t 28 years old, Eli "Berg" Koenigsberg has never encountered a challenge he couldn't push through, until a head injury leaves him with lingering headaches and a weakness for opiates. Berg moves to a remote Northern California town, seeking space and time to recover, but soon finds himself breaking into homes in search of pills. Addled by addiction and chronic pain, Berg meets Alejandro, a reclusive, master boatbuilder, and begins to see a path forward. Written in gleaming prose, this is a story about resilience, community, and what it takes to win back your soul. This book was long-listed for the 2018 National Book Award for Fiction.
Daniel Gumbiner was born and raised in Northern California. He graduated from UC Berkeley in 2011 and now lives in Southern Nevada. His first book, The Boatbuilder, was nominated for the National Book Award.
Kevin Smokler is the author of 3 books on popular culture: Brat Pack America: A Love Letter to 80s Teen Movies, which Library Journal called "an absolute delight"; Practical Classics: 50 Reasons to Reread 50 Books You Haven't Touched Since High School, which Atlantic Wire called, "So much fun!"; and Bookmark Now, a San Francisco Chronicle Notable Book of the Year. His essays and critical criticism have appeared in Salon, Vulture, The Los Angeles Times, Buzzfeed and on NPR. He has presented on the arts and cultural engagement at film festivals, conferences, libraries and universities throughout North America.
The Rising Writers Series is a forum for the Bay Area's emerging authors to discuss the cultural issues that matter to them. By presenting conversations between writers on the rise, their peers or mentors, we give authors a stage to celebrate their work and examine the inspirations and challenges they face in California today. Co-curated and hosted by Theodore Gioia.
Theodore Gioia is a critic living in San Francisco. His work has appeared in The Believer, The American Scholar, Los Angeles Review of Books, It’s Nice That, and Virginia Quarterly Review. Currently, he is writing a book of essays about the evolution of California culture framed through food and arts. Theodore is also the former Partnerships Director of McSweeney's, the co-curator of the "Rising Writers" series at the Mechanics Institute, and the founder of the upcoming site Forktongue interviewing food critics on the future of food writing.
FREE TO ALL, Reservations required
May 21 - 6:00pm