BABF University

Talks on Craft and the Industry for Aspiring Writers

Ep. 1 – Pep Talk for Writers

Grant Faulkner, Brooke Warner

A must-listen for anyone who believes they have a book in them: National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) Executive Director Grant Faulkner appears in person with coach and publisher Brooke Warner to discuss turning inspiration into a tangible product.

Ep. 2 – Writing and Risk: A Conversation with Laleh Khadivi and Michael David Lukas, University of San Francisco MFA in Writing

Laleh Khadivi, Michael David Lukas, moderated by Bich Minh Nguyen

The process of writing something daring doesn’t end with publication — authors have to live with the consequences of taking these risks, personally and socially. These panelists invite audience members to ask their own risky questions. Sponsored by the University of San Francisco, MFA in Writing Program.

Ep. 3 – Translating Trauma

Katherena Vermette, Winnie M. Li, moderated by Natasha Singh

These writers showcase the art of writing trauma — one focusing on Native women and the other inspired by her own experience as a survivor of assault. With the support of the Consulate General of Canada, San Francisco/Silicon Valley.

Ep. 4 – The Art of Memoir: A Story That Must Be Heard

Francisco Cantu, Julie Lythcott-Haims, Elizabeth Rosner, moderated by Marie Mockett

Memoir writers have the especially challenging task of confronting their own past and creating themselves as a character. In their memoirs, these writers address the U.S. Border Patrol, the experience of Holocaust survivors and growing up mixed-race in America.

Ep. 5 – The Book Review: Top Reviewers Share How It’s Done

Lydia Kiesling, Paul Laity, John McMurtrie, Ismail Muhammad, moderated by Jane Ciabattari

These esteemed reviewers take us inside the process: Lydia Kiesling, editor of The Millions; Paul Laity, non-fiction reviewer at The Guardian; Ismail Muhammad, reviewer for The Millions and contributor to Slate and the Paris Review; and Jane Ciabattari, BBC reviewer and former president of the National Book Critics Circle.

Ep. 6 – The Modern Writer’s Practice, Presented by California College of the Arts

Faith Adiele, Tonya Foster, Aimee Phan, Leslie Carol Roberts, moderated by Tom Barbash

Writers shoulder a responsibility as voices for their time. Faculty members from CCA’s MFA in Writing program, spanning travel, memoir, fiction and poetry, interrogate the role of creative practice in the 21st century. Sponsored by the California College of Arts MFA in Writing Program.

Ep. 7 – The Future of Publishing

Emily Bell, Niels Hooper, Elaine Katzenberger, Avalon Radys, moderated by Brooke Warner

An informed, freewheeling discussion for aspiring and published authors and anyone curious about the state of book publishing. Panelists represent the many faces of publishing — from big house to small, university press to hybrid, traditional and non-traditional alike.

Ep. 8 – How Stories Make the World

Joyce Carol Oates, Scott Saul, Ismail Muhammad, Anthony Marra, moderated by Joe Di Prisco

These titans of storytelling discuss the power stories have to galvanize the world, create cultures and bind us all together. Sponsored by UC Berkeley Arts + Design and the Simpson Family Literary Project.

Ep. 9 – Viet Thanh Nguyen on Art and Politics

Viet Thanh Nguyen interviewed by Karen Tei Yamashita

This Pulitzer Prize winner and MacArthur awardee talks about the role of the writer in society, the importance of art to politics and the power of the written word. Sponsored by UC Berkeley Arts + Design.

Ep. 10 – Lidia Yuknavitch in Person: On Fearlessness, Truth, and Misfits

Lidia Yuknavitch, interviewed by Daphne Gottlieb

A call for authenticity in life and literature: The author of the award-winning speculative feminist novel “The Book of Joan” and the hypnotic memoir “The Chronology of Water” and selfproclaimed “misfit” has penned a book, enhanced by interviews, called “The Misfit’s Manifesto.”

Ep. 11 – My Literary Friend: Dani Shapiro and Hannah Tinti Talk

Jack Kornfield, Wes Nisker

Art never occurs in a vacuum. Author and editor Hannah Tinti talks with bestselling author Dani Shapiro about mentorship, literary friendships and the surprising joys and hard truths of living the writer’s life. Sponsored by One Story.

Ep. 12 – Walter Mosley — Walking the Wild Side

Walter Mosley in conversation with Laurie R. King

With 55 critically acclaimed books, Mosley is one of America’s best-known and most beloved living writers across many genres. Learn how Mosley crafts his trademark accessibility and creates narratives that both entertain and instruct. Sponsored by Northern California Chapter, Mystery Writers of America.

Ep. 13 – Thrillers: Secrets of the Craft

John Lescroart, Thomas Rydahl and Bradley Spinelli, moderated by Keith Raffel

Three bestselling authors reveal the essential ingredients for writing a captivating thriller. Sponsored by the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, the Danish Arts Foundation, the Royal Danish Embassy, and Mystery Writers of America, Northern California Chapter.

Ep. 14 – The Mastery of Mystery: Making a Great Whodunit

Wendy Hornsby, Ellen Kirschman, and Vidar Sundstøl, moderated by Steve Hockensmith

Four established authors take the mystery out of writing mysteries in this lively conversation spanning the globe. Whether inspired by real life, folklore, deeply-hidden family secrets or humor, these mystery writers will clue you in. Sponsored by the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, Mystery Writers of America, Northern California Chapter, the Norway House Foundation, and NORLA – Norwegian Literature Abroad.

