Picturing Lives: New Graphic Memoirs

Sat Oct 14 2023 at 12:00 pm to 01:30 pm

Koret Auditorium at the San Francisco Public Library | San Francisco

Litquake, San Francisco's Literary Festival
Publisher/HostLitquake, San Francisco's Literary Festival
Picturing Lives: New Graphic Memoirs
New graphic memoirs from creators Julia Wertz , Amy Kurzweil , Fred Noland, and Thien Pham.
About this Event

Sponsored by Office of Economic and Workforce Development

Co-presented by San Francisco Public Library

Tracing family heritage and immigration journeys, recounting recovery from addiction and the joy of traveling on two wheels—new memoirs from creators Julia Wertz (Impossible People), Amy Kurzweil (Artificial), Fred Noland (Steady Rollin'), and Thien Pham (Family Style) showcase the creativity and range of autobiographical comics. Immerse yourself in rich life stories, complete with artwork and insights from their creators, in this conversation moderated by Rina Ayuyang, author and artist of The Man in the McIntosh Suit. FREE, $5-10 suggested donation

Amy Kurzweil is a New Yorker cartoonist and the author of Flying Couch: A Graphic Memoir as well as her most recent book, Artificial: A Love Story. She was a 2021 Berlin Prize Fellow with the American Academy in Berlin, a 2019 Shearing Fellow with the Black Mountain Institute, and has received fellowships from MacDowell, Djerassi, and elsewhere. She has been nominated for a Reuben Award and an Ignatz Award for “Technofeelia,” her four-part series with The Believer Magazine. Her writing, comics, and cartoons have also been published in The Verge, The New York Times Book Review, Longreads, Literary Hub, WIRED and many other places. Kurzweil has taught widely for over a decade.

Fred Noland is a visual storyteller. His comics have appeared in the New Yorker. He created “San Francisco Black History”, a public art series, for the San Francisco Arts Commission. A collection of his memoir comics, Steady Rollin’, was released in 2023. He is currently working on Major Taylor, a biographical comic about the first Black World Champion in road cycling, who became one of the first international sports stars. Noland resides in Oakland, California and is an avid but unremarkable cyclist.

Thien Pham is a graphic novelist, comic artist, and educator based in Oakland. He is the author and illustrator of the graphic novel Sumo, did the art for the middle-grade graphic novel Level Up, written by Gene Luen Yang, and is an ongoing comic contributor to Eater SF. Pham’s latest publication is the graphic memoir Family Style: Memories of an American from Vietnam. Currently Pham is working on his next graphic novel, teaching, and eating. A lot.

Julia Wertz is a professional cartoonist, amateur historian, and part-time urban explorer. She made the comic books The Fart Party vol 1 and vol 2 (collected in Museum of Mistakes) and the graphic novels Drinking at the Movies, The Infinite Wait, Tenements, Towers, & Trash, (for which she won the 2018 Brendan Gill Prize), and Impossible People. She does regular short story comics for the New Yorker. Her work has appeared regularly in the New York Times, Harper’s Magazine, the Believer, the Best American Comics, and other publications. Her photography of abandoned places has appeared in a handful of newspapers. She is a repeated MacDowell fellow but was rejected from Yaddo. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she spent a decade in New York City before settling in Sonoma County with her partner Oliver (yup, the Oliver from Fart Party) and their son Felix. She’s currently working on the graphic novel Bury Me Already (It’s Nice Down Here) to be released in 2025.

Rina Ayuyang (moderator) was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. She was always inspired by the Sunday newspaper funnies and slice-of-life tales. Ayuyang’s new book, The Man in The McIntosh Suit, is a Filipino-American take on Depression-era noir featuring mistaken identities, speakeasies, and lost love in San Francisco's Manilatown. Her short stories have been nominated for the Ignatz and Eisner awards and she has been honored with a MoCCA Arts Festival Awards of Excellence silver medal. Ayuyang’s comics have also appeared in Mutha Magazine, PEN America, and The Comics Journal. Ayuyang lives in Oakland.


Event Venue & Nearby Stays

Koret Auditorium at the San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin Street CA 94102, San Francisco, United States


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