News Details

After Hours: Evoking Time and Place

Friday, June 28th | 7:00pm

Wine reception at 6:30pm for registered guests.

In The Dakota Winters, local author Tom Barbash takes us back to a grittier NYC set in the early 1980s. His novel’s main character lives at the Dakota Apartments and is a neighbor of John Lennon. How Barbash or any writer creates fully realized characters located in a specific time and place is one of the subjects that will be discussed in this program that explores both writing craft and a decade that still influences present day arts and culture.

He'll be in conversation with San Francisco author Kevin Smokler whose recent book Brat Pack America: A Love Letter to 80s Teen Movies, looks at films like The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink and Heathers that defined the decade bracketed by the murder of John Lennon and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Barbash and Smokler will discuss their research, how they separate history from storytelling, and their mindsets as they conjured the 1980s in both fact and fiction.

Adults and high school students only.

Registration recommended. Click here to register.


Tom Barbash is the author of four books as well as reviews, essays, and articles for publications such as McSweeney’s, Tin House, the Believer, Narrative Magazine, Zyzzyva, and the New York Times. His short story collection Stay Up With Me was nominated for the Folio Prize and picked as a Best Book of the Year by the Independent of London, NPR, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the San Jose Mercury News. His novel The Last Good Chance was awarded The California Book Award and was a Publishers Weekly and Anniston Star Best Book of the Year. His nonfiction book On Top of the World, about the fate of the bond firm Cantor Fitzgerald on 9/11, was a New York Times Bestseller. A well-regarded speaker, panelist, and interviewer, Barbash teaches the novel, short fiction, and nonfiction at California College of the Arts. His most recent book, the novel, The Dakota Winters was just published, and was called by British GQ Magazine “The first great novel of 2019.”

Kevin Smokler is the author of 3 books, including most recently Brat Pack America: A Love Letter to 80s Teen Movies. He writes about music, books and movies for Salon, Buzzfeed, The Decider and NPR and lives in San Francisco with his wife and too many books and vinyl records. Currently he's in middle of directing his first documentary film.