Ep. 15 – First Books: What It Took to Get There

Colin Barrett, Jonas Lüscher, Pajtim Statovci, Aura Xilonen, moderated by Joan Frank

There’s a book in all of us, but what does it take to get it out into the world? Hear four successful authors’ expert advice. They come from Ireland, Switzerland, Finland and Mexico, and all saw publication in their home countries and the United States. Sponsored by the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, the Consulate General of Switzerland in San Francisco, Culture Ireland, FILI – Finnish Literature Exchange, Finlandia Foundation National, Pro Helvetia, the Consulate General of Mexico in San Francisco and the State of Jalisco.

Ep. 16 – Imagining the Other: Using Fantasy to Build Empathy

Randy Henderson and Erika Lewis, moderated by Ellen Klages

You’ve no doubt heard the adage, “Write what you know,” but what if you want to write about aliens, dragons, wizards or people from an entirely different culture? Three writers debunk the myth that “knowing” trumps all.

Ep. 17 – Which Side Are You On? Loyalty in Fiction

Christian Kiefer, Lauren Wilkinson, Takis Würger, moderated by Frances Dinkespiel

These authors create worlds where secrets bubble just under the surface and protagonists must ask themselves who to believe and who to blame. With the support of “Wunderbar Together,” initiated by the German Federal Foreign Office and the Goethe Institut, and supported by the Federation of German Industries (BDI); the Goethe- Institut San Francisco and “Books First.”

You’ve no doubt heard the adage, “Write what you know,” but what if you want to write about aliens, dragons, wizards or people from an entirely different culture? Three writers debunk the myth that “knowing” trumps all.

Ep. 18 – A Conversation with Literary Legend Ann Beattie

Ann Beattie interviewed by Carol Edgarian

Ann Beattie is known for casting a gimlet eye on her generation’s ambivalence and ambition. “A Wonderful Stroke of Luck,” her 21st book, explores the complicated relationship between a charismatic teacher and his students and the secrets people keep from those they love. She’ll talk with her friend Carol Edgarian, author, publisher and cofounder of Narrative. With the support of Women Lit Members.

Ep. 19 – Critic’s Choice: Three Young 21st Century Writers Rocking the Literary World

Jamel Brinkley, R.O. Kwon, Namwali Serpell, moderated by Jane Ciabattari

The former president of the National Book Critics Circle talks with Bay Area authors you won’t want to miss: a National Book Award finalist for a poignant collection of short stories, a debut author who ignited the book world with her incendiary first book and another debut author who clinched the Caine Prize for African writing.

Ep. 20 – No Happy Endings, No Easy Answers: Seeking Truth Through Trauma

Lacy Johnson, Devi Laskar, Kiese Laymon, moderated by Sonya Shah

How do we reckon with what haunts us most? These writers pick apart trauma to understand its source, pushing past reductive conclusions and condemnations in pursuit of a fuller truth. Moderated by associate professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) and a facilitator of restorative justice. Sponsored by the California Institute of Integral Studies.

Ep. 21 – A Celebration of The Paris Review

Franny Choi, R.O. Kwon, Kiese Laymon, Emily Nemens, moderated by Christian Kiefer

Known for promoting new talent alongside established voices, The Paris Review publishes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, graphic literature, interviews and more in its bound quarterly issues and online Paris Review Daily. We’re joined by its new editor in a roundtable led by the magazine’s West Coast editor along with contributors. Co-presented with The Paris Review.

Ep. 22 – San Francisco State University MFA Program Presents: Who’s Got The Power?

Nona Caspers, May-lee Chai, Michael David Lukas, moderated by Carolina De Robertis

Let’s talk about power: who has it, how it flows and how it shapes the stories we write in overt and hidden ways. Novelists from the San Francisco State University MFA program investigate how power shows up in their work and in their own writing practices. Sponsored by the San Francisco State University MFA Program.

Ep. 23 – A Stranger’s Journey: Race, Identity, and Craft

Camille Acker, Dickson Lam, Ismail Muhammad, David Mura, moderated by David Roderick

To write race and ethnicity well, we need the right tools and the right reading list. Join four writer-teachers of color as they unpack the questions of identity that drive their writing, mark the pitfalls of self-exotification and weigh the rewards of penning richer, riskier work.

Ep. 24 – A Conversation with Tayari Jones

Tayari Jones interviewed by Brooke Warner

Tayari Jones can “touch us soul to soul with her words,” said Oprah, who dubbed Jones’ newest novel a Book Club pick for 2018. In her work, Jones takes the scars of the American South, including traumas around wrongful incarceration, and rubs them raw. She is interviewed by Brooke Warner of She Writes Press. Sponsored by She Writes Press; also with the support of Women Lit members.

Ep. 25 – University of San Francisco MFA in Writing Presents: Impossible Choices and Unspeakable Acts

Kirstin Chen, Ingrid Rojas Contreras, Nayomi Munaweera, moderated by Beth Nguyen

These novelist-teachers from the University of San Francisco MFA in Writing program dig into the challenges of writing characters haunted by their pasts. They share the narrative tools they use to push their characters to the very edge and keep the reader turning the page. Sponsored by the University of San Francisco MFA in Writing program.

Ep. 26 – Courage in Publishing in an Age of Political Polarization

Kwame Anthony Appiah, Jane Ciabattari, John Freeman, Carlos Lozada, Michael Naumann, Emily Nemens, moderated by Cherilyn Parsons

This roundtable includes the New York Times Ethicist columnist, the former National Book Critics Circle president, the Freeman’s literary journal editor, a Washington Post book critic, the German secretary of culture and The Paris Review’s editor. With support from “Wunderbar Together,” initiated by the German Federal Foreign Office and the Goethe-Institut, and supported by the Federation of German Industries (BDI).