Literary Salon: Tamim Ansary and Jasmin Darznik in Conversation đź—“

Literary Salon:  Jasmin Darznik and Tamim Ansary in Conversation About Memoir and Other Things

Tamim Ansary

Tamim Ansary

Jasmin Darznik

Monday, May 6h, 2019 || 7pm Book Passage-Corte Madera|| 51 Tamal Vista Dr. Corte Madera ||

The May Salon should be quite exciting, for all of our members, but especially for writers experimenting with non-fiction, specifically memoir, as two Bay Area literary greats explore what’s new and best in this genre.

Bestselling author Jasmin Darznik and local legend Tamim Ansary will be discussing their work, the literary craft and the art of writing memoir-style non-fiction.

These conversations are always stimulating, and since our members are all writers and literary professionals, the Q&A is generally fascinating and intensely informative.

In addition, for this evening alone, Jasmin is generously offering a free hardback copy of The Good Daughter to anyone who purchases a copy of Song of a Captive Bird!

Tamim Ansary wrote the literary memoir West of Kabul, East of New York, selected by San Francisco as its One City One Book pick for 2009. His latest book is the memoir, Road Trips, Becoming an American in the vapor trail of the Sixties: the story of three iconic journeys that began and ended in Portland, Oregon, between 1969 and 1976. In those years, this recent transplant from Afghanistan dropped out of an American society he’d never been a part of in the first place, and learned a thing or two in the process.

Jasmin Darznik is the New York Times bestselling author of The Good Daughter: A Memoir of My Mother’s Hidden Life. Her debut novel Song of a Captive Bird was a Los Angeles Times bestseller and a New York Times Book Review “Editors’ Choice.”  Her books have been published in seventeen countries, and her essays have appeared in (more…)

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Literary Salon: Members’ Open Mic for National Poetry Month with Marin Poet Laureate Rebecca Foust: Prose and Poetry Writers Welcome! đź—“

Literary Salon:  Members’ Open Mic for National Poetry Month with Marin Poet Laureate Rebecca Foust: Prose and Poetry Writers Welcome!

Rebecca Foust

Monday, April 1st, 2019 || 7pm Book Passage-Corte Madera|| 51 Tamal Vista Dr. Corte Madera ||

Poetry, prose—who cares, so long as the writing is good? LCW Founder Linda Watanabe McFerrin finds poetry in the best prose, and LCW member and bestselling novelist Jasmin Darznik says that “genre is the fiction.” Contemporary literature seems to agree. Let’s celebrate both at an open mic in honor of National Poetry month.

Please come with two pieces of work, each 500 words or fewer. Prosers—find the poetry hot spots in your work, polish up a flash piece, excerpt your favorite passage from something you are working on now. Poets, bring poems. Haiku, prose poetry, formal poetry, narrative poems—we want to hear it all! We’ll try to make time for everyone to read at least one piece, and a second if possible, and for this reason time limits will be strictly enforced. A sign-up sheet will be available at the beginning of the event.

The evening will be hosted by LCW member and Marin Poet Laureate Rebecca Foust, who will be scouting this event for possible features for her Poetry Sunday column for Women’s Voices for Change.

Special Guest: Nationally acclaimed poet and translator Cole Swensen earned her BA and MA  from SF State (more…)

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Literary Salon: Mystery Writers Panel đź—“

Literary Salon:  Mystery Writers Panel with Linda Watanabe McFerrin (moderator), mystery writer Nicola Trwst, agent Laurie Fox and mystery writer Penny Warner

Linda Watanabe McFerrin

Nicola Trwst

Laurie Fox

Penny Warner

Monday, March 4th, 2019 || 7pm Book Passage-Corte Madera|| 51 Tamal Vista Dr. Corte Madera ||

Please join us for an evening dedicated to uncovering the secrets of what makes a great mystery. Panelists Linda Watanabe McFerrin (moderator); Penny Warner, author of The Code Busters Club series among others; Nicola Trwst, author of the Briana Kaleigh mystery series; and Agent Laurie Fox, partner at the Linda Chester Literary Agency, will discuss Mystery Writing and what to do to make sure your are filling your work with thrills, chills and plenty of suspense. They’ll address a series of questions about creating a sense of mystery in literature. Then they will open it up for questions from the assembled writers and guests.

