Women Lit Video Gallery

For a collection of all of our videos, go to our video directory.

Women Lit Podcasts

An evening with Terry Tempest Williams at the Northbrae Community Church in Berkeley, October 17, 2019

Candace Bushnell at the The Commonwealth Club, October 1

Jennifer Weiner at the David Brower Center, June 22

Brunch with Jennifer Weiner at the The Pines, June 22
Women Lit members and guests enjoyed an elegant, private champagne brunch at The Pines in Sausalito with author Jennifer Weiner celebrating her new novel “Mrs. Everything.”

Eve Ensler at the First Congregational Church Berkely, June 13

Rachel Cusk at the David Brower Center, April 7
Rachel Cusk comes to Women Lit from the UK to talk her masterpiece “Outline” trilogy in honor of the third book’s paperback release. She talks with Brooke Warner, publisher of She Writes Press.

Gloria Steinem and Faviana Rodriguez at The Castro Theatre, February 21

Feminist icon Gloria Steinem talked with artist and activist Faviana Rodriguez in a cross-generational, humorous, educational, and warm conversation. Lauren Schiller, host of Inflection Point from KALW, moderated the conversation.

Khalida Brohi at the Women’s Building in San Francisco, December 13

Private Salon with Khalida Brohi in San Francisco, December 14

Women Lit members at the Fearlessness level and higher sat down to a Pakistani feast with international activist and author Khalida Brohi the night after her successful talk at the Women’s Building in San Francisco. This intimate evening included drinks, free-flowing conversation with the warm-hearted author, and a moderated discussion about Brohi’s book, her childhood in tribal Pakistan, and her global quest to speak up for women.

Rebecca Traister at the Berkeley City Club, October 2018

We packed Berkeley City Club in this beyond-sold-out talk by feminist spark plug Rebecca Traister. She spoke with Lauren Schiller, host of the podcast Inflection Point, about how to use women’s anger to make change happen. Audience members got the chance to ask Traister questions following the talk, and she signed books at the end of the evening.

Private Salon with Jasmin Darznik in Sausalito, August 17

Women Lit members at the Fearlessness level and higher got the chance to hear from Jasmine Darznik, author of the gorgeous novel “Song of a Captive Bird.” Darznik’s novel was called “an ode to female creativity under a patriarchy that repeatedly tries to snuff it out” by the New York Times Book Review. Salon participants heard groundbreaking poetry, delighted in Persian delicacies and themed cocktails, and engaged with one another about how to be daring women.

Private Salon at 4th annual Bay Area Book Festival

Saturday’s Festival activities rounded out with a packed private salon at the top of the Hotel Shattuck, where Women Lit members had an animated Q&A with two fantastic women. Norwegian medical student Ellen Stokken Dahl, who co-wrote the book on the female anatomy, “The Wonder Down Under,” answered guests’ questions about aging, sexual health, and pleasure. Novelist and sexual assault survivor Winnie Li, author of “Dark Chapter,” chatted with the audience about trauma, healing, and finding strength in womanhood.

Women Lit Presents Leila Slimani, April 2018

On April 8th, the Festival welcomed Leila Slimani, winner of the Prix Goncourt in France, to discuss her novel The Perfect Nanny (translated by Sam Taylor) at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

Women Lit Launch Event at The Pines, Sausalito, January 2018

More than 100 women gathered at The Pines, a restored Victorian mansion in Sausalito, for the kick-off event for Women Lit. Festival founder and director Cherilyn Parsons unveiled the name “Women Lit” and the society itself, and authors Sylvia Brownrigg, Joyce Maynard and Sarah Manyika gave short readings and a conversation followed by questions from the audience.

Women Lit at the Women’s March in San Francisco, January 2018

Our favorite sign among the several we brought: “Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.” — Audre Lorde

  • Mystery, Crime & Thrillers
  • Women/Gender

Women Lit and Sausalito Books By the Bay Present: The Mysteries of Being Human, with Award Winning Author Heather Young

Heather Young in conversation with Cheryl Popp

Wednesday, September 1, 2021


The San Francisco Chronicle called Heather Young’s The Distant Dead, a gripping coming-of-age thriller newly out in paperback, “a breathtaking read, with flawed and authentic characters who hit so close to home that at times it is impossible not to root for them.”  Young is a maestro of suspense—the murder mystery at the heart of her haunting debut, The Lost Girls, was deemed “as shocking as anything you’re likely to read for a good long while” by The New York Times—but what her work really uncovers, in poignant and unforgettable prose, are the mysteries of being human: the psychological intricacies of relationships, families, pasts, and personal demons.

