The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

Writers entertained campus with book reading

Seven Bay Area writers entertained a standing-room only audience with excerpts from their novels during a reading and book signing event in the Trophy Room on Sept. 24.

All were writers from Word of Mouth Bay Area, which English professor and novelist Jessica Barksdale calls a “support network” of 75 published women authors, who write different genres and meet once a month to “talk business.”

“Writers are often alone, and they can’t go to an office to get help,” said Barksdale, who organized the event.

Students with their classes, teachers and others who came just to listen exceeded the amount of available seating and sat on the floor or stood against the walls.

The first reader Catherine Brady, read, “Wicked Stepmother,” from her short story collection, “The Mechanics of Falling.” She admitted she was happy to be first because people just want to go home at the end.

Her daughter Sarah Kahn, 22, a DVC student, was in the audience.

“I can milk her for writing wisdom,” she said.

Susan Freinkel read from her non-fiction story, “American Chestnut.” She talked about how fungus killed this tree native to the East Coast tree and how people grieved its loss.

“American chestnuts in the East Coast were what the redwood is to us here,” she said.

Before reading from her novel, “The Wednesday Sisters,” Meg Waite Clayton told how her love for writing was shot down at a young age, and she stopped writing for 30 years.

“Sometimes you see business majors making more money, but that’s not always the way to happiness,” Clayton said, cautioning the audience against giving up what you love. 

Award-winning journalist and non-fiction writer Linda Himelstein, read from her latest book, “The King of Vodka: The story of Pyotr Smirnov and the Upheal of an Empire,” and New York Times bestselling author Michelle Richmond  read from her novel, “No One You Know.” 

Richmond got the audience laughing with a funny story from her childhood about how she grabbed a woman’s breast in a pool locker room at age 5. 

Wendy Nelson Tokunaga read from, “Love in Translation,” and explained that her Japanese influence comes from her husband, who is Japanese.

“I’m Japanese, and I was impressed with Wendy’s story,” said Miki Ozawa, 27, an economics major. 

Barksdale read from her novel, “Believe in Me,” saying with a laugh, “It’s a little sexy.”

The science fiction-romance writer described her book as “Harry Potter for adults with sex.”

Following the readings, the authors took questions and then headed to a book signing table for those interested in buying their work.

“A lot of the readers had a good sense of humor, and it was interesting,” said Jesus Lopez, 19.

“Michelle Clayton and the breast story got my attention and kept me awake,” he joked.

The event was funded by money for college wide activities that may not be available next year due to budget cuts. 


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Writers entertained campus with book reading