Upcoming Literary Events

Literary Events Archive

Ethel Rohan Book Reading • Feb 23

Join Ethel Rohan for a reading and signing of her debut novel, The Weight of Him, at Bookshop West Portal, San Francisco.

The Weight of Him tells the story of Billy Brennan. At four hundred pounds, Billy can always count on food. From his earliest memories, he has loved food’s colors, textures and tastes. The way flavors go off in his mouth. How food keeps his mind still and his bad feelings quiet. Food has always made everything better, until the day Billy’s beloved son Michael takes his own life. Billy determines to make a difference in Michael’s memory and undertakes a public weight-loss campaign, to raise money for suicide prevention—his first step in an ambitious plan to save himself, and to save others. However, Billy’s dramatic crusade appalls his family, who want to simply try to go on.

The Weight of Him conjures all the grief and regret of a family who has suffered an insurmountable loss. Out of this burning sorrow rises Billy Brennan, a father who attempts the seemingly impossible – to change the world. Ethel Rohan captures a blend of humor and tragedy that is entirely true to family, hometown, and our own private struggles. Poignant and inspiring.”–Eowyn Ivey, author of The Snow Child


Judy Wells/Dale Jensen Poetry Reading • Feb 17

Dale Jensen and Judy Wells will read their poetry at 7 pm on Friday, February 17th, at Expressions Gallery, 2035 Ashby Avenue in Berkeley.

Judy Wells, educated at Stanford and UC Berkeley, has published eleven poetry books. Her latest poetry collection, The Glass Ship (Sugartown, 2014), completes her trilogy of Irish-themed works, including Everything Irish and Call Home (Scarlet Tanager Books). She has three works-in-progress: her New England-to-California Dickinson ancestor project, “The Old People Monologues from A-Z,” and “Night at the Musée d’Orsay: Poems of Paris and other Great European Cities.”

Dale Jensen’s poetry is heavily influenced by the Surrealists and such cut-up writers as William Burroughs and Brion Gysin. He published and edited the experimental poetry magazine Malthus from 1986 through 1989 and has published several books through Malthus Press.

Judy Wells website

Expressions Gallery, Berkeley website

ILHS Speaker Series 2017

Matt Spangler, Feb 26. The Irish Literary & Historical Society is planning two very special events for the months of February and March. In February they present a talk by ILHS Vice President, playwright and academic Matthew Spangler. Spangler, a Professor of Performance Studies at San Jose State University, will present a talk titled “Walking in the City: A Kurdish Asylum-Seeker’s Arrival in Dublin”.

Over the last ten years, Spangler has conducted a number of ethnographic interviews with a Kurdish asylum-seeker and now refugee living in Dublin, Ireland. A former member of the PKK – the Kurdish separatist organization, labeled a terrorist group by the U.S. and many Western European countries – he left Iran because, as he put it, he was too “old to be fighting and living in the mountains anymore.” Eventually he ended up alone and wandering the streets of Dublin, which he initially took to be Toronto. In Ireland he requested asylum and, after five years of hearings, rejections, threatened deportations, and appeals, was awarded refugee status. This presentation will focus on his first morning in Dublin, and subsequent application for refugee status. The talk will take place on Sunday, February 26 at 5pm at the United Irish Cultural Center, 45th Avenue and Sloat Blvd., San Francisco.

Annual Banquet, March 19. The ILHS presents their annual St. Patrick’s Banquet on Sunday, March 19 at the Saint Patrick’s Ballroom in the United Irish Cultural Center. This year’s event features harpist and storyteller Patrick Ball, with song and dramatic reading by Esther Mulligan, and music by fiddler, Anne Goess.

Contact Eileen Kivlehan at (415) 681-2078, or Brian Whitty at (925) 925-9015 with inquiries.




Remembering Tom Hayden • Feb 9

Tom Hayden, who passed away last October, was an iconic figure in America’s anti-war movement and a campaigner over many years for peace and justice in Northern Ireland. He led an extraordinary life of organizing, writing, and political reform. He put himself on the line during Mississippi Summer in 1964, was a principal opponent of the Vietnam War, a defendant in the Chicago Seven trial, and served nearly 20 years in the California legislature. He was the principal author in 1962 of the founding manifesto of Students for a Democratic Society. This event offers an occasion to think more deeply about the prospects of change and making history in America, past, present, and future.

Moderated by Steve Wasserman, Executive Director of Heyday with Honorable Mayor Willie Brown, Clara Bingham, author of Witness to the Revolution, and “Yippie Girl” Judy Gumbo Albert.

6:00pm. Mechanics’ Institute. more

Co-sponsored by City Lights Books & Publishing

Writing Groups & Workshops •

Crossroads Writers’ Salon • Mar 26

The Crossroads Salon is a forum for writers and artists who have Irish or Irish-American heritages or are interested in exploring Irish-American themes, as well as for readers and viewers who want to participate in this exploration. Participants are invited to bring original work or the work of others (poetry, prose, visual or performance art). This relaxed and convivial event will be held in a private home in San Francisco RSVP for more information. 707-235-9858.

Eanlaí Cronin Workshops


Alameda-based Irish writer Eanlaí Cronin’s workshops are based on the Amherst Writers and Artists Method, which believes that every person is a writer, and every writer deserves a safe environment in which to experiment, learn, and develop craft. Each workshop drops writers easily and instantly into the core content asking to be written through them, whether it is poetry, fiction, memoir or journal and process writing. Participants write to carefully prepared prompts designed to prime the creative pump, read their work aloud (though not required), and give and receive positive feedback using a simple and skillful AWA format. Open to writers of all ability levels.

Six-week program currently running Tuesday nights, and Wednesday mornings to Feb 22. For further info email eanlaicronin@gmail.com

Join Eanlai on Sunday, February 5, 2017, for a monthly writing group full of prompts, positive feedback and chatty tea breaks. Or on Saturday, February 18, 2017 for a One-Day Writing Retreat. No previous writing experience is required. Just book your place in advance and take the Amherst Writers and Artists Method for a test drive.

Have questions? Email Eanlai at eanlaicronin@gmail.com for more information or to save your spot .

The time spent in Eanlai’s writing workshop has been a profound healing experience for me. Eanlai creates a space for creativity with the freedom to express yourself without inhibition.  The healing is not just from my own writing, but from hearing the words and wisdom of the other writers in the group.  It is mystical. – Sharon Kuhn, Fremont, CA

2016: In Memory of Eddie Stack

eddiefrontIn Memoriam – Oct 27th – An evening of stories for Eddie Stack  (1950-2016)

(event has passed)

Eddie Stack, a beloved teacher and friend, admired writer, and talented musician, left us on July 4, 2016.  The Program in Celtic Studies at UC-Berkeley, together with the Irish Literary and Historical Society of San Francisco, propose to hold an evening of story-telling in his memory. Stories about Eddie, stories we heard Eddie tell, stories Eddie would have liked. Scheduled speakers will include Robert Tracy (Professor Emeritus, Department of English) and there will be an open mic after the scheduled speakers.  Refreshments will be served in 371 Dwinelle.   6-9 PM, October 27, 2016, 370 Dwinelle Hall, on the UC-Berkeley campus

See Irish Times obituary