

Keynote Address: Lewis H. Lapham
Saturday May 30th, 6pm to 8pm

Reading Oakland: Stories from our City’s Literary Past
Readings from Gerry Garzon, Dorothy Lazard, Zac Unger
Council Chambers, Oakland City Hall, 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza
Followed by a wine reception

LEWIS H. LAPHAM is the founder and editor of Lapham's Quarterly, and editor emeritus of Harper's Magazine. Lapham was inducted into the American Society of Magazine Editors Hall of Fame in 2007. He is the author of thirteen books, among them Money and Class in America, The Wish for Kings, Waiting for the Barbarians, and Theater of War. His documentary film, The American Ruling Class, has become part of the curriculum in many of the nation's schools and colleges.

Council Chambers: 11am—12:30pm

Join film archivist Rick Prelinger for the East Bay chapter of his acclaimed Lost Landscapes series: a montage of rediscovered and rarely-seen film clips showing the Oakland of yore, captured by amateurs, newsreel cameramen, and industrial filmmakers.

RICK PRELINGER is an archivist, writer, and filmmaker. In 1982, he founded Prelinger Archives, a collection of advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur films acquired by the Library of Congress in 2002. He is an associate professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

ALEX CRUSE (moderator) is a writer, educator, and interdisciplinary artist who lives in Oakland. She has been involved with the Prelinger Archives since the fall of 2012, where she began collaborative work as an analog film archivist. Currently, Cruse is helping to expand Lost Landscapes as both a cultural and philosophical project.

Hearing Room 1: 11am—12pm

Radical, unconventional, and ruthlessly perceptive, Alexander Cockburn was by all measures one of the most influential journalists and caustic commentators of his generation. In this presentation, some of Cockburn’s closest allies, comrades, and friends meet again to pay tribute to his work and indelible intellectual legacy.

BRUCE ANDERSON is owner and editor of the Anderson Valley Advertiser, a community-based newspaper published in Boonville, California.

FRANK BARDACKE is a renowned anti-war activist, historian, the author of Trampling Out the Vintage: Cesar Chavez and the Two Souls of the United Farm Workers, and translator of Shadows of Tender Fury: The Letters and Communiqués of Subcomandante Marcos and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.

JOE PAFF is the board chair of CounterPunch, one of America’s leading political newsletters, published in Petrolia, California.

LEO HOLLIS (moderator) is a writer, historian, and senior editor at Verso Books’ London office. In April 2013, he published Cities are Good For You: The Genius of the Metropolis, which has become an international bestseller.

Presented by PEN Oakland
Hearing Room 2: 11am—12pm

Oakland's long and illustrious literary tradition includes Ina Coolbrith, Jack London, Gertrude Stein, Floyd Salas, and many others. But is Oakland’s current literary scene truly a mirror reflection of Oakland, or is there a growing push by a conglomerate of literary moguls to “Manhattanize” Oakland’s literary culture?­ And is the result diversityor tokenism?

JUDY JUANITA is a novelist, poet, playwright, and former member of the Black Panther Party. Her debut novel, Virgin Soul, is loosely based on those experiences.

TENNESSE REED has authored seven poetry collections, a memoir, and a novel. Tennessee has read her work throughout the Continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, England, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Israel, and Japan. She is the secretary of PEN Oakland and the managing editor of Konch Magazine.

TONY R. RODRIGUEZ writes the column “San Francisco Literary Examiner” for He is a board member of PEN Oakland, a chapter of PEN Center USA, an affiliate of PEN International, and has authored five books, including Under These Stars

FLOYD SALAS is an award-winning author of seven books, including his Oakland-based memoir Buffalo Nickel. He was Regent’s Lecturer at University of California, Berkeley, staff writer for the NBC drama series, Kingpin, and recipient of the California Arts Council, Rockefeller Foundation, NEA, and Eugene F. Saxton fellowships, as well as the Joseph Henry Jackson Award.

AL YOUNG is a poet and novelist. In 2005, he was appointed the Poet Laureate of California. His work has been widely anthologized and translated into many languages. Among Young’s numerous honors and awards are fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, a Wallace Stegner Fellowship, and a Fulbright Fellowship. 

Presented by Litquake

Hearing Room 3: 11am—12pm

The Bay Area's rich literary history is punctuated by iconic movements, world-renowned authors, and world-class lovers of books. Come hear about some of these highlights—from Bancroft Library's Gold Rush beginnings, to the landscape-changing Beat movement, to Mark Twain's literary legacy—from the mouths of experts on these moments in time.

KIM BANCROFT is an author (Literary Industries: Chasing a Vanishing West), academic, and descendent of Hubert Bancroft, a Gold Rush-era bookseller and writer who amassed a monumental collection of books, maps, and documents which now occupy the Bancroft Library.