Here are a few of the questions they’ll be addressing:
  • How and why does a writer begin wrestling with the mysterious?
  • What are the most effective techniques in creating a sense of mystery?
  • Who are some of the best mystery writers working today and why?
  • Is there change in the genre? Why? Why not? Where do you see it going?


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Literary Salon: How Writers Get the Word Out with Ann Steiner, Ph.D đź—“

Literary Salon:  How Writers Get the Word Out, Linda Watanabe McFerrin in Conversation with Author Ann Steiner, Ph.D

Monday, February 4th, 2019 || 7pm Book Passage-Corte Madera|| 51 Tamal Vista Dr. Corte Madera ||

Members, please join us for an evening of conversation and discussion about Writers Spreading the Word.

Poet, Novelist, Workshop Leader and LCW Founder Linda Watanabe McFerrin and Author, Certified Group Psychotherapist and Professional Speaker Ann Steiner, Ph.D., MFT, will be in conversation about Communicating with a Larger Community: How Writers Get the Word Out.

They’ll be chatting about questions that eventually come up for most writers:

  • What exactly is a platform and do writers need one? Why?
  • What are the biggest obstacles to getting your message out?
  • What is most helpful?
  • When do you start?
  • How do you stay in touch with your community?
  • How do you know when it is enough?
We know many of you have a lot to contribute on this topic, so please join us for the discussion!


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Literary Salon: Sivani Babu and Sabine Bergmann đź—“ đź—ş

LEFT COAST WRITERS LITERARY SALON: Sivani Babu and Sabine Bergmann, founders of Hidden Compass

Sabine Bergmann and Sivani Babu

Monday, January 7th, 2018 || 7pm
Book Passage-Corte Madera || 51 Tamal Vista Dr.

Don’t miss the first salon of 2019 with the fantastic founders of Hidden Compass, a locally-run award-winning online magazine, publishing house, and workshop-leading organization.
Sivani Babu is the co-founder and Creative Director of Hidden Compass. She is an award-winning writer and photographer who has contributed work to such organizations and publications as BBC Travel, CNN, Backpacker, Outdoor Photographer, Nature Photographer, Iron Horse Literary Review, and Expressions — the North American Nature Photography Association’s annual showcase of the best nature photos. Sivani is a graduate of the University of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and served as a Teach for America corps member before becoming an attorney. Ultimately, her love of adventure and storytelling took her away from a career as a federal public defender and sent her sailing to Antarctica, chasing storms through Tornado Alley, road tripping across the United States with a former teacher of hers from high school, and crossing Scotland on foot with her Hidden Compass co-founder Sabine Bergmann.
Sabine Bergmann is the co-founder and Editorial Director of Hidden Compass. As an award-winning travel, science and nature writer, she contributes stories to publications such as Sierra Magazine, Bay Nature Magazine, California Magazine, WIRED, Geographic Expeditions, Ethical Traveler, The Best Travel Writing series and others. Sabine is a Stanford University-trained environmental researcher and community coordinator who has worked on conservation projects from the Amazon Basin to the Great Barrier Reef. She has battled dengue in the tropics, mountain biked from the Andes to the Amazon, and inadvertently partnered with cocaine-smuggling fishermen in the Caribbean. As an editor, she has shaped more than 200,000 words of creative nonfiction for publication. Sabine is currently at work on her first book, Jaded Altruism: How Persistence, Not Perfection, Will Create a Better World.








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Literary Salon: Year-end Celebration with Wanderland Writers đź—“

LEFT COAST WRITERS LITERARY SALON: Year-End Holiday Party with Wanderland Writers

Monday, December 3, 2018 || 7pm
Book Passage-Corte Madera || 51 Tamal Vista Dr.

