Friday September 28, 2018 7-9:30pm  Arc Gallery and Studios      1246 Folsom St. SF, CA      

Curated by Michelle Lin and Kazumi Chin

Pre-sale $8 | Door $12 | Supporter $20 (comes with reserved seating)

On September 28th, KSW Presents “All This Wreckage, In Your Own Language,” a reading featuring two debut novelists—Elaine Castillo, author of America Is Not the Heart, and Ingrid Rojas Contreras, author of Fruit of the Drunken Tree. The reading will be followed by a Q&A with Tayo Literary Magazine co-founder, Melissa Sipin.

The title of this event brings together quotes from both books as their stories begin—when a letter arrives in Fruit of the Drunken Tree, “bringing with it all this wreckage to our doorstep,” and in America Is Not the Heart, when “you can’t remember the last time someone told you to take care of yourself in your own language.”

This is a reading that gives language to the stories and wreckages of war and violence, colonialism and dictatorship, immigration and refuge, family, desperation, and the decisions one makes towards a kind of survival.


We are opening up submissions for writers to be a part of this reading. We will only be able to accept up to five readers.
Eligibility: We welcome writers of all genres, and strive to spotlight those of the Asian Pacific diaspora and people of color. We are especially interested in showcasing emerging writers who have had little stage time or few publications.
At this time, KSW Presents cannot provide payment for writers who submit to be a part of this reading series, but we are actively pursuing funding for this program.
How to Submit: Submit work that explores this upcoming event's theme, that can be read or performed within 3 minutes or less. 


Elaine Castillo was born and raised in the Bay Area. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Comparative Literature. She is a Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation Fellow, and her writing can be found or is forthcoming from Freeman’s, Lit Hub, The Rumpus, Taste Magazine, Bon Appetit, Electric Literature and elsewhere. Her most recent short film, A MUKBANG, was commissioned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Open Space. Her debut novel AMERICA IS NOT THE HEART was published by Viking Books in the US/Canada and Atlantic Books (UK), and is forthcoming in translation in multiple countries. Her Instagram can be found at @_elainecastillo.


How many lives fit in a lifetime? When Hero De Vera arrives in America – haunted by the political upheaval in the Philippines and disowned by her parents – she’s already on her third. Her uncle gives her a fresh start in the Bay Area, and he doesn’t ask about her past. His younger wife knows enough about the might and secrecy of the De Vera family to keep her head down. But their daughter – the first American-born daughter in the family – can’t resist asking Hero about her damaged hands. An increasingly relevant story told with startling lucidity, humour, and an uncanny ear for the intimacies and shorthand of family ritual, America Is Not the Heart is a sprawling, soulful debut about three generations of women in one family struggling to balance the promise of the American dream and the unshakeable grip of history. With exuberance, grit, and sly tenderness, here is a family saga; an origin story; a romance; a narrative of two nations and the people who leave one home to grasp at another.

Ingrid Rojas Contreras is the author of Fruit of the Drunken Tree (Doubleday, 2018), a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick. She was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. Her essays and short stories have appeared in the Nylon, Los Angeles Review of Books, Electric Literature, Guernica, and Huffington Post, among others. She received fellowships from Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, and the San Francisco Writer's Grotto. She currently teaches writing to immigrant high school students as part of a San Francisco Arts Commission initiative bringing artists into public schools. She is the book columnist for KQED.


In Colombia at the height Pablo Escobar's violent reign, seven-year-old Chula and her older sister Cassandra enjoy carefree lives thanks to their gated community in Bogotá. But when their mother hires Petrona, a live-in-maid from the city's guerrilla-occupied slum, Chula and  Petrona find themselves entangled in a web of secrecy that will force them both to choose between sacrifice and betrayal. Inspired by the author's own life, and told through the alternating perspectives of the willful Chula and the achingly hopeful Petrona, Fruit of the Drunken Tree contrasts two very different, but inextricably linked coming-of-age stories. Fruit of the Drunken Tree is a powerful testament to the impossible choices women are often forced to make in the face of violence and the unexpected connections that can blossom out of desperation.


Melissa Sipin was born and raised in Carson, CA. She co-edited Kuwento: Lost Things (Carayan Press 2014) and is Editor-in-Chief of TAYO Literary Magazine. Her work is in Guernica Magazine, Slate Magazine, Prairie Schooner, Black Warrior Review, and PEN American Center, among others. Her fiction has won Glimmer Train's Fiction Open and the Washington Square Review's Flash Fiction Prize, as well as scholarships/fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Poets & Writers Inc., Kundiman, VONA/Voices Writers' Workshop, Squaw Valley’s Community of Writers, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. More at: msipin.com

*there is limited seating at the venue, you may purchase supporter level tickets to reserve seats. If you have a disability and/or need to be seated during the event, please contact us at info@kearnystreet.org and we'll work to accomodate you.