Left Coast Writers

POSTPONED: Jaime Lowe - Breathing Fire (Corte Madera Store)

Tuesday, September 7, 2021 - 5:30pm

Book Passage Presents

POSTPONED • Corte Madera Store

Please note: This event has been postponed and will be rescheduled for a later date. This event will be hosted in-person at Book Passage's Corte Madera location.

A dramatic, revelatory account of the female inmate firefighters who battle California wildfires.

Shawna was overcome by the claustrophobia, the heat, the smoke, the fire, all just down the canyon and up the ravine. She was feeling the adrenaline, but also the terror of doing something for the first time. She knew how to run with a backpack; they had trained her physically. But that’s not training for flames. That’s not live fire.

California’s fire season gets hotter, longer, and more extreme every year — fire season is now year-round. Of the thousands of firefighters who battle California’s blazes every year, roughly 30 percent of the on-the-ground wildland crews are inmates earning a dollar an hour. Approximately 200 of those firefighters are women serving on all-female crews.

In Breathing Fire, Jaime Lowe expands on her revelatory work for The New York Times Magazine. She has spent years getting to know dozens of women who have participated in the fire camp program and spoken to captains, family and friends, correctional officers, and camp commanders. The result is a rare, illuminating look at how the fire camps actually operate — a story that encompasses California’s underlying catastrophes of climate change, economic disparity, and historical injustice, but also draws on deeply personal histories, relationships, desires, frustrations, and the emotional and physical intensity of firefighting.

Lowe’s reporting is a groundbreaking investigation of the prison system, and an intimate portrayal of the women of California’s Correctional Camps who put their lives on the line, while imprisoned, to save a state in peril.

Jaime Lowe is the author of Mental, a memoir about lithium and bipolar disorder, and Digging for Dirt: The Life and Death of ODB, a biography of Ol' Dirty Bastard, a founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan. She is a frequent contributor to the New York Times Magazine and other national and international publications. Lowe has contributed to This American Life and Radiolab, and has been featured on NPR and WNYC numerous times.


Jaime Lowe photo by Phillip Montgomery


51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Left Coast Writers®: Diane LeBow - Dancing on the Wine-Dark Sea (Corte Madera Store)

Saturday, July 10, 2021 - 2:00pm

Book Passage & Left Coast Writers® Presents

Sat., July 10, 2021 • 2:00pm PT • Live • Book Passage Patio

This event will be held outside on the patio at Book Passage's Corte Madera location.

Diane LeBow's stories, like her life, take you to places and experiences you've probably never imagined. They are passionate, poignant, funny, sometimes tragic, and always unexpected. Share a meal with Corsican rebels in the ragged mountains of this ancient island, meet a black stallion in a blizzard on the Mongolian steppes, assist Afghan women exiled in Tajikistan in writing a Declaration of their Rights for the new Constitution, and savor a love affair with an elegant French Baron.

LeBow gives us peeks behind the curtains into women's and men's lives around the world in our search for answers to universal human questions such as how to experience the best our world offers, ways to balance our desire for love with yearning for freedom and adventure, and longing for a sense of home within ourselves and in our worlds.

"In this glorious memoir, Diane LeBow weaves together the colorful threads of an adventurous woman's life and takes us along on an invigorating and thoughtful journey through memory,culture, rebellion, and self-discovery."
Jasmin Darznik,
New York Times bestselling author of The Bohemians

"A keenly observed travel memoir of a passionate woman’s odyssey; from her awakening to sensual adventures and trail blazing on different continents. LeBow explores l’amour from a love affair with a French baron to seduction in St Tropez, and a liaison in a tomb with the view of the pyramids. A rollicking read!"
Cara Black,
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of nineteen books in the Private Investigator Aimée Leduc series, set in Paris

Diane LeBow is an award-winning writer and photojournalist, professor emerita, and president emerita of the Bay Area Travel Writers. Her work has appeared in multiple anthologies, including Best Women's Travel Writing, and numerous other publications. She received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Douglass College (Rutgers University) for her writing, photojournalism, women's rights work, and as a pioneer of women's studies and innovative college teaching in Paris, Holland, and the USA. She earned one of the first Ph.D's in Women's Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz. Her travels have taken her to almost 100 countries.


