San Francisco Conference Schedule
PART 1 • OCTOBER 4-5, 2013 • Free admission
San Francisco Public Library • 100 Larkin St. • Koret Auditorium
Friday, October 4
1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
The conference opens with a discussion, moderated by Will Hearst, which explores "new publishing" in the Bay Area and beyond. How has, and how is, publishing changing? How might the dynamism in publishing, for good or ill, effect or alter regional distinctiveness when it comes to Bay Area literary production? What works? What doesn't? How can we think of new publishing well beyond easy caricatures of book publishing vs. digital publishing? Is the Bay Area a leader in this arena? Why, how, or why not?
3:30 p.m.-4:15 p.m.
Poet Matthew Zapruder asks Robert Hass and Brenda Hillman if there is a Northern California tradition in poetry and writing? If so, what things make it distinct? And what does it have to do with physical place and geography? Or with historical setting or accident? Or with concepts of redemption, rejuvenation, spiritual or other liberation? Are there neglected and/or misunderstood Northern California poets or poetic traditions? And how might we deepen our understanding of what kind of poetry this region has produced?
4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.
Introduced by the President and CEO of Cal Humanities Ralph Lewin, this free-wheeling conversation between Los Angeles Times book critic (and conference co-organizer) David Ulin and the writer Armistead Maupin will investigate Maupin’s body of work and the general landscape of writing about, in, and on San Francisco in the last several decades.
Saturday, October 5
9:15 a.m.-10:15 a.m.
Moderated by Anthea Hartig, the Executive Director of the California Historical Society, this panel is a wide-ranging discussion about regional literary production beyond the limits of San Francisco but still Northern Californian. How are the life stories of our distinguished panelists (their own and those they unspool in their fiction and non-fiction) inflected or influenced by Northern California? Can we speak of general Bay Area literary production or does the work of these writers insist that we think in different terms about region? What's local, what's regional, what's Californian, and how do we know?
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
How do literary communities arise? How are they sustained? What's the lasting role and influence of single institutions — Stanford's Stegner program, for example — on the region, the state, the nation? How about bookstores, salons, other ways and places in which writers gather, gain support of one sort or another, and do their work? What are the connections — personal, historical, and otherwise—between such places and programs?
1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
Kevin Starr's monumental "Dream Series" is the single most ambitious reckoning of California history ever undertaken. Trained in the American Civilization program at Harvard, Starr is also an astute literary critic and student. This conversation with conference co-organizer William Deverell will explore the meaning, power, and influence of California writers, north and south, then and now, fiction and non.
3 p.m.-4 p.m.
Moderated by poet and literary scholar Dana Gioia, this panel explores landscapes of fantasy and fact in California science-fiction and environmental writing. Ecotopia brought nature and science fiction famously together, but so too have other writers, thinkers, and scholars, including our panelists Kim Stanley Robinson and Ursula Heise. This conversation takes up these themes, in past and present, and with particular focus on the current and former work of the panelists themselves.
4 p.m.-5 p.m.
Moderated by Jane Ganahl, this panel tackles “the city.” What's the enduring power of San Francisco as literary site, trope, problem, puzzle, mystery, icon? The City in fiction, The City in fact: where do they crossover, diverge, collide? Who are the great interpreters of The City then and now? What's right, what's wrong about portrayals? And, as this conference is meant to be the first of two, what questions about San Francisco can we bring to Los Angeles in February of 2014?