Arriving on the heels of the clash between adult tech employees and local kids over the use of a field at Mission Playground, the inaugural Howard Zinn Bookfair aims to showcase subversive books and thinkers that make us question our roles in the world and connect people with hidden histories — but will these histories be heard amidst the sound of the new construction taking place in the city?
The idea of the book fair came from an informal discussion between local authors James Tracy, Rebecca Solnit, and Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz about their desire to see a radically inclusive and progressive book fair; something to celebrate the dissident cultural life of a Bay Area that is being challenged by displacement. The organizing committee is proud to host historian Robin D.G. Kelley as one of the evening’s keynote speakers — Dr. Kelley will present a Lifetime Achievement Award to Marcus Bookstore (the nation’s oldest black-owned bookstore, located in the Fillmore District) as it faces an uncertain future. Community members have been rallying over the past year in an ongoing campaign to save the store from eviction; its current building is being sold.
The program features an array of offerings ranging from panels of young, queer writers sharing original pieces about their experiences being LGBTQQIA to presentations about how the war on drugs is used against populations in cities and rural areas across Mexico, Columbia, and Central America.
A year and a half after the initial three-person chat, the Howard Zinn Bookfair committee has grown significantly and hopes that this will become an annual affair. Mission High School is set to serve as the venue for the 100+ authors who will converge in rooms named after local activists like Bill Sorro and Gloria D. Anzaldúa for readings, roundtable discussions, moderated panels, and more.
The Howard Zinn Bookfair will be held at San Francisco’s Mission High School on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014 from 10am to 5pm. For more information, visit howardzinnbookfair.com.