Born in the USSR, Raised in California: Immigrant Writers Read From Their Work

This event has been a long time in the making, and I’m so excited to participate!!

Punctured Lines

Dear Punctured Lines readers — come meet us on Zoom, and help us celebrate the publication of Masha Rumer’s book! (In San Francisco? Come meet us in person, details below.) We’re so happy to welcome Masha’s newly published Parenting With an Accent: How Immigrants Honor Their Heritage, Navigate Setbacks, and Chart New Paths for Their Children (Beacon Press). Punctured Lines published a Q&A with Masha when this book was still in the proposal stage, and we’ve been following Masha’s Twitter posts about its development with great interest and anticipation. Now that this book is out and available for all to read we are ready to party (and encourage all of our readers to buy it)!

This upcoming event will feature Masha Rumer herself and our blog co-founders Yelena Furman and Olga Zilberbourg alongside the brilliant Maggie Levantovskaya, Vlada Teper, Sasha Vasilyuk, and Tatyana Sundeeva, all immigrant writers, all born in…

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Video from my reading for BunkerLit

Back in May, I read from my book and answered some questions for a new, Zoom-based reading series called BunkerLit. It was a fun event and the organizers posted the video right away, but things were hectic then (let’s face it, they are still hectic six months later), and I forgot to share this link here. Check it out. I’m hugely grateful to Brendan Isaac Jones and Amy Butcher for inviting me and for everyone who attended!

Peninsula Literary on March 17


About Featured Readers

Olga Zilberbourg is a bilingual author; born in St. Petersburg, Russia, she
lives in San Francisco. Her third book of stories was published in Russia in
2016. Her English-language fiction has appeared in World Literature Today,
Tin House’s Open Bar, Narrative Magazine, and other print and online
publications. Her story “Love & Hair” recently won The Willesden Herald
International Short Story Award that she received in London, UK. Olga serves
as a co-moderator of the weekly San Francisco Writers Workshop.

David Denny’s most recent book is a collection of short fiction, The Gill Man in
Purgatory. He is also the author of two poetry collections: Man Overboard and
Fool in the Attic. Recent stories and poems have appeared in The Sun, Rattle,
California Quarterly, Catamaran, Spillway, and Chiron Review. David teaches
in the English Department at De Anza College in Cupertino, where he also
served as inaugural Poet Laureate from 2011-2013. When not teaching or
writing, he paints, hikes, reads, and enjoys classic studio-era movies. Check
out his web site at

Find out more about Gallery House artist Rozanne Hermelyn Di Silvestro at

Reading in Sausalito


I’m excited to participate in the seventh anniversary of Why There Are Words reading series. rom the beginning, founder Peg Alford Pursell and her team have been fostering a sense of camaraderie between writers and readers, providing such necessary opportunities for all of us to connect. This night promises to be all that! Come come come.

When: 7 pm on January 12, 2017

Where: Studio 333, 333 Caledonia St. Sausalito, CA

Why There Are Words will celebrate its 7th anniversary Jan. 12, 2017! “Lucky Seven + One to Grow On” will feature the following eight acclaimed authors who’ve appeared at WTAW over the past seven years. Additionally, the publishing arm, WTAW Press will announce the selection of the first two titles it will publish in 2017. AND, we’ll toast the launch of WTAW’s national neighborhood of readings in New York City, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Portland and Austin, set to begin in February. Join us at Studio 333 in Sausalito. Doors open at 7pm; readings begin at 7:15. $10 (cash or check).

Afghan-American author Tamim Ansary wrote West of Kabul, East of New York, San Francisco’s  “One City One Book” selection for 2008, as well as the best-selling Destiny Disrupted, A history of the world through Islamic Eyes. His latest book, Road Trips, is about dropping out of a society he wasn’t even a part of.  He lives with his wife Deborah and his cat Raoul in San Francisco, where he teaches memoir writing workshops dedicated to the proposition that if no one remembers it, it didn’t happen. His work-in-progress is a meta-history of the world: Ripple Effects, How we all came to be so interconnected and why we’re still fighting. He hopes that if writing it doesn’t kill him, it will make him stronger.

