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San Francisco's LitQuake Festival In October 2016, CMP hosted its fourth reading at the annual LitCrawl. Here, Berkeley Public Library Memoir Writers shared their stories with the world at a lovely venue: Carousel Consignment on Mission Street.

L-R: Rebecca Prophet, Curtis L. Estes, Janice Mason, Frances Lefkowitz, Mei-Ling Pastor, Roopa Ramamoorthi.


Advisory Board

Rachel Brahinsky, Ph.D, is a Human Geographer and a professor at the University of San Francisco, where she directs the Graduate Program in Urban Affairs. Her scholarship focuses on race, urban development and California history. Brahinsky's books under production include an exploration of the historical geography of race and development in San Francisco in the context of broader contemporary urban transformations, as well as an investigation into "people's history" in the San Francisco Bay Area. A former  journalist, Brahinsky wrote about the shifting neighborhood dynamics of places like north Oakland in a recent article in Boom: A Journal of California. Links to more of her writing can be found at Academia.


Madeline Hope is an artist and community activist in West Marin County, CA.


Linda Ivey, Ph.D. is Associate Professor and Chair of the History Department at Cal State University, East Bay, and Coordinator of the Public History Program there. She specializes in Environmental History, Immigration History, Public History, History of California and the West, and has conducted research on the history of farming in Santa Cruz County. Her publications "Ethnicity in the Land: Lost Stories in California Agriculture," in Agricultural History; "Apples and Experts: Evolving Notions of Sustainable Agriculture," in Global Environment; and the forthcoming "Protecting the People's Mountain: Hiking and the Roots of Environmentalism in Marin County," in a forthcoming anthology on Sport in the Bay Area (University of Arkansas, 2016); "Riotous Environments: Filipino Immigrants in the Fields of California," in On the Move: Environmental History of Modern Migrations  (Routledge Press, 2017); and as editor and author in Citizen Internees: A Second Look at Race and Citizenship in Japanese American Internment Camps (Praeger, 2017).


Isobel Schneider is Reference Librarian at the Berkeley Public Library. She hosts and produces the Community Memoir Project at the Berkeley Public Library's Central Branch.

Workshop participants

Participants come from every age, walk of life, and level of writing experience. One of the wonderful aspects of this program is the opportunity to get people in a range of ages and backgrounds in the same room, writing and sharing their stories. A recent workshop in Berkeley, CA attracted people 20 through 80, who wrote about their memories of California's Japanese-American internment camps; small-town 1950s Mississippi when Emmet Till was murdered; stories handed down from a grandfather who'd served as a bodyguard for Mao in China; growing up on the streets of Berkeley in the 1980s; and the struggles of being a new mom in a foreign country in 2013.


Workshop Leader/Program Director

Frances Lefkowitz is the author of To Have Not, a memoir about growing up poor, white, and female in 1970s San Francisco. An award-winning writer and editor, Frances is the former senior editor of Body+Soul magazine and Book Reviewer for Good Housekeeping, and has earned numerous honors, including Notable Mention for the Pushcart Prize (twice), Best American Essays, and the James Beard Awards for food writing. She publishes articles, essays, and fiction in many national consumer and literary magazines and also works as writing coach.


Hosting librarians

The librarians are key to a successful program, providing enthusiasm, advice, and administrative support; they also take class registration, post fliers, find recommended memoirs, set up tables, recruit patrons, and in general serve as liaisions between the instructor, the library, and the patrons.

Steven Lavoie, Branch Manager of the Temescal branch of the Oakland Public Library also runs the Oakland History Room at the Oakland Public Library. He has a great interest and knowledge of the local area’s history and culture, and in the literary arts. He previously worked at the Pacific Center for the Book Arts and the Oakland Tribune, and is a member of the Black Bart Poetry Society.

Isobel Schneider, Reference Librarian, Berkeley Public Library.

Bonny White, Branch Manager at West Marin Libraries, helped direct the first Community Memoir workshop, at the Point Reyes library in Pt. Reyes Station, CA.


Fiscal Sponsor

Poetry Flash, a venerable Bay Area arts organization run by the tireless poet and literary arts enthusiast Joyce Jenkins, is the Fiscal Sponsor of the Project. This 501 (C) 3 nonprofit facilitates grants for the Project, spreads the word on its events, and offers advice on running a community arts organization. The Poetry Flash newsletter is an invaluable resource for literary news in the Bay Area and beyond.

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