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Book Passage’s

Conversations with Authors

Live sessions with the writers and thinkers most committed to America’s independent bookstores

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Coming Up Next

Saturday, December 5th

7:00 pm est/4:00 pm pst

in conversation with Phil Cousineau

Chris Rainier’s Mask presents a striking collection of rare masks steeped in ancient tradition, captured through the lens of one of the world’s most celebrated documentary photographers.

Chris is a documentary photographer and National Geographic explorer who is highly respected for his documentation of endangered cultures and traditional languages around the globe. He is a fellow at the Royal Geographic Society in London. Prior to Mask, he published five books documenting traditional cultures around the globe, from the Stone Age tribes of New Guinea to the ancient tradition of tattoo body marking. Rainier is the director of the Cultural Sanctuaries Foundation, a global program focused on legally preserving biodiversity and cultural heritage. Rainier has photographed on all seven continents, focusing on the preservation of the planet’s last wildernesses and traditional cultures.

Phil Cousineau is an award-winning writer and filmmaker, teacher and editor, lecturer, and travel leader, storyteller and TV host. His fascination with the art, literature, and history of culture has taken him from Michigan to Marrakesh, Iceland to the Amazon, in a worldwide search for what the ancients called the “soul of the world.” With more than 35 books and 15 scriptwriting credits to his name, the “omnipresent influence of myth in modern life” is a thread that runs through all of his work. His books include Stoking the Creative Fires, Once and Future Myths, The Art of Pilgrimage, The Hero’s Journey, Wordcatcher, The Painted Word, The Oldest Story in the World, The Book of Roads, and The Accidental Aphorist.

Deborah Tannen

Welcome to Conversations with Authors!

For more than 40 years, Book Passage has been the welcoming home for readers. And now, we’re pleased to share a remarkable schedule of conversations with many of our favorite authors—many long-time friends of Book Passage—well beyond the Bay Area.

Please join us here each week together with great authors and thinkers to share ideas and celebrate our community. These live, free, intimate conversations explore what it means to be living through these times, and what it means to stay connected to the people and the ideas that bind us.

Register once, and you’re guaranteed a seat at every upcoming Conversations with Authors event. You’ll be invited to help shape each session in advance by prioritizing the issues we discuss, and you’ll have the chance to ask additional questions during each conversation. You can also view the free archive of any event you might have missed, any time you like.

Welcome to Conversations with Authors!

Join us live.

Register once, and join us for every upcoming conversation.

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Saturday, December 5th

7:00est/4:00pst

in conversation with Phil Cousineau

Chris Rainier’s Mask presents a striking collection of rare masks steeped in ancient tradition, captured through the lens of one of the world’s most celebrated documentary photographers.

Chris is a documentary photographer and National Geographic explorer who is highly respected for his documentation of endangered cultures and traditional languages around the globe. He is a fellow at the Royal Geographic Society in London. Prior to Mask, he published five books documenting traditional cultures around the globe, from the Stone Age tribes of New Guinea to the ancient tradition of tattoo body marking. Rainier is the director of the Cultural Sanctuaries Foundation, a global program focused on legally preserving biodiversity and cultural heritage. Rainier has photographed on all seven continents, focusing on the preservation of the planet’s last wildernesses and traditional cultures.

Phil Cousineau is an award-winning writer and filmmaker, teacher and editor, lecturer, and travel leader, storyteller and TV host. His fascination with the art, literature, and history of culture has taken him from Michigan to Marrakesh, Iceland to the Amazon, in a worldwide search for what the ancients called the “soul of the world.” With more than 35 books and 15 scriptwriting credits to his name, the “omnipresent influence of myth in modern life” is a thread that runs through all of his work. His books include Stoking the Creative Fires, Once and Future Myths, The Art of Pilgrimage, The Hero’s Journey, Wordcatcher, The Painted Word, The Oldest Story in the World, The Book of Roads, and The Accidental Aphorist.

Sunday, December 6th

7:00est/4:00pst

in conversation with Catherine Hernandez

Zeyn Joukhadar’s The Thirty Names of Night is a remarkably moving and lyrical novel that follows three generations of Syrian Americans who are linked by a mysterious species of bird and the truths they carry close to their hearts.

Zeyn Joukhadar is also the author of The Map of Salt and Stars, which has been translated into twenty languages, was a 2018 Middle East Book Award winner in Youth Literature, a 2018 Goodreads Choice Awards Finalist in Historical Fiction and was shortlisted for the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize. He is a member of the Radius of Arab American Writers (RAWI) and his work has appeared or is forthcoming in KINK: Stories (edited by RO Kwon & Garth Greenwell), Salon, The Paris Review, Shondaland, [PANK], and elsewhere, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net. Joukhadar has received fellowships from the Montalvo Arts Center Lucas Artists Program, the Arab American National Museum, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Camargo Foundation, and the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation.

