Craft & the Creative Life: The Art of the Novel

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Craft & the Creative Life: The Art of the Novel

Kirstin Chen, K.M. Soehnlein, Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, and Jasmin Darznik discuss the art and craft of writing a novel.

By Litquake, San Francisco's Literary Festival

When and where

Date and time

Starts on Sunday, June 11 · 3pm PDT


The American Bookbinders Museum 355 Clementina Street San Francisco, CA 94103

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About this event

  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Mobile eTicket

How do novelists structure their writing and their writing day? How do they research their ideas? Must you only write about what you know? How do they find a community of fellow authors who can act as sounding boards during the process? Three bestselling novelists will discuss their art and craft, including Kirstin Chen, K.M. Soehnlein, and Margaret Wilkerson Sexton. Moderated by Jasmin Darznik.

Ticket includes 1 complimentary drink at the Craft & Creative Life Happy Hour

Saturday, June 10, 5-7:30pm

Executive Order, 868 Mission Street


Kirstin Chen is the New York Times best-selling author of three novels. Her latest, Counterfeit, is a Reese's Book Club pick, a Roxane Gay Book Club pick, and a New York Times Editors’ Choice. Her previous two novels are Bury What We Cannot Take, and Soy Sauce for Beginners. Born and raised in Singapore, she currently lives in New York City.

Chia-Chia Lin is the author of The Unpassing (FSG 2019), which won the 2020 Clark Fiction Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critic Circle’s John Leonard Prize. She graduated with an MFA in Fiction from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Her short stories and essays have appeared in The Paris Review,, The New York Times, Zyzzyva, and more. She currently lives in Northern California.

K.M. Soehnlein is author of the novels Army of Lovers, finalist for the Foreward Indies Award in LGBTQ+ Fiction; The World of Normal Boys, winner of the Lambda Award; You Can Say You Knew Me When, and Robin and Ruby, along with essays and journalism in numerous publications. He is the recipient of the Henfield Prize for short fiction, and the SFFILM Rainin Grant in Screenwriting. He received an MFA from San Francisco State University, and teaches at the University of San Francisco MFA in Writing Program. Raised in New Jersey, he lived in New York City during the AIDS crisis, participating in direct action with ACT UP, and cofounding Queer Nation, all of which inform his 2022 novel, Army of Lovers. He currently lives in San Francisco.

Margaret Wilkerson Sexton studied creative writing at Dartmouth College and law at UC Berkeley. Her most recent novel On the Rooftop was a Reese’s Book Club pick. Her novel The Revisioners won a 2020 Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize, an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work, and was a national bestseller as well as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Her debut novel, A Kind of Freedom, was long-listed for the National Book Award. She lives in Oakland with her family.

Jasmin Darznik is the New York Times bestselling author of three books, including The Bohemians. Darznik's debut novel, Song of a Captive Bird, was both a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and a Los Angeles Times bestseller. Darznik is also the author of The Good Daughter: A Memoir of My Mother’s Hidden Life. Her books have been published in 18 countries and her essays have appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times, among others. She holds an MFA in fiction from Bennington College, a J.D. from the University of California, and a Ph.D. in English from Princeton University. She is an associate professor and chair of the MFA Program in Writing at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Her fourth book, a novel set in Old Hollywood, is forthcoming from Ballantine.

About the organizer

Litquake’s diverse live programs are created with the aim of inspiring critical engagement with the key issues of the day, bringing people together around the common humanity encapsulated in literature, and perpetuating a sense of literary community, as well as a vibrant forum for Bay Area writing. We believe in literature as a public good, so we work to produce events that are accessible to all.

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