What’s not fraught with suspense? The likelihood of having a wonderful time getting to know Heather’s work and writing process at this event, held at one of the prettiest and most beloved indie bookstores in the Bay. This conversation between Heather and Cheryl Popp, owner of Sausalito Books by the Bay, is part of the Bay Area Book Festival’s year-round Women Lit series, and Women Lit members can enjoy 10% off the purchase price of The Distant Dead. To get in on the fun, find out how to join Women Lit hereOr just show up and have a blast: whether you’re a part of Women Lit or not, this conversation is open to everyone who loves great literature spiced with a little (or a lot) of page-turning intrigue.

In the interest of public health and safety, all attendees must be fully vaccinated. Upon entry, you will be asked for proof of vaccination (either with a physical vaccination card, or a digital version on your phone). 

  • 2021
  • Free
  • International
  • Literary

Splitting the World Open: An International Roundtable of Dangerous Women Writers

Avni Doshi, Maaza Mengiste, Alia Trabucco Zerán, moderated by Karen Phillips

Sunday, May 9


In 1968, poet Muriel Rukeyser famously wrote, “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” More than half a century later, women themselves feel split into a million pieces. This past year has been especially challenging for women, typically society’s primary caretakers. Indeed, mothers have been carrying an especially heavy load. Speaking one’s truth is hard when you’re totally exhausted.

So what better Mother’s Day gift for women (and all who love them) to spend an hour, free of charge, with three brilliant female authors, writing from and about multiple corners of the globe—India, the Middle East, North Africa, South America, the United States—with woman-focused stories? And these aren’t just any stories: the work of all three novelists was shortlisted for the Booker Prize or the Booker International Prize, the most prestigious literary awards in the world.

In Burnt Sugar, Dubai-based Indian author Avni Doshi explores the intimate dynamics of mother-daughter conflict and postpartum depression with an ambivalence and caustic wit that ruffled some feathers. It’s that fearless artistry that landed her on the 2020 Booker Prize shortlist with Ethiopian-American novelist Maaza Mengiste, whose novel The Shadow King (“a masterpiece,” said the Washington Post) features a female soldier fighting fascism during Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia. The story is inspired by the author’s great-grandmother, one of those women who, in Mengiste’s words, “stepped forward out of the shadows and made themselves known.” Chilean author Alia Trabucco Zerán, trained as a human rights lawyer before turning to literary work, wrote The Remainder, a finalist for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize, to delve into the legacy of Chile’s military dictatorship. Her new novel, Las Homicidas, to appear in English translation in 2021, explores an arguably even more dangerous topic: how rage against injustice can be so profound that it drives some women to kill, and how that rage, as with the frustrated anger of any oppressed group, is often minimized and deflected.

This conversation offers a Mother’s Day like no other! The event is co-presented by Words Without Borders and moderated by Karen Phillips, its executive director. Words Without Borders expands cultural understanding through the translation, publication, and promotion of the finest contemporary international literature.


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This event is also part of the Festival’s Women Lit series

Sponsored by

  • 2021
  • Fiction
  • Free
  • Literary
  • Women/Gender

Epicenter of Girlhood: Carol Edgarian and Vendela Vida on Coming of Age in San Francisco

Carol Edgarian and Vendela Vida, moderated by Cherilyn Parsons

Tuesday, May 4


From the Barbary Coast to the Summer of Love to the tech takeover, San Francisco has always been a city in flux, a writer’s dream, and a favorite setting for literature. Its boom-and-bust drama and breathtaking beauty also make it a perfect backdrop for coming-of-age stories: especially ones about girls who can’t be pigeonholed.

Who better to chronicle the city’s growing pains—and those of two unforgettable teenage women—than two leading ladies of the Bay Area literary scene? Carol Edgarian, publisher of Narrative Magazine, has delivered “that rare novel you’ll want to buy for loved ones” (Andre Dubus III) with Vera, a pulse-pounding, often hilarious saga of a fierce 15-year-old, the daughter of a bordello owner, amidst the 1906 earthquake and fires. (Nob Hill, Pacific Heights, Market Street, the longed-for “fire escape” ferry to Oakland—they’re all here.)

We wonder what Vera would have to say to Eulabee, the protagonist of Vendela Vida’s funny, poignant We Run the Tides, who comes of age during the pre-tech-boom days of the 1990s (Eulabee haunts “Sea Cliff,” China Beach, the Haight). Vida, co-founder of The Believer magazine, 826 Valencia, and other Bay Area literary institutions, puts Eulabee squarely in the middle of a web of lies instigated by her fabulously-named friend Maria Fabiola, a social climber (also very San Francisco).