Please join us for a fantastic evening of food, drink, announcements, gifts, and guests at our year-end holiday party and celebration of the 6th anthology in the prize-winning Wandering series: Wandering in Cuba: Revolution and Beyond.

We welcome your guests … just send us an e-mail ( to let us know who you are bringing.

The evening will include announcements about literary opportunities and upcoming trips and events, information about the new and improved Path to Publishing program at Book Passage, an LCW year in review, what’s up ahead, and a quick visit to Cuba complete with special bebidas and aperitivos and maybe even some live music!

Find out more about Wanderland Writers’ next anthologies and how to become a contributor, as well as author Jeff Greenwald’s upcoming trip to Cuba, then tell us about what you have planned for 2019.

About Wandering in Cuba:

Wander with the contributors from city to countryside, enjoying the history, the rhythms, the tastes, the sights, and the soul of this intriguing island nation. Everywhere, of course, they encountered its Revolution and recorded their understanding of its triumphs and failures. They met and wrote about traditional Cuba: its heroes—José Martí, Fidel, Che, Hemingway—and its enduring culture as found in food, music and its African-based religion, Santería. But they also experienced Cuba in its present reality, beyond the Revolution.

Contributors include Tania Romanov Amochaev, Adrienne Amundsen, Christine Berardo, Joanna Biggar*, Sandra Bracken, Cyndi, Goddard*, Douglas Hale*, Thomas Harrell, Donna Hemmila, Linda Jue*, Carol J. Kelly*, Laurie McAndish King*, Robert Markowitz, Linda Watanabe McFerrin*, Mary Jean Pramik*, Anne Sigmon*, Jonathan A. Taylor and Anne Woods*.

“I hope that, as you read the stories in this collection, a sense of that infinite potential inspires you to make that very short flight to our very misunderstood neighbor. You’ll find nothing intimidating (except, maybe, some of the salsa dancers) and much that is pure magic.

—Jeff Greenwald, Author of The Size of the World and Snake Lake

 Linda Watanabe McFerrin and Joanna Biggar have floated down the Canal du Midi in France, danced in the sunlight of southern Greece, toasted the best of times in Ireland, devoured the culture and countryside of southern Italy, wandered through landscapes lost and found in Costa Rica, investigated the myths and magic of Cornwall, uncovered the soul of Andalusia, partied in Paris, and explored the Indonesian island that is known as an earthly Paradise in their award-winning series.

In each destination, they eat and drink, laugh and get lost, explore and expound with their merry band of travel writers. And they always return with a varied collection of tales, some mystical, some inspiring, some funny, some terrifying—each told in a different, highly personal voice.

*Contributors participating in this event.

For more information about Wanderland Writers go to



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Literary Salon: Rebecca Foust, Marin County Poet Laureate đź—“

LEFT COAST WRITERS LITERARY SALON: Rebecca Foust, Marin County Poet Laureate on Why Community Matters in Writing

Monday, November 5, 2018 || 7pm
Book Passage-Corte Madera || 51 Tamal Vista Dr.

Why Community Matters in Writing:  Notes from the Current Marin County Poet Laureate Ending her Term

Current Marin County Poet Laureate Rebecca Foust reflects on her 2016-18 term, discussing her project “Poetry as Sanctuary” and what she learned about how being an engaged literary citizen can have positive and practical impacts on a writer’s work and career. Writing can be a solitary occupation, so the chance to have positive impact on the community can be personally (and, hopefully, socially) rewarding. It can also offer unexpected opportunities to reach new audiences, make worthwhile connections, and find subjects to explore in new writing. Foust will talk briefly about these issues and then read a few poems written during her tenure.

Rebecca Foust’s books include Paradise Drive (2015 Press 53 Award for Poetry), reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement, The San Francisco Chronicle, and the Georgia, Harvard, and Hudson Reviews. Recent recognitions include the Cavafy Prize, the James Hearst Poetry Prize, the Lascaux Prize for Flash Fiction, the American Literary Review Fiction Prize,  the Constance Rooke Creative Nonfiction Prize, and fellowships from MacDowell, Sewanee, and The Frost Place. Foust is Poet Laureate of Marin County, Poetry Editor for Women’s Voices for Change and an Assistant Editor and Team Leader reading fiction for Narrative Magazine.


