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Bancroft Library lauded at Litquake

Bancroft Director Elaine Tennant accepts the 2016 Litquake Barbary Coast award to the Bancroft.

Bancroft Director Elaine Tennant accepts the 2016 Litquake Barbary Coast award to the Bancroft. “As new generations of artists write themselves into the Bancroft collection,” Tennant explains, “they serve as inspiration for artists yet to come and support the invention of the West as it continues to unfold.” (Photo by Chris Hardy for Litquake)

This year, San Francisco’s famed Litquake festival includes a blue ribbon to the Bancroft Library as an outstanding “literary institution.”

Also to be celebrated is the fact that nearly every 2016 Litquake awardee is well represented in the Bancroft — a testimony to the depth and richness of the California and literary collections.

Litquake is a nine-day festival of readings, workshops, youth programs, panel discussions and other events that celebrate the vibrant literary life of the Bay Area.

Bancroft Director Elaine Tennant and Deputy Director Peter Hanff attended last night’s ceremony at Herbst Theatre in San Francisco to accept the award. Hanff commented, “The Litquake Awards ceremony felt like old-home week. Almost everyone at the reception had strong affection for the Bancroft Library, not least because many have placed collections of their own work at Berkeley. Others, such as Thomas Sanchez, remembered their research visits to Bancroft as well.”

Other 2016 Litquake winners whose works are held at the Bancroft:

  • Maxine Hong Kingston, alumna and longtime lecturer at UC Berkeley, and San Francisco poet laureate Alejandro Murguía, were recognized as Literary Legends.
  • Michael Krasny, host of KQED’s award-winning show “Forum,” won the Kathi Kamen Goldmark Award for Contributions to the Literary Scene.
  • Thomas Sanchez’s Rabbit Boss, a 1989 novel that recounts the story of four generations of the Washoe people in the Sierras of California and Nevada, won the California Classics Award.
  • Threepenny Review, which is published in Berkeley by founder and editor Wendy Lesser, was recognized in the category of Literary Publication.
  • Paul Yamazaki of City Lights Bookstore & Publishers was celebrated as a Bookstore Hero.
  • Justin Chin, a Malaysian-American poet, essayist and performer, was honored In Memoriam.
  • Jewelle Gomez, author, poet, critic and playwright, won the Castro Vanguard Award.
These Bancroft Keepsakes pay tribute to the Library's collections of the papers of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and of Maxine Hong Kingston.

These Bancroft Keepsakes pay tribute to the Library’s collections of the papers of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and of Maxine Hong Kingston. (Photo by Alejandro Serrano for the University Library)

The Bancroft Library is the primary special collections library at Berkeley. Its extensive holdings in this and previous years’ Litquake awards testify to collection strengths in literature, especially Bay Area poets and other writers identified with California, such as Gertrude Atherton, Mary Austin, William Everson, Bret Harte, Robinson Jeffers, Jack London, Frank Norris, George Sterling, and William Saroyan.

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