Whether you know San Francisco or not, whether you long for its “good old days” or still find it magical, these stories and this conversation, part of the Festival’s “Writer to Writer” series, will hit home for anyone who has undergone the harrowing journey of growing up.


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This event is also part of the Festival’s Women Lit series

Sponsored by

  • Literary
  • Women/Gender

Women Lit #UNBOUND Presents: Secrets and the Search for Self: Alka Joshi on The Henna Artist

Alka Joshi in conversation with Cherilyn Parsons

Thursday, April 8


At 62, debut novelist Alka Joshi shattered literary glass ceilings with The Henna Artist, the “eloquent and moving” (Publishers Weekly) story of a 17-year-old girl who, after fleeing a dark past, finds herself a highly coveted henna artist (and secret confessor) to the wealthy upper-caste women of 1950s Jaipur.  A New York Times bestseller and instant book-club favorite, this tale lifts the veil on a rarefied, fascinating world, fraught with more intrigue and whisper campaigns than the court of Versailles, with a heroine whose shrewdness and vulnerability are poignantly relatable.  Said actress and bibliophile Reese Witherspoon, who chose it for her book club, The Henna Artist “captivated me from the first chapter to the final page.”

Women Lit is presenting this exciting first-time novelist and her hypnotic debut with the Sausalito Woman’s Club and Sausalito Books by the Bay for an exclusive, members-only opportunity. If you’re not yet a Women Lit member, sign up below and don’t miss your chance to ask Joshi about crafting a remarkable world, the surprise of taking the book world by storm with her first novel, and making compulsively readable literary magic.

Event Details

Each ticket includes private access to the event recording for 10 days following the live event. All copies will be shipped by Sausalito Books by the Bay starting April 6. Signed bookplate copies are limited and we can only accept book orders that ship within the United States.

Presented in partnership with:

  • Spirituality
  • Women/Gender

Women Lit #UNBOUND Presents: Following the Joy with LaRayia Gaston

Tuesday, March 16



When LaRayia Gaston was a child, her mother told her “I don’t care what you do; you just have to do your part.” It was a directive LaRayia took to heart, touching thousands of lives in the process. With her debut book, Love Without Reason: The Lost Art of Giving a F*ck, this firebrand activist, visionary, and documentarian offers a powerful antidote to the culturally-sanctioned apathy that prevents us from really seeing and reaching each other in all our messy, beautiful, complex humanity.

LaRayia’s “giving a f*ck” credo began when she was working at a restaurant at 14, and took it upon herself to offer an unhoused man “perfectly good food” that would otherwise have gone to waste. Today, the Los Angeles-based nonprofit she founded in her twenties, Lunch On Me, redistributes organic food, providing meals to 10,000 people on Skid Row every month. And, because nourishment doesn’t end with food, Lunch on Me also feeds the minds and spirits of those who are struggling, offering yoga classes, community parties, and healing gatherings. All in all, LaRayia lives by “following the joy,” and Love Without Reason is the latest stop on that can’t-lose path. Says bestselling author Dr. Will Cole, “The radical love you will learn to tap into in this book is not the vapid ‘love’ so flippantly used today, but a deep, authentic love. This book is a beautiful manual of how to live from that love above all else.”

An infectiously warm and inspiring public speaker, LaRayia is living proof that compassion and humility come from a place of formidable strength. Shape calls her a “badass,” and we have to concur: this is radical love served with a side of bracing truth. Joining LaRayia is another powerhouse woman, award-winning journalist and author, Jeneé Darden. In addition to her essays and poetry, Jeneé is the host of the weekly arts segment Sights and Sounds, and covers East Oakland for KALW. If you’ve ever wondered whether the actions of a single person, in a single moment, can take root and empower countless lives, this event is for you, and for everyone you love and cherish.

Event Details

Each ticket includes private access to the event recording for 10 days following the live event. Signed bookplate copies are limited and all copies will be shipped by Green Apple Books in San Francisco starting March 16. We can only accept book orders that ship within the United States.

Women Lit members may reserve a free ticket and will have the option to order a copy of Love Without Reason after signing in to their account. If you would like to join Women Lit, please sign up here.

