Twain in San Francisco

The story sounds like it could happen today: A young man moves to San Francisco and gets a job writing news articles for a local outfit that pays almost nothing. It's boring grunt work, but he persists to stay in the game. He finds a community of writers doing well, but struggles with his own writing. Eventually, he finds his voice by following around the various crooks, gamblers, weirdos, and immigrants that make up San Francisco. But unlike your average blogger, the writer profiled in The Bohemians: Mark Twain and the San Francisco Writers Who Reinvented American Literature would go on to change the game. Ben Tarnoff lays out the whole tale — complete with appearances from Bret Harte, Charles Warren Stoddard, and Ina Coolbrith — in his new book, which he will discuss tonight at the Commonwealth Club.

Wed., April 2, 6 p.m., 2014
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