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Selected Works

Our members are authors, screenwriters, podcasters, public speakers, and more. View a selection of work by members of The Writers Grotto.

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Individual
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Book
Individual
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Book
San Francisco's Forgotten Cemeteries: A Buried History
San Francisco is famous for not having any cemeteries, but the claim isn’t exactly what it seems. In the early 20th Century, the city relocated more than 150,000 graves to the nearby town of Colma to make way for a rapidly growing population. But an estimated fifty to sixty thousand burials were quietly built over and forgotten, only to resurface every time a new building project began. The dead still lie beneath some of the city’s most cherished destinations, including the Legion of Honor, United Nations Plaza, the Asian Art Museum and the University of San Francisco. Join author Beth Winegarner as she maps the city's early burial grounds and brings back to life the dead who've been erased.
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Individual
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Book
Individual
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Book
Sing, I by Ethel Rohan
Inside Half Moon Bay, a sparkling California coastal town, Ester Prynn is dulled and diminished by struggles with work, money, marriage, her senile father, a troubled teenage son, and old guilt she can’t quiet. When a masked gunman robs the convenience store where Ester works, he upends her fraught life and propels her toward passions buried, like singing; desires discovered, like a same-sex infatuation; and wrongs righted, like bringing the violent assailant to justice. But as the armed robber commits more crimes and continues to evade capture, the trauma from the holdup climbs, threatening Ester’s newfound delights and longings and forcing her to contend with her burning regrets and what-ifs. In the reckoning between Ester and these growing, molten upsets, she’s faced with enormous choices and must determine what and who can bring her to her best life. Preorders are 40% off on the publisher's website through December 15, 2023 (Code: SNOW23).
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Individual
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Film
Individual
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Film
Full Grown Men by David Munro & Xandra Castleton
A man stuck in the reveries of his youth tracks down the boyhood friend he once tormented, only to find that simpler times were more complicated than he thought.
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Individual
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Talk
Individual
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Talk
The Poetry of Everyday Speech | Juliana Delgado
Juliana Delgado Lopera takes us on her journey arriving in the US as an immigrant girl with a love of language and storytelling, and learning that all English is not created equal. By way of public school and drag clubs, she comes to understand that how we approach language can confine us or free us. Juliana Delgado Lopera is an award-winning Colombian writer and historian. The recipient of the 2014 Jackson Literary award, she’s the author of Quiéreme and ¡Cuéntamelo!, an illustrated bilingual collection of oral histories by LGBT Latinx immigrants that won a 2018 Lambda Literary Award and a 2018 Independent Publisher Book Award. She's received fellowships from Brush Creek Foundation of the Arts, Lambda Literary Foundation, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and The SF Grotto, and an individual artist grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in Eleven Eleven, Midnight Breakfast, Foglifter, Four Way Review, Broadly, and TimeOut Mag. She’s the creative director of RADAR Productions, a queer literary non-profit. Follow her @julianadlopera.
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Individual
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Film
Individual
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Film
Stand Up Planet by David Munro & Xandra Castleton
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Individual
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Talk
Individual
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Talk
Throw out the checklisted childhood | Julie Lythcott-Haims
She will be speaking about the importance of maintaining a healthy mentality both in academia and in life. Julie Lythcott-Haims is the former Dean of Freshmen at Stanford University and author of forthcoming book 'How to Raise an Adult'.
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Individual
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Talk
Individual
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Talk
To raise brave girls, encourage adventure | Caroline Paul
Gutsy girls skateboard, climb trees, clamber around, fall down, scrape their knees, get right back up -- and grow up to be brave women. Learn how to spark a little productive risk-taking and raise confident girls with stories and advice from firefighter, paraglider and all-around adventurer Caroline Paul.
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Individual
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Talk
Individual
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Talk
Travel Writing and Global Change: Lavinia Spalding
Award-winning food and travel writer Lavinia Spalding encourages listeners to become travel writers, and speaks about how sharing travel stories can contribute to global understanding and change.
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Individual
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Talk
Individual
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Talk
Deep dive: What we are learning from the language of whales | James Nestor
With brains six times the size of our own, the planet’s greatest mammals force a rethink of our own place on planet Earth.James Nestor is an author and journalist who has written for Outside Magazine, Men’s Journal, National Public Radio, The New York Times, Scientific American, Dwell Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, and more. His book, DEEP: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What The Ocean Tells Us about Ourselves (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) was released in the United States and UK in June 2014.
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Collective
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Book
Collective
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Book
Writing Character
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Collective
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Book
Collective
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Book
Writing Sci-Fi & Fantasy
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Collective
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Book
Collective
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Book
Writing Memoir
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Collective
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Book
Collective
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Book
Writing Action
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Collective
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Book
Collective
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Book
Writing Dialogue
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Individual
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Talk
Individual
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Talk
How to Raise Successful Kids -- Without Over-Parenting | Julie Lythcott-Haims
By loading kids with high expectations and micromanaging their lives at every turn, parents aren't actually helping. At least, that's how Julie Lythcott-Haims sees it. With passion and wry humor, the former Dean of Freshmen at Stanford makes the case for parents to stop defining their children's success via grades and test scores. Instead, she says, they should focus on providing the oldest idea of all: unconditional love.
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Collective
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Book
Collective
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Book
Writing Humor
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Individual
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Talk
Individual
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Talk
When to use apostrophes - Laura McClure
It’s possessive. It’s often followed by S’s. And it’s sometimes tricky when it comes to its usage. It’s the apostrophe. Laura McClure gives a refresher on when to use apostrophes in writing.
