Noe Valley Voice March 2012

What’s in a Word Week?

Poets, Authors, Pols, and Contest Winners

By Olivia Boler


Phoenix Books at 3957 24th St. is the site for a literary feast and a 27th anniversary celebration on Thursday, March 15. 


Noe Valley's annual celebration of the written word will run March 11 to 17, and this year the event has a new nom de plume.

Formerly Noe Valley Celebrates the Book,the six-year-old festival is now  Noe Valley Word Week,say Peggy Cling and Richard May, the Friends of Noe Valley  authorsof the event.

Literature is more than just books,May says.  Its poetry and scrolls and ebooks, too. And Word Week sounds kind of catchy.

Taking a cue from its fabulous big sisterSan Franciscos annual literary festival LitquakeWord Week has a little something for almost everyone, from kids to cooks.

Each day of the week has a theme, and audience participation is encouraged with the online inclusion of scribes who submitted prose or poetry to the Friends of Noe Valley by March 1.

Word Week officially kicks off on Sunday, March 11, from 3 to 4 p.m., at the Noe Valley Library on Jersey Street. Local celebrities will read from their favorite books and words of inspiration. Readers will include State Senator Mark Leno, Supervisor Scott Wiener, Noe Valley poet Ramon Sender, Noe Valley Association director Debra Niemann, and District 8’s former supervisor, Bevan Dufty, as well as his daughter Sydney.

On Monday, March 12, the fun continues with two events. The first takes place at Omnivore Books on Food, located on Cesar Chavez Street near Church Street. From 6 to 7 p.m., Chloe Coscarelli, author of Chloe’s Kitchen: 125 Easy, Delicious Recipes for Making Food You Love the Vegan Way, will be on hand. Chef Chloe gained fame after becoming the first vegan chef to win the “Cupcake Wars,” a Food Network series.


Even Monday

After you’ve tasted the delights of the cookbook realm, head over to Phoenix Books on 24th Street for Nonfiction Night from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Organizing this event are Judy Levy-Sender and Ramon Sender, of the Odd Mondays Series. They will step out of the box a little, since, as Cling points out, “this will be an even Monday.” 

The lineup is full of local literary luminaries including the prolific Bill Yenne with his latest publication, Cities of Gold. Ginny Pizzardi, author of Lessons in Loss, will join him. Sydney Gurewitz Clemens is a teacher who has written a book titled Pay Attention to the Children. Rev. Robert Warren Cromey, a retired Episcopalian priest who speaks out about the rights of gays, will have his book, Sex Priest. Mike Miller, author of A Community Organizer’s Tale, rounds out the evening.


Publishing Tips

Aspiring authors won’t want to miss the next event. The theme for Tuesday, March 13, is “How I Got My First Book Published.” From 7 to 8:30 p.m. at St. Philip Church on Diamond Street, join four authors as they read from their books and talk about their experiences in the publishing world. Chris Cole has an unpublished book, which May says is in the hands of a literary agent and is making the rounds of New York publishing houses. Julia Flynn Siler has made a splash withLost Kingdom: Hawaii’s Last Queen, the Sugar Kings, and America’s First Imperial Adventure. Michael Aleynikov is the award-winning author of the novel-in-stories Ivan and Misha, and Carolyn Cooke penned a novel, Daughters of the Revolution, that wowed the Chronicle. 

Wednesday, March 14, brings Word Week devotees back to Omnivore with a new cookbook from Kathy Gunst, Notes from a Maine Kitchen: Seasonally Inspired Recipes. The event is from 6 to 7 p.m.


New Voices

On Thursday, March 15, Phoenix Books celebrates its 27th anniversary with a reading, music, and food, starting at 6: 30 p.m. The reading will feature fiction and poetry by “New Bay Area Voices,” including six graduating MFA students from various San Francisco universities.

On Friday, it’s all about the kids with a reading of winning literature by students from Noe Valley schools, including Alvarado Elementary, James Lick Middle School, and St. Philip School. Cling, a retired teacher, is particularly excited about this event. “The children’s stories will be online at the Friends of Noe Valley website (, and some submissions might be in Spanish since there are language immersion programs at Lick and Alvarado.” The schools will select the final winners. Join them from 4 to 5 p.m., at the Noe Valley Library.


A Taste of Paris

Noe Valley Word Week wraps up on Saturday, March 17, with “A Taste of Paris: Words, Wine, and Crime!” 

At Le Zinc French Bistro on 24th Street, Noe Valley mystery writer Cara Black will read from her latest in the Aimée Leduc series, Murder at the Lanterne Rouge, which received a starred review in Publishers’ Weekly. This is also the one paid event of the week, and a ticket ($62) includes appetizers, wine, the reading, and a signed hardcover copy of Black’s book. Reservations are required and can be made by stopping by Le Zinc, calling the restaurant at 647-9400, or going to the website 

May and Cling encourage everyone to check out the prose and poetry submissions on the Friends of Noe Valley website and to look there for more information. “The purpose of these events is to connect neighbors,” says Cling. “Word Week is a good way to bring people together through words and writing.”