Sunday, August 5, 2007

Maupin up for another award

Maupin up for another awardContra Costa Times

Contra Costa TimesArticle Launched:08/05/2007 03:04:47 AM PDT
Tickets go on sale Aug. 20 for a new kickoff event for Litquake, the annual literary fest-on-steroids in San Francisco that brings lovers of lit out in droves over a nine-day period and culminates in a high-spirited "Litcrawl" in pubs down Valencia Street to the Mission.

This year, Litquake introduces the Barbary Coast Award and plops it on the deserving head of San Francisco author Armistead Maupin, whose famed "Tales of the City" written between 1978 and 1989, were, so they say, responsible for "putting San Francisco on the modern day literary map."

Maupin's tales became the basis of the 1994 PBS series starring Olympia Dukakis as Anna Madrigal, mother hen to a brood of eccentric characters, some gay, some not, who lived on fictional Barbary Lane.

Maupin, whose latest novel "Michael Tolliver Lives" resurrects one of the characters from the series, will be on hand to receive his award at the Herbst Theatre event on Oct. 6 that will open the festival. Currently lined up to join him onstage are Amy Tan, Andrew Sean Greer, Michelle Tea, K.M. Soehnlein and Susie Bright, with other performers, musicians and guest stars to be announced. Tickets are $25 and will be available through City Box Office at 415-392-4400. More information will be posted at

VINO AND VERSE: Have you got poetry within? Can you get it out in 40 lines or less? If so, Livermore's poet laureate Connie Post invites you to belly up to the open mic at "Wine and Words," an ongoing poetry series at the Martinelli Event Center, 3585 Greenville Road in Livermore. The latest installment, catered by Garre Winery and Cafe, takes place from 2-4 p.m. Aug. 19. After scheduled presentations from featured readers Paul Hoover, author of 11 books of poetry including 2006's "Edge and Fold," and Jennifer Sweeney, whose "Salt Memory" came out in November, the podium is open to volunteer poets. Directions and a map at

ROMANCING THE ASPIRING WRITERS: It's high time to haul out the heaving bosoms and brawny bare chests, you would-be writers of romance novels. The Web site, working in tandem with Simon & Schuster, launched its First Chapters Romance Writing competition on Wednesday, and they're taking manuscripts through Aug. 22. She (or he) who emerges triumphant gets a guaranteed publishing contract with Pocket Books, an S&S imprint, and a $5,000 advance. So submit your steamy manuscript to by the deadline, then go online and watch what happens.

During round one, from Aug. 27-Sept. 18, postings of first chapters will go up on, and the Web site regulars will vote to select 25 semi-finalists. In round two, Sept. 24-Oct. 8, the winners' second chapters get posted, and five finalists will be chosen. In round three, which begins Oct. 11, the four members of the Grand Prize Judging Panel (Pocket Books editor Lauren McKenna and editorial director Maggie Crawford, CEO Tom Gerace and Borders romance buyer Sue Grimshaw) will select the winning novel, to be announced on Oct. 30.

PSSSST-- GOOD BOOKS, CHEAP! Every Saturday and Sunday through the end of August, the Lafayette Bookstore at 3569 Mt. Diablo Blvd. has 'em piled high on tables in the parking lot -- mass market paperbacks for 50 cents, trade paperbacks for a buck apiece and hardcovers for $2. Hours are 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Bookends appears every other Sunday. Sue Gilmore is the Times book editor. Reach her at 925-977-8482 or

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