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Individual
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Book
Individual
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Book
In the Time of Our History
"I fell in love with this jewel of a novel from the first page. It’s a universal tale that naturally leads to self-reflection and conversations about the changing relationship between mothers and daughters, and the choices we make, good and bad, early in life and late, which determine our identity." —Amy Tan, author of THE JOY LUCK CLUB. In a powerful novel that is at once a multi-generational Iranian-American saga and an intimate, moving story of mothers and daughters, Susanne Pari explores the entangled lives of the Jahani family, exiled and forging new lives in an America on the cusp of upheaval.
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Individual
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Book
Individual
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Book
Some Days The Bird
Throughout 2021, as COVID and climate change battled for supremacy in the hearts and minds of the world, American poet Heather Bourbeau and Irish-Australian poet Anne Casey engaged in a poetry conversation back and forth across the globe, alternating each week, to create 52 poems over 52 weeks. With poems anchored in their gardens, they buoyed each other through lockdowns and exile from family, through devastating floods, fires, wild winds and superstorms. Some Days The Bird, a collection of internationally recognized and award-winning poems, is the result of their weekly communiqués from different hemispheres (and opposing seasons) in verse.
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Individual
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Book
Individual
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Book
Forbidden City by Vanessa Hua
NATIONAL BESTSELLER • On the eve of China’s Cultural Revolution and her sixteenth birthday, Mei dreams of becoming a model revolutionary. When the Communist Party recruits girls for a mysterious duty in the capital, she seizes the opportunity to escape her impoverished village. It is only when Mei arrives at the Chairman’s opulent residence—a forbidden city unto itself—that she learns that the girls’ job is to dance with the Party elites. Ambitious and whip-smart, Mei beelines toward the Chairman. Mei gradually separates herself from the other recruits to become the Chairman’s confidante—and paramour. While he fends off political rivals, Mei faces down schemers from the dance troupe who will stop at nothing to take her place and the Chairman’s imperious wife, who has secret plans of her own. When the Chairman finally gives Mei a political mission, she seizes it with fervor, but the brutality of this latest stage of the revolution makes her begin to doubt all the certainties she has held so dear. Forbidden City is an epic yet intimate portrayal of one of the world’s most powerful and least understood leaders during this extraordinarily turbulent period in modern Chinese history. Mei’s harrowing journey toward truth and disillusionment raises questions about power, manipulation, and belief, as seen through the eyes of a passionate teenage girl.
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Collective
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Podcast
Collective
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Podcast
Episode 142: Dallas Woodburn’s ‘Best Week’
Novelist Dallas Woodburn joins us on the GrottoPod this week to read from her recent book, The Best Week that Never Happened, described as a “captivating, poignant story is perfect for teens on the brink of discovering who they are and what really matters.” Woodburn is a former Steinbeck fellow in creative writing and the author of two earlier books of short fiction, Woman, Running Late, in a Dress and 3 a.m. She is also the host of the popular book-lovers podcast “Overflowing Bookshelves,” and founder of the organization Write On! Books.
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Collective
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Podcast
Collective
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Podcast
Episode 141: Preeti Vangani On Writing From Bitterness
Preeti Vangani joins the GrottoPod this week to talk with producer Brad Balukjian about her evocative essay, “A Meditation on Bitterness,” published in Bending Genres. Vangani is a brand manager turned poet and personal essayist who authored Mother Tongue Apologize (RLFPA Editions), and won the RL India Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in BOAAT, Juked, Gulf Coast and Threepenny Review, among other journals. She is the Poetry Editor for Glass Journal.
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Collective
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Podcast
Collective
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Podcast
Episode 140: Tess Taylor’s Poetry of Place
Poet Tess Taylor, who published two collections this year, Last West: Roadsongs for Dorothea Lange and Rift Zone, joins us on the GrottoPod this week to read some of her poetry. Taylor is the author of three other books of poetry, including The Misremembered World, selected by Eavan Boland for the Poetry Society of America’s inaugural chapbook fellowship, and The Forage House, called “stunning” by The San Francisco Chronicle. Work & Days was named one of The New York Times best books of poetry of 2016. She’s also currently on the faculty of Ashland University’s Low-Res MFA Creative Writing Program.
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Collective
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Podcast
Collective
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Podcast
Episode 139: Roberto Lovato Reads from “Unforgetting”
Journalist and author Roberto Lovato returns to the GrottoPod this week to read from his debut book, Unforgetting: A Memoir of Family, Migration, Gangs and Revolution in the Americas. A recipient of a reporting grant from the Pulitzer Center, Lovato has reported on war, violence, terrorism in Mexico, Venezuela, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Paris and the United States. Until 2015, Lovato was a fellow at U.C. Berkeley’s Latinx Research Center and recently finished a teaching stint at UCLA. Lovato is also a Co-Founder of #DignidadLiteraria, the movement advocating for equity and literary justice for the more than 60 million Latinx persons left off of bookshelves of the United States and out of the national dialogue.
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Collective
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Podcast
Collective
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Podcast
Episode 138: Maw Shein Win Reads New Poems
Maw Shein Win returns to the GrottoPod this week to read from her new book of poetry, Storage Unit for the Spirit House. Win is a poet, editor, and educator who lives and teaches in the Bay Area. Her poetry chapbooks include Ruins of a Glittering Palace and Score and Bone. Invisible Gifts: Poems was published by Manic D Press in 2018. Win is the first poet laureate of El Cerrito, California (2016-2018). She often collaborates with visual artists, musicians, and other writers.
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