Rebecca Foust’s most recent book, Paradise Drive, won the Press 53 Poetry Award and is nominated for the 2016 Poets’ Prize. It was widely reviewed, in the Georgia Review, Harvard Review, Hudson Review, Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere. Recognitions include the American Literary Review Fiction Award, the James Hearst Poetry Prize, and fellowships from the Frost Place, MacDowell, and Sewanee.

Joan Frank is the author of six books of fiction, and a book of collected essays. Her new novel, All the News I Need, won the 2016 Juniper Prize for Fiction, and will be published next month (February 2017) by the University of Massachusetts Press. (Yes, it is possible to pre-order, and Joan will be thrilled and wildly grateful if you do.) Her last novel, Make It Stay, won the Dana Portfolio Award; her last story collection, In Envy Country, won the Richard Sullivan Prize in Short Fiction, the ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award, and was named a finalist for the California Book Award. Her last book of collected essays, Because You Have To: A Writing Life, also won the ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award. Joan holds an MFA in Fiction from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC. Recipient of many grants, fellowships and literary honors, Joan is also a frequent reviewer of literary fiction for the San Francisco Chronicle. She lives in the North Bay Area of California.

Evan and Miles Karp are Turk & Divis, an intersection where chance, rhythm, and processed repetition collide with modified fragments of language to form serendipitous anthems and intimate, often polyvocal meditations inside of those anthems. Old school samples and some of tomorrow’s most unusual hits @ Evan is also the mastermind behind Quiet Lightning and Litseen.

Kate Milliken’s debut collection of stories, If I’d Known You Were Coming, won the John Simmons Award for Short Fiction, judged by Julie Orringer, and was published by the University of Iowa Press. The recipient of fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center, Tin House, Yaddo, and several pushcart nominations, Kate’s stories have appeared in Zyzzyva, Fiction, and the Santa Monica Review, among others. In 2009, Kate and her family moved from Los Angeles to the suburban wilds of Mill Valley, where they knew almost no one. Soon after, in search of a writing community, Kate wrote to an instructor she found online. That instructor was Peg Alford Pursell.

Joshua Mohr is the author of five novels, including Damascus, which The New York Times called “Beat-poet cool.”  He’s also written Fight Song and Some Things that Meant the World to Me, one of O Magazine’s Top 10 reads of 2009 and a San Francisco Chronicle best-seller, as well as Termite Parade, an Editors’ Choice in The New York Times. His novel All This Life won the Northern California Book Award. His first book of nonfiction, a memoir called Sirens, is out this January 2017.

Naomi J. Williams is the author of Landfalls (FSG 2015), long-listed for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Award. Her short fiction has appeared in journals such as Zoetrope: All-Story, A Public Space, One Story, The Southern Review, and The Gettysburg Review. A five-time Pushcart Prize nominee and one-time winner, Naomi has an MA in Creative Writing from UC Davis. Naomi was born in Japan and spoke no English until she was six years old. Today she lives in Davis, California, where she teaches creative writing and serves as co-director of the literary series Stories on Stage Davis. She’s hard at work on new writing projects, including a novel about the early 20th-century Japanese poet Yosano Akiko.

Olga Zilberbourg was born in St. Petersburg, Russia and moved to the United States at the age of seventeen. In 2016, her third book of fiction in Russian was published in Moscow-based Vremya Press. Olga’s English-language fiction has appeared in and is forthcoming from Alaska Quarterly Review, World Literature Today, Feminist Studies, California Prose Directory, Narrative Magazine, Santa Monica Review, and other print and online publications. Olga serves as a consulting editor at Narrative Magazine and is a co-moderator of the San Francisco Writers Workshop.

Why There Are Words takes place every second Thursday of the month, when people come from all over the Bay Area to crowd the house. The brainchild of Peg Alford Pursell, this literary goodness celebrates seven years of presenting voices that need to be heard. Why There Are Words is, of 2017, a national neighborhood of readings, taking place in NYC, LA, Pittsburgh, Portland, and Austin. Its publishing arm is WTAW Press.