Presented in partnership with:

  • Literary
  • Spirituality
  • Writing & Publishing

Create, Connect, and Inspire: Julia Cameron on The Listening Path

Julia Cameron in conversation with Judy Collins

Wednesday, January 27, at 7pm PT


Having enriched the creative and artistic journeys of millions—Martin Scorsese and Elizabeth Gilbert among them—with her Artist’s Way program and books, Julia Cameron lives up to her New York Times-bestowed moniker, “Queen of Change.” Now, at the dawning of a new year that promises much-welcomed change, the “Godmother of Creativity” will show us how to harness that spirit of renewal with her latest guide to attunement and fulfillment, The Listening Path, filled with what bestselling author Gay Hendricks calls “life-changing gifts.” Joining Julia for this live, virtual event is her dear friend, one of the many world-renowned artists to have implemented her transformational practice: Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Judy Collins, a national treasure whose artistry is timeless (“At 80,” said The New York Times last year, “Collins sounds as clear as a spring wending through a field of wildflowers”).

You won’t want to miss these two legendary creatives in conversation, talking about all things art, life, inspiration, and most importantly in these cacophonous times, how to truly listen. With 2020 (thankfully) in the rearview mirror, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to recharge your creative battery for a brand new year.

Women Lit members may reserve a free ticket and will have the option to order a copy of The Listening Path after signing in to their account. If you would like to join Women Lit, please sign up here.

Each ticket includes private access to the event recording for 10 days following the live event.

All copies will be shipped by Green Apple Books in San Francisco. We can only accept book orders that ship within the United States.

Presented in partnership with:


  • Fiction
  • Literary

The Ties that Bind: Ann Patchett on Family, Fortune, and the Search for Self

Wednesday, January 13, at 6pm PT


Ann Patchett’s sweeping, emotionally piercing novels hit that sweet spot where literary prestige meets blockbuster mainstream success (millions of copies sold).  With The Dutch House, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Patchett is at her peak. This “engrossing, warmhearted book” (NPR)a family saga spanning five decades, tells the story of a brother and sister whose deep bond and secret-filled past is haunted by the legacy of an ornate mansion, the “Dutch house,” that was the site of childhood, and later, of their exile. Patchett, who also runs Parnassus Books, an iconic indie bookstore in her native Nashville, is known as a literary citizen who speaks her mind with refreshing and down-to-earth brilliance.

Join Ann Patchett and Women Lit in a live event where you’ll have the chance to engage with her in real time. Please submit your questions for Ann when you purchase your ticket, and she will answer as many as she can. As The New York Times Book Review said, “Expect miracles when you read Ann Patchett’s fiction.” We expect no less from our special experience with this author who will make your day with her warmth and wisdom! Moderated by Brooke Warner, author and publisher of She Writes Press.

Women Lit members may reserve a free ticket and will have the option to order a signed copy of The Dutch House after signing in to their account. If you would like to join Women Lit, please sign up here.

Each ticket includes private access to the event recording for 10 days following the live event.

More about Ann Patchett

Presented in partnership with:

WL #UNBOUND: Racing Towards Wonder with bestselling novelist Jane Smiley

Thursday, January 7 at 7:00 PM


This is a public rebroadcast of a live event for Women Lit members. To join Women Lit or to learn more, click here.

Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Jane Smiley (A Thousand Acres), whose books have sold over a million copies in the U.S. alone, was bound and determined to release her latest novel in 2020. Why? She knew we all could use a pleasurable escape. And Perestroika in Paris is just that: a beguiling fairytale for adults, praised by Publishers Weekly as “the perfect book for those for whom the real world, wracked with pandemic and politics, has become something to avoid.” Imagine a Parisian version of Roman Holiday, starring a runaway racehorse who finds friendship and freedom in getting splendidly off-track in the City of Light. In an enlightening conversation with Brooke Warner of She Writes Press, the incomparable Smiley welcomes us into another world: one in which the glitter of city lights pales in comparison to the bond all creatures share in their yearning to find kinship and be free.


Watch the full episode

  • Environment/Nature
  • Women/Gender

WL #UNBOUND: Poised to Soar: Nature-Writing Sensation Helen Macdonald with Vesper Flights

Tuesday, November 24


Helen Macdonald’s bestselling memoir H Is For Hawk, a transcendent meditation on grief, relationships, and falconry, established her as one of the world’s foremost nature and culture writers. She’s setting our imaginations soaring again with Vesper Flights, a collection of her best-loved essays, illuminating everything from mushroom-hunting to the poignant particulars of birds’ nests. As Helen wrote, “animals don’t exist in order to teach us things,” but her live conversation with American Book Award-winning poet Camille T. Dungy will show us how much we can learn by letting nature keep its secrets.


This is a public rebroadcast of a live event for Women Lit members. To join Women Lit or to learn more, click here.