JERRY CIMINO is the founder and director of the Beat Museum in North Beach, and an expert on all things related to Kerouac, Bukowski, and all the Beats. He founded in 1995, the Beat Museum in Monterey in 2003, and The Beat Museum on Wheels in 2004.

BENJAMIN GRIFFIN is the Editor of the Mark Twain Project at UC Berkeley, coeditor of the second volume of the Autobiography of Mark Twain, and editor of the forthcoming book Mark Twain's Family Sketch and Other Private Writings.

STEVE LAVOIE is a poet (listed in the 2005 International Who's Who in Poetry), the cofounder of the Black Bart Poetry Society, librarian for the Oakland History Room, and host of author events as librarian in charge of the Temescal Branch Library.

JANE GANAHL (moderator) is the author of Naked on the Page: the Misadventures of My Unmarried Midlife. She is the cofounder and artistic director of Litquake and founded the Last Supper Salon in San Francisco.

Hearing Room 4: 11am—12pm

War writing is a form of testimony. In undertaking such work, journalists and novelists alike try to balance the real against the imaginary, while fulfilling their duty to telling the truth. How does one create a compelling and honest narrative out of the hideous and befogged accounts of war? At what point does bearing witness bleed into voyeurism? Panelists will address these and other matters around writing and conflict.

MARK DANNER has written about foreign affairs and American politics for more than two decades, covering Latin America, Haiti, the Balkans, and the Middle East, among other stories. He was for many years a staff writer at The New Yorker and contributes frequently to The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, and other publications.

ANTHONY MARRA is the winner of a Whiting Award, Pushcart Prize, and the Narrative Prize. His first novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, won the National Book Critics Circle’s inaugural John Leonard Prize. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012. He was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, where he teaches as the Jones Lecturer in Fiction. He resides in Oakland, CA.

NAYOMI MUNAWEERA’s novel, Island of a Thousand Mirrors, was initially published in South Asia in 2012. It went on to be nominated for many of the sub-continent’s major literary prizes and won the Commonwealth Regional Prize for Asia. St. Martin’s Press released the novel in America in 2014.

ANASTASIA EDEL (moderator) grew up in the south of Russia during the last years of the Soviet Union and is the author of Past Perfect. She has worked as a fiction translator for Empire Publishing and is a recipient of the British Government Chevening Award.

Laurel Book Store: 11am—12pm

When the mainstream media relinquishes its large-scale opportunity to present images in an artistic and inclusive manner, opting instead for an exclusionary and skewed narrative, how can artists reaffirm their place on this planet in a way that challenges humanity to fight for equity and truth? Four artists will share their answers to this question.

IAN DAVIS is a photographer from Oakland, California. He discovered the world of black and white film in 2001 while using his father’s Pentax K1000. Ian’s work has been featured in the SFMOMA, SF WeeklyDiablo Magazine, and various album covers by independent recording artists across the Bay Area.

ZAKIYA HARRIS is a changemaker working at the intersections of entrepreneurship, education, and creative transformation. Zakiya is a cofounder of nationally recognized projects Impact Hub Oakland, Grind for the Green, Hack The Hood, Earthseed Consulting, and a fellow of Green For All and Bold Food.

KAREN SENEFERU is a self-taught artist that was born and raised in Oakland, California. Senferu created a new art form called Technokisi, which alters and speaks to the ancient form of the Nkisi through a new and innovative work of art. She teaches at Berkeley City College.

DOM JONES (moderator) is an American born African singer/songwriter, emcee/poet, author, orator, and vocal producer from Oakland, California. She has shared stages with Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Goapele, Dead Prez, and President Barack Obama. Dom is the founder of multi-media company Dom Empire and its music subsidiary Dom Jones Music.

Hearing Room 1: 12:15—1:15pm

Lake Merritt, also called "the jewel of Oakland," has been a huge success as a natural and human habitat. What can this urban utopia tell us about how to shape public space?

VERONICA GRAHAM is a graphic designer and illustrator behind the team at Once Upon a Time... Happily Ever After, a three-part public art project centered on Lake Merritt that aims to "reflect the multifaceted nature of Lake Merritt as a place, and underscore the important role it plays in the fabric of the city."

BENJAMIN GRANT is a city planner, urban designer, curator, and lecturer. An East Bay native and Oakland resident, he currently heads SPUR's interagency Master Plan for Ocean Beach. He has developed exhibitions on a range of urban issues, including "Agents of Change," a historical survey of San Francisco urbanism for the opening of the SPUR Urban Center. He has been a lecturer and studio instructor in the graduate program in Urban and Regional Planning at San Jose State University and has taught at the SF Art Institute.

PENDARVIS HARSHAW is a writer, filmmaker, and activist from Oakland, California. His twenty-minute documentary, “TDK-The Dream Kontinues,” tells the story of Mike Dream, the legendary TDK crew, and the current state of graffiti in Oakland. He founded and runs, a place where elder black men can pass their wisdom down to young people.