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Literary Salon: Mary Jo McConahay, Author of The Tango War in conversation with Andy Ross đź—“

LEFT COAST WRITERS LITERARY SALON: Mary Jo McConahay, Author of The Tango War in Conversation with Agent Andy Ross

Mary Jo McConahay Left Coast WritersMonday, October 1, 2018 || 7pm
Book Passage-Corte Madera || 51 Tamal Vista Dr.

Journalism and journalists continue to be blasted by our current national administration and have never been more important. The same thing goes for professional women in general.
In this context, we feel especially honored to be able to celebrate the work of award-winning journalist Mary Jo McConahay and delighted to share an evening with her.
An LCW member for years, Mary Jo will discuss her work with her agent, Andy Ross, and tell us about her latest book, The Tango War and answer questions about this recent publication and her profession. Hers is the kind of reportage we need. Come and help us make this a truly welcoming and highly informative evening.

The Tango War by Mary Jo McConahay fills an important gap in WWII history. Beginning in the thirties, both sides were well aware of the need to control not just the hearts and minds but also the resources of Latin America. The fight was often dirty: residents were captured to exchange for U.S. prisoners of war and rival spy networks shadowed each other across the continent. At all times it was a Tango War, in which each side closely shadowed the other’s steps.

Though the Allies triumphed, at the war’s inception it looked like the Axis would win. A flow of raw materials in the Southern Hemisphere, at a high cost in lives, was key to ensuring Allied victory, as were military bases supporting the North African campaign, the Battle of the Atlantic and the invasion of Sicily, and fending off attacks on the Panama Canal. Allies secured loyalty through espionage and diplomacy—including help from (more…)

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Literary Salon: Your Path to Publishing đź—“ đź—ş

LEFT COAST WRITERS LITERARY SALON: Your Path to Publishing with Laurie McAndish King, Jim Shubin and Linda Watanabe McFerrin


Tuesday, September 4th, 2018 || 7pm
Book Passage-Corte Madera || 51 Tamal Vista Dr.

Writers, published and otherwise, the mysteries of successful publishing will be revealed on this September night at our next Left Coast Writers Literary Salon. Please note that we will be meeting TUESDAY, September 4th! Mark your calendars and settle in to find out how to avoid becoming one of self-publishing’s epic fails.

We will cover the following:


  1. Understanding the process: Which indie publishing model is the best fit for me and my book? What costs are involved? Do I need an editor? Do I also need a proofreader? How does print-on-demand work? How many books will I sell, and how long  does it take?
  2. Planning and getting organized: Understanding how long each step takes (editing, design, production, marketing). Building your list, planning ahead for marketing (short vs long lead time activities), using an ARC, submitting your manuscript for reviews/awards, pricing your book properly.
  3. Marketing: Defining your goals, developing a marketing plan, building your platform, understanding your audience, developing a relationship with your readers, setting up your online presence, optimizing your website, mastering social media.


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Literary Salon: Larry Habegger đź—“

LEFT COAST WRITERS LITERARY SALON: Larry Habegger, Executive Editor and Publisher, Travelers’ Tales

Larry Habegger

Monday, August 6th, 2018 || 7pm
Book Passage-Corte Madera || 51 Tamal Vista Dr.

Our Salon Speaker for Monday, August 6th is Larry Habegger, Executive Editor and Publisher, Travelers’ Tales. Larry will be talking about his experience as a writer, editor and publisher and giving advice to folks in the travel and fiction categories. What some might not know is that Larry, along with James O’Reilly, wrote a serialized novel for the San Francisco Examiner some years back and that it’s going to be making a comeback in book form.

Larry is a writer and editor who has been covering the world since his international travels began in the 1970s. As a freelance writer for more than three decades, his work has appeared in many major newspapers and magazines, including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Travel & Leisure, and Outside. (more…)

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