Oakland Is The New Everything


The lineup for the first annual Oakland Book Festival has just been announced. But you don’t have to wait until the festival—on May 31st—to put on a tweed jacket and tell your favorite Jack London story on Telegraph Avenue.

On Thursday, April 30th, Greil Marcus and Justin Desmangles (of the Before Columbus Foundation) will hold a public discussion about “multicultural literary work focused on the Bay Area” at Laurel Book Store on Broadway. Consider it a warm-up for the main event.

As its more famous sibling across the Bay continues to mutate in startling ways, it’s tempting to focus on everything that has changed in Oakland, too. But Oakland’s literary tradition—with its working-class roots and its emphasis on political action—is as old as the city itself. Oakland may be the new everything, but literature is the old Oakland.

Brian Hurley is the Publisher at Fiction Advocate and an executive editor at a book publishing start-up in the Bay Area. He used to be the Books Editor at The Rumpus and the linguistics editor at Oxford University Press. His writing has appeared in The Millions, Full Stop, and Electric Literature. More from this author →