DASHKA SLATER (moderator) has received a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her articles have appeared in Newsweek, Salon, The New York Times Magazine, and Mother Jones. She has published four children’s books and one book for adults.


Hearing Room 2: 12:15—1:15pm

“Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.” –Rita Dove
Four poets read their work, followed by a discussion with the audience.

WILL ALEXANDER is a poet, novelist, essayist, playwright, visual artist, and pianist. His honors and awards include a Whiting Fellowship for Poetry and a California Arts Council Fellowship.

GREG MAHRER’s work has been published or is forthcoming in The New England ReviewThe Indiana Review, Green Mountains Review, Volt, Colorado Review, and elsewhere. His new collection, A Provisional Map of the Lost Continent from Fordham University Press, is due out in the spring of 2016.

TENNESSEE REED is a poet and memoirist. She grew up in Oakland and attended University of California, Berkeley. Reed is the daughter of Ishmael Reed and writer/choreographer Carla Blank. She serves as secretary of PEN Oakland.

MATTHEW ZAPRUDER is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Come On All You Ghosts, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. His other books include Sun Bear, as well as a book of prose, Why Poetry, forthcoming from Ecco Press in 2016. An assistant professor in the St. Mary’s College of California MFA Program and English Department, he is also editor-at-large at Wave Books. He lives in Oakland, California.

REX WEINER (moderator) is a veteran of the underground press of the 1960s. His first published poem was printed as a rabble-rousing handbill distributed by Up Against The Wall Motherfucker, the Lower East Side SDS street-gang. He was a founding member of the editorial staff of High Times magazine and his articles have appeared in The Paris Review Daily, New Yorker, New York Observer and LA Weekly, with a five-year stint as investigative and feature writer at Variety. Based in Los Angeles, Rex is a frequent reader at Beyond Baroque, the Venice literary center, and on that organization’s board of directors. With LA poetry legend Michael C. Ford, Rex co-created Waiting For Jack, a theatrical celebration of Beat Era poets, produced by Eve Brandstein as part of her Poetry in Motion series. With Jeanne McCulloch, he is cofounder and executive director of the Todos Santos Writers Workshop in Baja California Sur, Mexico.


Presented by UC PRESS

Hearing Room 3: 12:15—1:15pm

Is it local? Is it organic? Such questions are at the heart of the contemporary food movement, which has succeeded in raising awareness about the environmental and economic impact of our food system. And yet, the food movement has done little to bring attention to the exploitative and dangerous labor practices common to all sectors of agriculture. This panel brings together activists and scholars who will discuss what "ethical eating" means when we consider farmworker rights.

JULIE GUTHMAN is a professor of social sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is the author of Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism and Agrarian Dreams: The Paradox of Organic Farming in California.

SETH M. HOLMES is an anthropologist and physician. He received his PhD in medical anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco, and his MD from the University of California, San Francisco. He is Martin Sisters endowed chair assistant professor of public health and medical anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. His most recent book is Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States.

DANA PERLS is currently the food and technology campaigner with Friends of the Earth. She was formerly the Northern California community organizer for Pesticide Watch.

As Council Director of Oakland Food Policy Council, ESPERANZA PALLANA (moderator) has been shaping the movement across the country to transform urban food systems, through local, regional and state policy. In her role, Esperanza works on policies that impact urban agriculture, land access and low capital start ups, healthy school meals and food justice. She works in deep collaboration with stakeholders across sectors and ensures community voice is an active part of policy development. Esperanza brings a focus in environmental health and social justice to her leadership.

Hearing Room 4: 12:15—1:30pm

Brimming with life, overflowing with creativity, ingenuity, and spontaneity, cities are where dreamers, scientists, artists, revolutionaries, slum dwellers, and titans rub shoulders, exchange ideas, and produce culture. This extended panel will be a wide-ranging exploration of the promises, failures, and future of humanity’s greatest invention: the metropolis.

VIKRAM CHANDRA is the author of Geek Sublime: The Beauty of Code, the Code of Beauty and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award (Criticism). He is a senior lecturer at UC Berkeley, where he teaches creative writing. He is married to the novelist Melanie Abrams.

LEO HOLLIS is a writer, historian and Senior Editor at Verso Books’ London office. In April 2013, he published Cities are Good For You: The Genius of the Metropolis, which has become an international bestseller.

GARY KAMIYA was born in Oakland. He was a cofounder and longtime executive editor of His second book, Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco, has been a Northern California bestseller since its publication in 2013. He is currently executive editor of San Francisco Magazine and writes a weekly history column for the San Francisco Chronicle.

KATHRYN MYERS is a painter and professor of art at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. Her video series and website featuring conversations with contemporary artists in India, Regarding India, was initiated during a Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship to India in 2011 and will eventually include over sixty interviews. 

ANASTASIA EDEL (moderator) grew up in the south of Russia during the last years of the Soviet Union and is the author of Past Perfect. She has worked as a fiction translator for Empire Publishing and is a recipient of the British Government Chevening Award.