Watch the full episode


Presented in partnership with: Environmental Action Committee of West Marin (EAC), Bay Nature, and the Golden Gate Audubon Society

The Last Taboo: How Wealth Changes Everything

Wednesday, October 28


As a genre, memoir has never shied away from tough topics, but the subject of Jennifer Risher’s new book candidly grapples with what may be one of the last lingering taboos: money. Risher and her husband started working for Microsoft in the 90s, and found themselves unexpectedly millionaires in the thick of the dot-com boom. We Need to Talk: A Memoir About Wealth sensitively and introspectively examines the impact of personal wealth on everything from relationships to self-image to a sense of place in the world, within a framework of acute awareness of the dramatic income inequality in today’s America. In a frank and fearless conversation with Robin Richards Donohoe, whose venture philanthropy firm, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, tackles innovative solutions to social problems, Risher will get refreshingly real about a subject as discomfiting as it is necessary.

This is a re-broadcast of a Women Lit  member-only LIVE webinar. To be able to participate in upcoming LIVE webinars,  join Women Lit!

Jennifer Risher, A We Need to Talk: A Memoir About Wealth

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners


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Women Lit #UNBOUND: Experience Real Change with Mindfulness Teacher Sharon Salzberg

Wednesday, October 21


Author of Real Happiness and columnist for the Peabody Award-winning On Being, Sharon Salzberg has built a devoted fanbase and major excitement for her latest book, Real Change. A renowned figure in the world of meditation, Salzberg offers us a guide for harnessing mindfulness in ways that benefit ourselves, our loved ones, and the world around us. She dispenses her invaluable wisdom, expertise, and counsel for vanquishing fear and anxiety at a time when awareness of mental health and emotional well-being is more important and necessary than ever.

Join Women Lit, Sharon Salzberg, and her fellow On Being columnist, Courtney E. Martin, for a dazzling night of transformation that is sure to deepen your understanding of your own inner power in the face of struggle.

This is a re-broadcast of a Women Lit  member-only LIVE webinar. To be able to participate in upcoming LIVE webinars, join Women Lit!

Sharon Salzberg, Real Change: Mindfulness to Heal Ourselves and the World
Courtney E. Martin, The New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners

“Inspiring, loving, and empowering. The perfect medicine for these difficult times.”

– Jack Kornfield, author of A Path With Heart

“No matter what troubles have befallen you or what difficulties you have caused yourself or others, with love for yourself you can change, grow, make amends, and learn. Real love is not about letting yourself off the hook. Real love does not encourage you to ignore your problems or deny your mistakes and imperfections. You see them clearly and still opt to love.”

– Sharon Salzberg from her monthly column titled “Self-Love is an Adventure, Not a Destination”


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Women Lit #UNBOUND: Extraordinary Dreamer: Musical and Literary Icon Patti Smith’s Year of The Monkey

Thursday, October 8 at 7:00 PM


ONE-TIME ONLY EVENT, NEVER TO BE SEEN AGAIN! This reading, discussion and performance, direct from Patti’s studio, will NOT be shared online later. Though virtual, it’s like a concert that will never be repeated. Join us for an unforgettable experience!

Patti Smith redefined rock and roll for a generation, defied conventional expectations at every turn, and created enough zeitgeist-shaping art for more than one lifetime. Now she has something new and beautiful to share: a “beautiful, elegant, and poetic” (NPR) memoir chronicling a transformational year of personal loss, cross-country travel, and political upheaval. Year of the Monkey reprises the spellbinding storytelling we all fell in love with in her National Book Award-winning Just Kids and bestselling M Train, conjuring the complexity and magic of an extraordinary dreamer’s inner life. In this unique experience, Patti will play a few songs with longtime band mate Tony Shanahan and share passages from Year of the Monkey.

Event Admission: $35
Includes a paperback copy of Year of the Monkey from our partner, City Lights Booksellers.

Due to the ongoing public health situation, book orders may be delayed. Please contact City Lights if you have a specific question about your book. Book orders will begin shipping on October 8th.

  • Health, Psychology & Spirituality
  • Women/Gender

Women Lit #UNBOUND: Alexandra Roxo, Carol Queen: Rewrite Your Story: Embracing the Divine Feminine

Wednesday, September 16


This video includes passages that are sexually explicit and may not be appropriate for all viewers.