51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Left Coast Writers®: Laurie McAndish King - An Elephant Ate My Arm (Corte Madera Store)

Saturday, June 12, 2021 - 2:00pm

Book Passage & Left Coast Writers® Presents

Sat., June 12, 2021 • 2:00pm PT • Live • Book Passage Patio

This event will be held outside on the patio at Book Passage's Corte Madera location.

Left Coast Writers® at Book Passage is pleased to present the latest book by Laurie McAndish King, An Elephant Ate My Arm: More True Stories from a Curious Traveler.

The third book in a series that includes Lost, Kidnapped and Eaten Alive and Your Crocodile Has Arrived, this new collection of travel tales is far-ranging, exciting, and often hilarious. Laurie’s reading will be accompanied by wine, snacks and Cuban salsa music (possibly dance lessons, too).

“Halfway through An Elephant Ate My Arm, King describes her own method: 'I had a nose for weirdness.' Indeed, King finds weirdness and wonderfulness all over the world, and she describes both with verve and humor. But something else is at play here: a willingness to explore not just the outer world, but the inner one, too. To this personal journey she brings understated grace.”

Constance Hale, journalist, travel writer, and author of Sin and Syntax

Laurie McAndish King is an award-winning travel writer and photographer whose stories have aired on NPR and been published in Lonely Planet, Travelers’ Tales, and other literary anthologies. Her articles and photography have also been published in magazines such as the San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, Marin magazine, and Smithsonian.


51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Left Coast Writers®: David Downie with Don George - Red Riviera (Online Event)

Monday, July 5, 2021 - 12:00pm


Book Passage & Left Coast Writers® Presents

Mon., July 5, 2021 • 12:00pm PT • Live • Online

In conversation with Don George

This event will be broadcast live and does not require registration to attend. To view, click the "Watch Here" button at the time of the event, or subscribe to our e-newsletter to receive a ten-minute reminder.


Its jaws open wide, a firefighting seaplane skims the glittering Gulf of Portofino on Italy’s jagged Ligurian coast, scooping up a lone swimmer named Joe Gary. The super-rich, retired Italian-American has mob connections and a dirty political past. Has he been snatched by accident or murdered? Red Riviera, Commissioner Daria Vinci’s first investigation, is a wild ride from the tangled trails of the Cinque Terre to glamorous Portofino to roistering Genoa. It’s a Riviera made red by riotous bougainvillea and spilled blood. Half-American, Daria Vinci is an outsider, the unlikely rising star of Genoa’s secretive Special Operations Directorate DIGOS. In Red Riviera, she must face down a Fascist police chief, the CIA’s local mastermind, a former World War Two Spitfire fighter pilot, and a plucky hundred-year-old marquise whose memory is as long as it is vengeful, in order to solve her case.

David Downie is the award-winning author of three previous crime-mystery novels and over a dozen acclaimed nonfiction books translated into a variety of foreign languages, including French, Italian, Chinese, and Korean. His articles and essays have appeared in anthologies, magazines, and newspapers worldwide. Downie was born in San Francisco and graduated from UC Berkeley and Brown University. He is married to photographer Alison Harris. Since 1986 he has divided his time between Italy, France, and California. Find more at davidddownie.com.

Don George is the author of The Way of Wanderlust: The Best Travel Writing of Don George and of Lonely Planet's Guide to Travel Writing and the editor of ten anthologies, including A Moveable Feast, The Kindness of Strangers, Better Than Fiction, and An Innocent Abroad. George is Editor at Large for National Geographic Traveler, where he writes feature articles and the monthly Trip Lit column. He is also Editor of BBC Travel's literary travel column, Chance Encounters.


