Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cheryl Strayed, Karen Karbo & Carolyn Cooke at Woodward's Garden, Tuesday, May 10, 2011:

Spring Dinner and Three West Coast Writers Reading from New Works 

At Woodward's Garden, Tuesday, May 10, 6pm, $45 per person, 3-courses (does not include wine, tax or tip). (415) 621-7122. Menu will be posted on website soon.

I first found Cheryl Strayed on Twitter (of course), which somehow led me to me to her dazzling essay "The Love of My Life," about - among other things - death, desire, grief, infidelity... and really, about not looking away. I had not read anything like it before. My body actually stopped moving, slowed-down into the essay's unexpected, achy orbit - it was so close to the bone and relentlessly brave. 

It is a kind of ultimate memoir/essay to me now. And it made me realize how completely rare her voice is, and how much I crave it. In some ways Strayed reminds me of Rebecca Solnit, whose unique, brilliant work, it seems to me, almost always involves our lost/foundness and the unresolvable tension between the two, and staying with that hard, beautiful friction. So what a gift to have Strayed read at our restaurant.

Cheryl Strayed

Strayed’s forthcoming memoir, Wild, will be published by Knopf in March, 2012. Her debut novel, Torch (Houghton Mifflin, 2006), was a finalist for the Great Lakes Book Award and was selected by The Oregonian as one of the top ten books of the year by writers from the Pacific Northwest. Strayed’s personal essays have appeared in more than a dozen magazines, including the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post Magazine, Allure, Self, Brain, Child, The Rumpus and The Sun. She’s won a Pushcart Prize and her essays have twice been selected for inclusion in the Best American Essays. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and their two children.

She will read from Wild, which is about the 1187 mile hike she took alone on the Pacific Crest Trail when she was 26 and the life circumstances that compelled her to take such a long walk in the wilderness. "Wild is smart and funny, and often sublime," wrote bestselling author, Chelsea Cain. "And it’s got something for everyone. A fight for survival in the wilderness. A bad girl’s quest for redemption. Grief, sex, drugs, and the proverbial (and literal) bear in the woods, all in the hands of a brilliant and evocative writer."

Karen Karbo

We are also thrilled to have Karen Karbowhose three novels and memoir have all been named New York Times Notable Books of the Year.  Her memoir The Stuff of Life won the Oregon Book Award and was a People Magazine's Critics' Choice. Her most recent book is The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons from the World's Most Elegant Woman. Her essays and non-fiction have appeared in a number of anthologies, including the best-selling "The Bitch in the House," and in The New York Times, Vogue, Elle, MORE, Outside, Entertainment Weekly and  She is a recipient of an NEA fellowship in prose and a winner of the General Electric Younger Writer Award.

Karbo will read from her forthcoming book, How Georgia Became O'Keeffe: Life Lessons on the Art of Living. It is coming out in November.

Carolyn Cooke

Finally, we are delighted, too, to have Carolyn Cooke.  Her first novel, Daughters of the Revolution, will be published next month by Knopf.  Her short story collection, The Bostons, was a winner of the PEN/Bingham Award, a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway, and was named one of the best books of the year by the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. Her fiction has appeared in AGNI, The Paris Review, and Ploughshares, and in two volumes each of Best American Short Stories and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards.  Her nonfiction has appeared in New California Writing 2011 (Heyday Books) and The Nation.  She is a core faculty member in the MFA writing program at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. 

Cooke will read from her new novel of the sexual revolution, which National Book Award finalist Kate Walbert praised as " Smart, visceral, sexy . . . absolutely brilliant.” 

At Woodward's Garden, Tuesday, May 10, 6pm, $45 per person, 3-courses (does not include wine, tax or tip). (415) 621-7122. 

Menu to be posted on website soon.

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