Why is it so hard for so many of us to feel comfortable in our own skin and claim our own power? “Because,” writes transformational healer Alexandra Roxo in her magnetic debut, F*ck Like a Goddess, “each of us has been conditioned, programmed, and literally brainwashed into thinking we are not enough.” According to Alexandra, the solution to disempowerment, insecurity and sexual dissatisfaction is to rewrite the story we’ve been told about our own worth and value. And that’s exactly what F*ck Like a Goddess shows us how to do. This electrifying, earthy, fearlessly honest guide to personal liberation has been praised by bestselling inspirational author Emma Mildon as “the ultimate read for those ready to step into their whole damn self.” Alexandra’s in-person retreats for women are legendary for their transformational magic, and F*ck Like a Goddess showcases their greatest lessons, insights, and methods. As Harper’s Bazaar raved, “Simply being around Roxo’s exhilarating, vivacious presence is a revitalizing retreat in and of itself.” Joining Alexandra is staff sexologist at Good Vibrations and award winning author, activist, and sex educator, Dr. Carol Queen. Awaken to the power to rewrite your story, in conversation with two visionaries whose warmth and charisma is truly infectious.

Alexandra Roxo, F*ck Like a Goddess

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners


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  • Literary
  • Women/Gender

Braving Deep Waters: Female Fearlessness and Friendship with Sue Monk Kidd and Lisa See

Thursday, July 16th


Dive into an exploration of female power and brilliance like you’ve never seen before with bestselling authors Sue Monk Kidd (The Secret Life of Bees, The Invention of Wings) and Lisa See (The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane) moderated by Aimee Phan (The Reeducation of Cherry Truong). Lisa’s latest novel, the multi-generational saga The Island of Sea Women, unforgettably brings us into the lives and adventures of Mi-ja and Young-sook, two best friends on the Korean island of Jeju, who join their village’s all-female diving collective at a tender age. Sue’s newest novel, The Book of Longings, praised by the New York Journal of Books as “a practically perfect historical novel…from a writer at the top of her game,” puts us in the skin of Ana, a gifted Galilee rebel whose chance encounter with Jesus Christ changes her life forever. Meet these phenomenal authors at the fascinating intersection between tradition and bold self-realization, where the roles of friend, daughter, iconoclast, and artist converge.

Sue Monk Kidd, The Book of Longings
Lisa See, The Island of Sea Women
Aimee Phan, The Reeducation of Cherry Truong

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners


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  • Free
  • Health, Psychology & Spirituality
  • Women/Gender

A Time for Transformation: Redefining Aging with Louise Aronson

Thursday, June 18th


 “Old age” has been defined as beginning between ages 60 and 70, meaning most people spend more of their lives in elderhood than they do in childhood. Despite the fact that we’re beginning to live longer, more fulfilling lives, many of us dread entering our golden years. But what if we had another way of approaching this richly complex phase of life? Louise Aronson, New York Times bestselling author, geriatrician, and Professor of Medicine at UCSF, recently sparked discussion with her necessary, clear-eyed Times essay on the perceived value of elders’ lives in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. This piece is a fitting complement to Elderhood, a finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction. In this illuminating and incisive book, which has drawn comparisons to Oliver Sacks as well as Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal, Aronson uses stories from her own life and experience with patients, as well as history, science, and pop culture, to illustrate a new, realistic, and groundbreaking approach to aging. This conversation between Aronson and KALW host Jeneé Darden promises to be a virtual hour of hope, connection, and frank discussion on what elderhood really is, and what it has the potential to be.

Sponsored By

bayer.us

Louise Aronson, Elderhood

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners


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  • International
  • Literary
  • Women/Gender

Strange Hotel: Irish Literary Sensation Eimear McBride

Tuesday, June 16


The trajectory of Eimear McBride’s career is an underdog’s dream: she spent six months writing her debut novel, A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, and nine years trying to sell it, only to take the literary scene by storm when it was finally published in 2013 to an avalanche of acclaim, awards (including the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction), and rapturous comparisons to James Joyce and Samuel Beckett. Now, McBride is joining Women Lit in a live virtual conversation with Brooke Warner, publisher of She Writes Press and SparkPress, in celebration of her eagerly awaited new novel, Strange Hotel, which further cements her singular place in the contemporary canon. As unforgettable as her debut, McBride’s latest book depicts a rootless woman’s exile as she hotel-hops across the globe, seeking to quash her ghosts and escape the dangers that haunt her.

Eimear McBride, Strange Hotel
Brooke Warner, Write On, Sisters!