David Downie photo by Alison Harris; Don George photo courtesy of author


Left Coast Writers — Wandering in Greece: Athens, Islands, and Antiquities (Online Event)

Thursday, March 18, 2021 - 5:00pm

Thursday, March 18th, 2021

Online • Live • 5:00pm PT/8:00pm ET

WIth Linda Watanabe McFerrin and Joanna Biggar


Please join Left Coast Writers for an online book event featuring the eighth anthology of award winning travel writing from Wanderland Writers, Wandering in Greece: Athens, Islands, and Antiquities with editors Linda Watanabe McFerrin and Joanna Biggar and some of their contributors.

Once again workshop leaders Linda Watanabe McFerrin and Joanna Biggar take Wanderland Writers on another adventure—this time to Greece to wander amid its islands, its rocky shores, and upon those wine-dark seas of legend and lore where they discover how travelers who come to Greece as seekers find not only Greece, but, as Lawrence Durrellonce wrote, themselves—and generally so much more—on the journey.

Stone, marble, mountain, sea, and sky framed by endless blue—these are the elemental foundations of Greece, just as Greece is the elemental foundation of Western Civilization. For thousands of years Greece and its culture, philosophy, politics, and spirit has inspired and influenced the lives of generations. In Wandering in Greece, this talented and inquisitive group of writers has captured some of the joy, warmth, grace, and wisdom of Greece and its people. These stories, poems, and images will remind a whole new group of travelers that a visit is a must, and those who have already ventured in Greece that they have to return.
—Ambassador Eleni Kounalakis, ret., Lt. Governor of California

Contributors include Daphne Beyers, Joanna Biggar, Sandra Bracken, Connie Burke, Barbara J. Euser, Annelize Goedbloed, Thomas Harrell, Donna Hemmila, Laurie McAndish King, Linda Watanabe McFerrin, Gayle McGill, Mary Jean Pramik, and Anne Sigmon. For more information, go to wanderlandwriters.com.

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, basked in the magic of Cuba 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.


Left Coast Writers Panel: In Search of Sanctuary (Online Event)

Wednesday, February 10, 2021 - 4:00pm

Wednesday, February 10th, 2021

Online • Live • 4:00pm PT/7:00pm ET

Featuring Cindy Rasicot, Veena Rao,

Judith Teitelman, and Anniqua Rana

The search for sanctuary—safe haven—is not uncommon throughout time, history, and geography—most especially during uncertain times like ours when many people are feeling insecure. In this hour-long program, listen to four authors discuss the unique paths they chose for their characters to find sanctuary:

  • An immigrant woman who is trapped in a loveless abusive marriage realizes self-love is a powerful force
  • A baby abandoned and covered in flies is raised by two mothers
  • A Northern California housewife is ordained in the Thai Buddhist tradition
  • A woman had a glimpse, a taste of her ultimate destination, and was unwavering in her quest

Join us for a Zoom panel on February 10th at 4pm, introduced by Left Coast Writers Founder Linda Watanabe McFerrin, featuring four authors published by She Writes Press, an award-winning, female-run hybrid publisher of novels, memoirs, and nonfiction work by female authors.

Cindy Rasicot received her master’s degree in marriage, family, and child counseling. Her work in the nonprofit sector spanned twenty-five years, and included management positions in performing arts organizations, mental health services, and university settings. She is a student of dance and has a lifelong passion for the arts. Her article “Visiting Venerable Dhammananda,” describing her early visits to Dhammananda’s monastery, Songdhammakalyani Temple, was published in Sawasdee Magazine in 2007. Her work has been featured in two anthologies: Wandering in Paris: Luminaries and Love in the City of Light and A Café in Space: The Anaïs Nin Literary Journal, Volume 11. In 2014 Cindy returned to Thailand to be ordained by Dhammananda. She is the author of the memoir Finding Venerable Mother.

