The Writers' Lunch: Telling Forgotten Stories | Mechanics' Institute

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The Writers' Lunch: Telling Forgotten Stories
moderated by Sheryl J. Bize-Boutte

Friday, July 21, 2023 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

This event will be conducted via Zoom. Register and you will be emailed the Zoom credentials.

How do you find, choose, and research histories that have been forgotten? How do you decide which form to pursue (article, nonfiction book, fiction book, poetry, etc.)? And how do you engage readers who might not be history buffs? Join three award-winning writers—poet Heather Bourbeau, journalist Alissa Greenberg, and author Julia Scheeres—as they discuss writing overlooked histories.

Heather Bourbeau’s poetry and fiction have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, The Kenyon Review, Meridian, and The Stockholm Review of Literature. A former journalist, she was a contributing writer to Not On Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond with Don Cheadle and John Prendergast. She has worked with various UN agencies, including the UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia and UNICEF Somalia. Her collection Some Days The Bird is a poetry conversation with the Irish-Australian poet Anne Casey (Beltway Editions, 2022). Her latest collection, Monarch, explores overlooked histories from the US West (Cornerstone Press, 2023).

Julia Scheeres is the author of the memoir Jesus Land, which was a New York Times and London Times bestseller and was named by Entertainment Weekly Magazine as one of the "Top 10 Memoirs." Her second book, the award-winning A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Jonestown, was included in The Guardian's "Top 10 Books About the 1970s.” Her third book, a biography called Listen, World!: How the Intrepid Elsie Robinson Became America’s Most-Read Woman was published in September 2022. She's contributes to the  New York Times Book Review and teaches creative writing through Stanford University’s extension program.

Award-winning author and Pushcart Prize nominee Sheryl J. Bize-Boutte is an Oakland multidisciplinary writer whose autobiographical and fictional short story collections, along with her lyrical and stunning poetry, artfully succeed in getting across deeper meanings about the politics of race and economics without breaking out of the narrative.  Her writing has been variously described as “rich in vivid imagery,” “incredible,” and “great contributions to literature.” Her first novel, Betrayal on the Bayou, was published in June 2020 and a poetry collection she has written with her daughter Dr. Angela M. Boutte, titled No Poetry No Peace™, was published in August 2020 and is the namesake of the No Poetry No Peace™ series at the Mechanics Institute of San Francisco. Her in progress novel first chapter, “The Burden Keeper,” was the 2021 fiction category winner for the San Francisco Writers Conference writing contest anthology. An inaugural Oakland Poet Laureate runner-up, she is also a popular, teacher, literary reader, presenter, storyteller, curator, and emcee/host for literary and poetry events. Find out more at

The Writers' Lunch is a casual and virtual brown-bag lunch activity on the 3rd Friday of each month. Look forward to craft discussion, informal presentations on all forms of writing, and excellent conversation. Please contact Taryn Edwards if you have any questions or if you would like to be a panelist - [email protected]

Join us, share and learn!


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