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners


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  • Literary
  • Women/Gender

Sacred and Profane: Debut Novelist Chelsea Bieker on Godshot

Sunday May 10


We’re thrilled to welcome debut novelist Chelsea Bieker in conversation with Brooke Warner, publisher of She Writes Press and SparkPress. Bieker’s explosive literary debut Godshot (Catapult/March 2020), praised by bestseller Kristen Arnett as “a beautiful blow to the heart,” is a hymn to the salvation found in hard-won personal rebirth. Stricken with drought, the once-verdant community of Peaches, California clings to a cult leader for salvation, and 14-year-old Lacey, abandoned by her mother, is left to reap a revelatory, fraught harvest of her own. Godshot has won Bieker rapturous comparisons to Margaret Atwood, Emma Cline, and Janet Fitch; but the beauty of her “absolute masterpiece” (T. Kira Madden) lies in Lacey’s incomparable voice: the voice of a brokenhearted believer, by turns darkly funny and achingly tender, who you’ll miss after turning the last page. Go deep with Bieker and Brooke Warner, as they plumb the depths of one unforgettable girl’s miraculous journey to fertile ground.

Chelsea Bieker, Godshot
Brooke Warner, Write on Sisters!

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners


Watch the full episode


  • 2019
  • Environment/Nature
  • Women/Gender

Rapture, Grief, Beauty: Terry Tempest Williams introducing Erosion

October 17, 2019


“Terry Tempest Williams is our great activist laureate. Working out of the lineage of Dickinson, O’Keeffe, D. H. Lawrence, and, later, Abbey and Peacock, she is nonetheless singular and extraordinarily original. She is rooted as juniper yet ephemeral as a sand dune. The forces that have eroded her are rapture and grief. What remains is elemental beauty.”—Rick Bass, author of For a Little While

Terry Tempest Williams is a naturalist, an activist, and an introspective presence whose every word is authentic. Her new book, Erosion, explores the concept of erosion and its opposite, becoming, in the context of land, self, belief, and fear. She looks at the current state of American politics, implications of choices to gut wilderness and sacred lands, endangered species, drought, extraction, and contamination — along with transcendent moments of relief and refuge, solace and spirituality. Rebecca Solnit wrote of Erosion, “Terry Tempest Williams’s voice in the clamor is like a hot desert wind blowing away the litter in a crowded room and leaving behind only what has weight, what is essential. These are essays about the courage to face what is most brutal and monstrous, by finding what is most beautiful and merciful.”


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  • 2019
  • Women/Gender

Candace Bushnell Discussing Is There Still Sex in the City?

October 1, 2019


Remember Sex and the City? The author of that seminal work, Candace Bushnell, is back two decades later with a new book, Is There Still Sex in the City? — for women 50+. Put on a great pair of shoes and come on out. Join Women Lit at The Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco on the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 1, to hear the trailblazing creator of Sex and the City discuss the new book with Lauren Schiller of Inflection Point. The iconic Sex and the City broke down major barriers in cultural representations of single women and reshaped the landscape of pop culture. Bushnell now guides us through a new and entangled dating scene. Is There Still Sex in the City? follows a whole new cohort of female friends, Sassy, Kitty, Queenie, Tilda Tia, Marilyn and Candace, as they face the modern-day sex arena as middle aged women, including younger partners, dating apps, divorce, children, and the pressure to maintain a youthful appearance. Equal parts hilarious and heart-wrenching, and filled with Bushnell’s signature short, sharp social commentary, Is There Still Sex in the City? not only provides a colorful look into love after 50, but also asks audiences to take a more nuanced look into the lives of women.


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  • 2019
  • Women/Gender

Girls’ Saturday Night Out: An Evening with Jennifer Weiner

June 22, 2019


Women Lit has a fun treat in store for you at the high point of summer! On Saturday night, June 22 in Berkeley, we’re bringing you Girls’ Saturday Night Out: An Evening with Jennifer Weiner, who will discuss her new novel, Mrs. Everything. We read an early copy of Mrs. Everything and didn’t want to put it down. No surprise: Jen is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of sixteen other books too, including In Her Shoes. As for seeing Jen in person, get ready for both insights and laughs. She’s renowned for her whip-smart, feminist, fearless, generous style (and fabulous Twitter account) that embraces all women and their stories. She’s a bit infamous for altercations with self-important males. She’s very, very funny.

More about the event:

From Jennifer Weiner, the #1 New York Times bestselling author, comes a smart, thoughtful, and timely exploration of two sisters’ lives from the 1950s to the present as they struggle to find their places—and be true to themselves—in a rapidly evolving world. Mrs. Everything is an ambitious, richly textured journey through history—and herstory—as these two sisters navigate a changing America over the course of their lives.