Veena Rao was born and raised in India but calls Atlanta home. A journalist by profession, she is the founding editor and publisher of NRI Pulse, a popular Indian-American newspaper. Although her day job involves news reports, interviews, and meeting press deadlines, she devotes her spare time to creative writing and long walks in the woods. Purple Lotus, her debut novel, is the winner of the She Writes Press and SparkPress Toward Equality in Publishing (STEP) contest.

Judith Teitelman has straddled the worlds of arts, literature, and business since she was a teenager and worked her first job as a salesperson at a B. Dalton/Pickwick Bookstore. Life’s journeys took her from bookstores to commercial fine art galleries to the nonprofit arts and cultural sector, in which she has worked as staff, consultant, and educator for more than three decades. Throughout this time, Teitelman continued her pursuit of all things literary. Guesthouse for Ganesha is her debut novel.

Anniqua Rana lives in California with her husband and two sons. When she’s not working as an educator in the community college system, she visits her family in Pakistan and England. The rest of the time, she reads, cooks, travels, and enjoys mystical music and poetry and does whatever it takes to keep her grounded and happy. She is the author of Wild Boar in the Cane Field.


Book Passage & Left Coast Writers: America After November 3rd (Virtual Event)

Monday, October 26, 2020 - 5:00pm

Presented with Left Coast Writers®
Monday, October 26, 5:00pm PT/8:00pm ET • Virtual Event

A special thanks to Travelers’ Tales and Executive Editor Larry Habegger for hosting this event!

This special event will introduce Left Coast Writers® to the broader community and showcase the many programs that it offers to authors. As part of the evening LCW, is hosting a special discussion that will look at the future of our country through the eyes of two authors who have written recently about the political crisis our country is facing.

America After November 3rd: A Discussion Led by Mort Rosenblum and Bill Petrocelli

Mort Rosenblum is a famed international-affairs reporter for the AP and Intl Herald-Tribune. He is editor of the popular site mortreport.org and author of Saving our World From Trump.

Bill Petrocelli is a lawyer, novelist, bookseller, and author of Electoral Bait & Switch: How the Electoral College Hurts American Voters and What Can Be Done About It.

Left Coast Writers® has been providing support and inspiration to writers in Northern California for more than 17 years. Through its monthly meetings and frequent book events, it provides literary connections, mutual support,readings, writing tips, literary chats, unabashed networking, and great fun. LCW hosts many activities to launch the books of members and explore publishing alternatives. LCW writers are often featured at Book Passage events. Left Coast Writers is led by famed writer, editor, and teacher Linda Watanabe McFerrin.

Left Coast Writers® Salon: An Evening of Mystery with Cara Black and Kelli Stanley (Corte Madera Store)

Monday, March 2, 2020 - 7:00pm

Left Coast Writers® will be hosting an evening full of mystery for its members and friends at Book Passage! Join authors Cara Black and Kelli Stanley as they preview some of the secrets of ingenious plotting and craft that will be explored at the 2020 Book Passage Mystery Writers Conference where they will both serve as guest faculty. There will be a panel discussion about the genre, their contributions, what works for them, what doesn’t work, and how to keep readers turning pages and trying to anticipate twists and turns while perched on the edge of their seats.

The panelist/attendee Q&A should allow everyone to leave no stone unturned. And, in keeping with the theme of the evening, we have a pleasant reveal in store for our members.

That bit is a surprise!

Cara Black is the author of nineteen books in the New York Times bestselling Aimée Leduc series and author of the forthcoming Three Hours in Paris, due out in April. She has received multiple nominations for the Anthony and Macavity Awards, and her books have been translated into German, Norwegian, Japanese, French, Spanish, Italian, and Hebrew. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and son and visits Paris frequently.

Kelli Stanley is an award-winning and critically acclaimed American author of mystery-thrillers. The majority of her published fiction is written in the genres of historical crime fiction and noir. Her best known work, the Miranda Corbie series, is set in San Francisco, her adoptive hometown.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

POSTPONED: Left Coast Writers®: Sheldon Greene - Waiting for the Messiah (San Francisco Ferry Building Store)

Monday, March 9, 2020 - 6:00pm

Please note: This event has been postponed due to concerns for the health and well-being of our community. For updates on this event and for additional event information, please subscribe to our e-newsletter.