Catherine Hernandez is a proud queer woman of colour, radical mother, theatre practitioner, award-winning author, and the Artistic Director of b current performing arts. Catherine’s first full-length fiction, Scarborough, won the Jim Wong-Chu Award for the unpublished manuscript and was shortlisted for various awards. Her one-woman show, The Femme Playlist, premiered at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in 2014 as part of the afterRock Play Series co-produced by b current, Eventual Ashes and Sulong Theatre. She has released two children’s books, M is for Mustache: A Pride ABC Book and I Promise, and her second novel, Crosshairs, is coming soon.

Wednesday, December 9th

7:00est/4:00pst

in conversation with Jesse Kornbluth

Paige Peterson‘s Blackie: The Horse Who Stood Still is (mostly) true tale of a horse who made standing stock-still a lifelong endeavor—while becoming a champion rodeo horse, a tourist favorite at Yosemite Park, a legendary environmental crusader, and the beloved mascot of one of America’s most beautiful towns, Tiburon, California, on the shores of San Francisco Bay.

Paige is an American artist, author and photojournalist who has written extensively about the Middle East. As a journalist, she has contributed to Marin Magazine, New York Social Diary and the National Council on U.S. Arab Relations. As an illustrator, she has collaborated on A Christmas Carol, adapted by Jesse Kornbluth, and Blackie: The Horse Who Stood Still, which she co-authored with Christopher Cerf. She and her two grown children live in New York.  She splits her time between New York City and Belvedere, California.

Jesse Kornbluth writes books and plays and edits a cultural concierge site.  As a magazine journalist, he has been a contributing editor for Vanity Fair and New York, and a contributor to The New Yorker and The New York Times. As an author, his books include “Highly Confident: The Crime and Punishment of Michael Milken,” “Pre-Pop Warhol,” and two novels, Married Sex and JFK and Mary Meyer: A Love Story. His play about Henri Matisse, “The Color of Light,” has been produced in California and New York. On the Web, he co-founded Bookreporter.com. From 1997 to 2003, he was Editorial Director of America Online. In 2004, he launched HeadButler.com.

Saturday, December 12th

7:00est/4:00pst

in conversation with David Francis

Jane Smiley’s latest novel, Perestroika in Paris, is a captivating, brilliantly imaginative story of three extraordinary animals – and a young boy – whose lives intersect in Paris. 

Jane is the author of numerous novels, including A Thousand Acres, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, and more recently, the New York Times best-selling Last Hundred Years Trilogy: Some Luck, Early Warning, and Golden Age. She is also the author of several works of nonfiction and books for young adults. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she has also received the PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature. Jane lives in Northern California.

David Francis, based in Los Angeles where he works for the Norton Rose Fulbright law firm, spends part of each year back on his family’s farm in Australia. He is the author of The Great Inland Sea, published to acclaim in seven countries, and Stray Dog Winter, Book of the Year in The Advocate, winner of the American Library Association Barbara Gittings Prize for Literature and a LAMBDA Literary Award Finalist. He has taught creative writing at University of California, Los Angeles, Occidental College and in the Masters of Professional Writing program at University of Southern California. His short fiction and articles have appeared in publications including Harvard ReviewThe Sydney Morning HeraldSouthern California ReviewBest Australian Stories 2012 and 2014Australian Love Stories, Los Angeles Times and The Rattling Wall. He is Vice President of PEN Center USA.

Sunday, December 13th

7:00est/4:00pst

David Harris

in conversation with Peter Coyote

David Harris’ newest release, My Country ‘Tis of Thee: Reporting, Sallies, and Other Confessions is a wide-ranging and incisive anthology conveying the spirit of the 1960s and ’70s.

David Harris is a reporter, a clear-eyed idealist, an American dissident, and, as these selected pieces reveal, a writer of great character and empathy. Harris gained national recognition as an undergraduate for his opposition to the Vietnam War and was imprisoned for two years when he refused to comply with the draft. His writings trace a bright throughline of care for and attention to outsiders, the downtrodden, and those who demand change, and these eighteen pieces of long-form journalism, essays, and opinion writings remain startlingly relevant to the world we face today. This career-spanning collection of writings by an always-independent journalist follow Harris from his early days as a prominent leader of the resistance to the Vietnam War, through regular contributions to many publications, including Rolling Stone and the New York Times, and on into the twenty-first century.

Peter Coyote’s memoir of the 1960’s counter-culture Sleeping Where I Fall which received universally excellent reviews, and has been in continuous print since 1999. His second book, The Rainman’s Third Cure: An Irregular Education, about mentors and the search for wisdom, was nominated as one of the top five non-fiction books published in California in 2015. His third book, Unmasking Your True Self (the Lone Ranger and Tonto Meet the Buddha) conflates 50 years of Buddhist practice and acting and uses masks and improv exercises to foster liberation experiences and teach people “how to get out of their own way.” It will be released by Inner Traditions Press in early 2020, and so will his first book of poems, The Tongue of a Crow.

Peter has performed as an actor in over 160 films for theaters and TV. He is a double Emmy-Award winning narrator of over 150 documentary films. An ordained Zen Buddhist priest and transmitted teacher, Peter is currently giving live weekly dharma talks on Facebook, preparing for a fourth book called Vernacular Buddhism.