Tales From Two Cities: Writing From California - SF

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Armistead Maupin: The Novelist and the Newspaper

Celebrated author Armistead Maupin discusses the daily negotiating required to publish his serialized "Tales of the City" stories in the conservative format of a daily newspaper. Maupin recounts a particularly risque conversation with San Francisco Examiner publisher Will Hearst regarding Smurfs.

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California Sensibility: What Is California Literature?

David Ulin opens the Tales from Two Cities conference with an inquiry into what it means to write from the perspective of a Californian.

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Californian Dystopia: Rich Material for Science Fiction

Author Ursula Heise mentions some notable science-fiction novels that use California as a backdrop for a dystopian vision of the future.

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California Poetry: San Francisco in the 1950s

Robert Hass, former Poet Laureate of the United States, discusses his hometown of San Francisco, California during 1950's- era Beat Generation scene, and its subsequent impact on American poetry.

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City Lights Is a Community More Than a Bookstore

Paul Yamazaki talks about the founding of City Lights Bookstore by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and his desire to create a meeting place for writers and artists beyond just a store that sold books.

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Dana Gioia Reads 'California Hills In August'

Dana Gioia, former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, reads his poem "California Hills in August."

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Richard Moore's Most Controversial Film

Poet and filmmaker Richard Moore remembers his most controversial film called Tom Wolfe's Los Angeles.

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John Tayman: How Byliner Pays Its Writers

John Tayman, Founder and CEO of Byliner, discusses how his company works with and for the writers who produce its content.

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Kevin Starr's Favorite Californians

Historian Kevin Starr points out some of his favorite Californians from history that he has learned about through a long career studying the golden state.

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San Francisco: A Florence Without Medici

Salon.com founder David Talbot describes earlier artistic communities and movements in San Francisco and compares the city today to a cultural hub like Florence, but lacking the patrons to support artists and creators.

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There's Something About California

Authors Frances Dinkelspiel and Ellen Ullman discuss whether regionality actually exists in writing and what unique characteristics of northern California influence their work.

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Conference Date


October 4 - 5, 2013

About this conference


Two free conferences examining the literature of Alta, California, north and south - from immigration to innovation, from the desert to the coast. Poetry, fiction, non-fiction, print and digital: It's all part of how California defines itself, going back to the earliest days. Regional distinctions are important, but most essential is the idea of California as a state with a culture and aesthetic all its own. What is our sensibility? How does the literature of California tell us who we are?

About The Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West


The Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West (ICW) is a center for scholarly investigation of the history and culture of California and the American West. Through sponsorship of innovative scholarship and research, ICW draws on the resources of the University of Southern California and The Huntington Library to build an innovative collaboration between a research university and a research library.

For more information, visit: http://usc.edu/icw

The Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West Events