Left Coast Writers® Event!

When the Bolton Jewish Community converts a disused retirement home into a boarding school and hires a Russian refugee to direct it and the retirees as staff, the small town of Bolton, Pennsylvania celebrates the change. But when the director admits a Palestinian boy, schedules Palestine National Day and a fundraiser for a Catholic homeless shelter, the family that endowed the retirement home fifty years earlier sues to regain their trust fund. This action sets in motion a series of events that results in the notion that the school director might be Jesus Christ himself. But is he? Waiting for the Messiah, the sequel to the critically-acclaimed novel Lost and Found, is a modern-day imagining of the second coming of Christ to a small Jewish community. Full of warmth, humor and the celebration of the extraordinary in the ordinary, it appeals to the faithful of all religions and iconoclasts alike.

Of Sheldon Greene's six novels, five draw strongly upon his experience with and knowledge of the Jewish faith. Ranging from fact-based history to flights of imagination, he uses his novels to explore such subjects as Jews in the American Revolution, Jewish influence on pre-Colombian culture, the Israeli War of Independence, and the impact of the Holocaust on creativity. Greene was appointed Warden of Insurance of the State of Ohio at age 23. A public interest lawyer, he pursued seminal issues—such as the United States' flawed health delivery system, the impact of illegal immigration on the economy, renewable energy, and public land policies—decades before they achieved national attention. He was a participant in the first Obama national policy team for both immigration and energy. He was one of the founders of the New Israel Fund and helped formulate its unique structure, drawing on his experience as General Counsel of California Rural Legal Assistance. He is an executive in a wind energy development company and has been actively engaged in renewable energy for over 25 years. He advocates the formulation of a God concept derived from the life process, stripped of anachronistic anthropomorphic characteristics. He has developed personal guidelines for a balanced, seamless life with spiritual, intellectual, social, and creative dimensions.

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111

POSTPONED: Left Coast Writers® Launch: Joan Steidinger - Stand Up and Shout Out (Corte Madera Store)

Saturday, March 14, 2020 - 7:00pm

Please note: This event has been postponed due to concerns for the health and well-being of our community. For updates on this event and for additional event information, please subscribe to our e-newsletter.

Today, women have greater opportunities to participate in sport than ever before, particularly due to the passage of Title IX in 1972. Yet, despite all this growth, women still struggle to hold leadership positions, become coaches of both girls and boys teams, receive equal pay, and even get adequate coverage in the media. In Stand Up and Shout Out: Women's Fight for Equality in Sports, Joan Steidinger explores the three crucial areas in sport that remain huge concerns for women: leadership, money, and media. Steidinger looks at the number of ways in which women experience vast inequalities by examining topics such as the politics of sport, sexual assault, the #MeToo movement, pay equity, women in coaching positions, and the experiences of women of color and LGBTQ athletes. Interviews with leading authorities in the field and prominent female athletes are interwoven throughout to add both expert and personal perspectives to the conversation. Stand Up and Shout Out does more than just inform readers about these important issues; its purpose is to create enlightened discussions around the unequal treatment of women and present readers with "action steps" so we can all become active contributors toward improving this situation. This is an ideal time to fight for women's equality in sport, as it draws attention to the growing need for advocacy for girls and women around the world in all areas of life.

Joan Steidinger is a licensed clinical and sports psychologist. She is designated as a Certified Mental Performance Consultant by the Association of Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) and is on the United States Olympic Committee's (USOC) Registry of Sports Psychology. Dr. Steidinger has worked with sport psychology clients for twenty-seven years, including with pro and amateur athletes. Dr. Steidinger's first book about female athletes, Sisterhood in Sports: How Female Athletes Collaborate and Compete (2014), won five literary awards. Dr. Steidinger lives in Mill Valley, California.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925


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