If the words "literary festival" make you think of college professors in tweed jackets with leather elbow patches, Litquake is here to shake you up. This week over 550 wordsmiths are disconnecting their Mac power cords and coming out of solitude to captivate 11,000 lit fans with readings taking place all over the city. Highlights include the Night of the Living Well-Read cocktail party at 111 Minna; a guided tour around the Bay Area's beat heritage, courtesy of Will Durst, Ben Fong-Torres, and Phil Bronstein; the booze-fueled Lit Crawl; and the Barbary Coast Award Ceremony, in honor of Lawrence Ferlinghetti. To quote the poet's 2002 poem dedicated to the literary festival: "So we're having a quake/ We're going to have a literary quaking/It's announced in the smallest papers/free for the taking..." Joey Stevenson
"Originally hatched at the Edinburgh Castle pub in 1999, Litstock debuted as a free one-day reading series in a fog-bound Golden Gate Park. Co-organizers and local writers Jane Ganahl and Jack Boulware quickly realized that booklovers wanted something more. Against the backdrop of a technology-crazed San Francisco, it was obvious that writers were still drawn to the city, and readers still craved and appreciated the written word. Litquake seeks to foster interest in literature for people of all ages, perpetuate a sense of literary community, and provide a vibrant forum for Bay Area writing as a complement to the city's music, film, and cultural festivals."