J. Tony Serra
A native son of San Francisco, J. Tony Serra has dedicated his life to defending society’s outcasts. After earning a Philosophy degree from Stanford University, Serra went on to graduate from UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law in the 1960’s, an era he calls “the golden age of law.” In his more than 45 years of practice, Serra has helmed a number of noteworthy cases, including Huey Newton, Bear Lincoln, Chol Soo Lee, the Hell’s Angels, Hooty Croy, the Symbionese Liberation Army, the White Panthers, Bari & Cherney v. FBI and more. Serra has been honored with awards from, among others, NORML, ACLU, American Lawyer Magazine, San Francisco Board of Supervisors and Trial Lawyers for Public Justice. Although he has been admitted to practice in 45 separate federal and state jurisdictions in 28 different states, Serra still calls San Francisco home. His first two books are Walking The Circle and TONY SERRA published by Grizzly Peak Press.
Photo: Ivory Serra
Ernest Beyl is a San Francisco writer who has long been fascinated by the history of his city and the characters, then and now, who have made it buzz with excitement. He writes not only about San Francisco history, but also about food, restaurants, jazz, fly fishing and whatever else strikes his fancy. His monthly column for San Francisco’s Marina Times gave him the idea for this book of Sketches from a North Beach Journal. As a kid he was fascinated by the writer Richard Halliburton, a romantic loner who spent his life on what he called The Royal Road to Romance—title of his first book. Wishing to travel that royal road himself Beyl joined the marines at eighteen which seemed the most practical way to see the world. Following peacetime service in Asia and the Pacific he attended Stanford University and that set him up for a career in journalism. He became a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Mateo Times and later a free-lancer for magazines and newspapers. He did a stint as a Hollywood press agent which led him to Sun Valley, the Idaho ski resort, where he served as publicity manager and where he met an early idol, Ernest Hemingway. These days he spends his time on his newspaper column, reinventing himself as a playwright (a new discipline for him), and playing the Chinese gong for the Green Street Mortuary Marching Band (an activity he got into while researching a magazine story). He’s married, has two sons and a daughter and lives on San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill.
Photo: Fred Lyon
John van der Dee
John van der Zee is the author of a dozen books, including the best seller The Gate: The True Story of the Design and Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Examiner, The Los Angeles Times, Town & Country and salon.com. He lives in San Francisco and in Healdsburg, California.
Photo: RB Studio
Born and educated in Chicago (University of Illinois, Highest Distinction in English, 1971 and 1973), Gerald Nicosia has for decades been best known as the author of Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac and a critic and historian of the Beats, the Sixties, and the Vietnam War. But even before his undergraduate years ended, he was publishing poetry as well, mentored by Chicago poets he loved such as Carl Sandburg and some he knew personally such as Paul Carroll, founder of Big Table Books and Magazine. And while his poetry quickly absorbed the influence of the Beat writers in its insistence on clarity, narrative coherence, and incorporation of common speech, it also drew heavily upon the down and dirty blues voice and sometimes black humor of Chicago writers like Nelson Algren, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Richard Wright.
Nicosia is the author of three previous books of poetry, Lunatics, Lovers, Poets, Vets & Bargirls; Love, California Style, which was a Small Press Review poetry selection for 2002; and Embrace of the Lepers. Several of his poems have received Pushcart nominations as well. Since the early 1980’s, he has read his poetry extensively in public throughout the United States, and has read it in other countries, including England, France, Italy, and China. He read his poetry at the international Beat festival at NYU in May 1994, on the same stage with Allen Ginsberg, and he has also given featured readings of his poetry at such notable venues as the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea, Wales, and the Three Horseshoes Pub in Hampstead, London, at a reading organized by Michael Horowitz, the same man who had organized the first Beat reading in England in 1965 at the Royal Albert Hall. Nicosia himself has organized many marathon poetry readings, sometimes with more than twenty performers and for audiences of 500 or more, at such venues as the Koret Auditorium in San Francisco, the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, and Bob Weir’s Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley, California.
Jenny Hammer has been teaching English to speakers of other languages for over half of her life. An immigrant to California from the state of New York, she currently lives in the East Bay.
Photo: Kim Colwell
A former professor of English, Jake Fuchs has written scholarly books, short fiction, two satiric mysteries, Death of a Dad and Death of a Prof, and the semi-autobiographical novel, Conrad in Beverly Hills. The son of Daniel Fuchs, the novelist and screenwriter, he lives in Berkeley, California with his wife, Freya.
Lorena Paras is a young author from Northern California with passionate interests in the arts and sciences. Fossil finding has always been a favorite activity; one of many providing depth to her relationship with the Monterey Bay, nearby coastal beaches and sloughs. This book was created during her 8th grade studies at a Berkeley middle school.
Photo: Maire O'Sullivan
Mike Liguori is a former United States Marine and veteran of the Iraq War. His short story memoir "The Sandbox" chronicles Mike's two tours in the Al Anbar Province, as well as his struggle coming from home from service, his personal battle with PTSD and finding a purpose after war. He is active in the veteran community through advocacy events ranging from lobbying veteran legislation on Capitol Hill with Iraq Afghanistan Veterans in America to speaking on numerous panels about hiring veterans in today's workforce alongside the likes of veteran's activist Paul Rieckhff (Founder/Executive Director Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America) and entrepreneur Mark Andreesen (Co-founder, Netscape Communications Corporation, Ning.com and Andreessen Horowitz Venture Capital). Mike has also contributed to the development of the San Mateo County Veteran Treatment Court which provides veterans rehabilitation through court mandated programs and peer mentorship. In 2011, Mike graduated with a B.S. in Business Management and Administration from Menlo College and is currently Founder/CEO of Operation Work Warriors, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping veterans build careers in today's workforce through technology. Visit www.operationworkwarriors.org for more information.