Jo and Bethie Kaufman were born into a world full of promise. Growing up in 1950s Detroit, they live in a perfect “Dick and Jane” house, where their roles in the family are clearly defined. But the world ends up being quite different from what the girls imagined. As their lives unfold against the background of free love and Vietnam, Woodstock and women’s lib, Bethie dives headlong into the counterculture and is up for anything (except settling down). Meanwhile, Jo becomes a proper young mother in Connecticut, a witness to the changing world instead of a participant. Neither woman inhabits the world she dreams of, nor has a life that feels authentic or brings her joy. Is it too late for the women to finally stake a claim on happily ever after? In her most ambitious novel yet, Jennifer Weiner tells a story of two sisters who, with their different dreams and different paths, offer answers to the question: How should a woman be in the world?


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  • 2019
  • Women/Gender

A Conversation with Eve Ensler Discussing The Apology

June 13, 2019


Like millions of women, Eve Ensler—author of The Vagina Monologues, one of the most influential works of the twentieth century—has been waiting much of her life for an apology. Sexually and physically abused by her father as a girl, Eve has grappled with her father’s betrayal and its effects for her whole life, longing for an honest reckoning from a man who is long dead. After years of work as an artist and an activist in the movement to end violence against women, Eve decided she would not wait any longer; she could imagine an apology for herself. The Apology is written by Eve from her father’s point of view in the words she has always needed to hear to be freed from the trauma. At this cultural moment of public reckoning with violence against women, Eve’s message has the power to prompt real transformation and healing, not only in those who have been abused but also in the ones who have hurt them—a step toward change that is necessary and long overdue.
For this event, Women Lit has chosen a safe, nurturing environment, literally a sanctuary (of an ecumenical community church). Our speaker may discuss emotionally traumatic experiences. All attendees and their experiences will be held with care within our supportive Women Lit community.


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  • 2019
  • Women/Gender

Rachel Cusk in Conversation with Brooke Warner

April 7, 2019


This Sunday, one of today’s most dazzling fiction writers is coming to Women Lit. Rachel Cusk is a “stark, modern, adamantine new skyscraper on the literary horizon,” writes The New York Times, which also states that Cusk “has that ability, unique to the great performers in every art form, to hold one rapt from the moment she appears.” Cusk will be interviewed by Brooke Warner, publisher at She Writes Press and former executive editor at Seal Press, a leading feminist publishing house.


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  • 2019
  • Women/Gender

An Evening with Gloria Steinem: More Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions

February 21, 2019


Women Lit is one year old! To celebrate our first birthday, we are bringing feminist icon Gloria Steinem to The Castro Theatre on February 21 to discuss the third edition of her seminal work Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions. Steinem will discuss intersectionality and the #MeToo era. She’ll ponder what today’s young feminists can learn from their predecessors, and vice versa. She’ll discuss the newest iteration of Outrageous Acts, which includes the classics readers know – satires, tributes, confessions (yes, the Playboy bunny essay is in here) and analyses — along with brand new material.


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  • 2018
  • International
  • Women/Gender

Courage, Honor and Hope: An Evening with Khalida Brohi

December 13, 2018


Not even thirty years old, Khalida Brohi already has a globe-spanning career as an activist, from empowering and educating Pakistani men and women to speaking on some of the most prestigious world stages. She has been lauded by Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai and by TED leader Chris Anderson, who said, “Her story…is beyond belief. It’s incredible that someone so young could achieve this much through passion and ingenuity.”

On Thursday evening, December 13, Khalida will share her new memoir, I Should Have Honor, interviewed by Lauren Schiller of Inflection Point at one the most amazing venues in the the Bay Area, The Women’s Building in San Francisco.

When Brohi was sixteen, her cousin was murdered by her uncle in an honor killing. From a tiny cement-roofed single room home in Karachi, Pakistan where she was allowed ten minutes of computer use per day, she created a viral Facebook campaign, leading her on a global quest to speak up for women and speak out against cultural practices that keep women down. She’s now been named one of Newsweek magazine’s 25 Under 25 Women of Impact and Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs.


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  • 2018
  • Current Affairs
  • Women/Gender

Rebecca Traister: Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger

October 10, 2018


Leading feminist journalist and thinker Rebecca Traister will discuss her new book, Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger. This event is part of the book festival’s Women Lit series. The event kicks off our partnership with Inflection Point, the nationally syndicated radio show and podcast on how women rise up. Host Lauren Schiller will interview Traister in what’s going to be one amazing evening.

We’ll have an extra surprise at the Rebecca Traister event, thanks to our sponsor Hello!Lucky.


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