Are you interested in literary events? If so, please sign up below to receive invitations to Moe’s Books special happenings. 

Although reading is a solitary activity it can often lead to essential public discussion. For this reason, Moe’s began curating literary events in the late nineties. Since then the “basement series” has become an important part of Bay Area literary culture. Poets and novelists, activists and scholars have been invited to talk about their work. Please join us for a lively and thoughtful conversation in our enormous scholarly bookstore.

If you'd like to listen to past events you can go to the left navigation column and click on the + sign next to Events.

If you are an author who'd like to be considered for a reading, please email

All events, unless noted, start at 7:00pm

July 15: Ivy Johnson, Syd Staiti, Isabel Bezerra Balée

July 19: Elizabeth Cooperman and Thomas Walton @7:30pm

July 22: Owen Hill, Pamela Jackson, and Anthony Rizzuto @ 3:00pm

July 26: William O'Daly and Peter Weltner

August 2: Martin Espada, Lauren Marie Schmidt, and Gary Soto @ 7:30pm

September 5: Gabriela Aleman

September 12: Local Genre Fiction with NIck Mamates, Meg Elison, and Tim Pratt

September 14: Rae Paris

September 15: Rodney Koeneke 

September 28: Cyrus Cassells and Charif Shanahan

October 1: Shane Bauer

October 24: Shelley Jackson, author of Riddance

July 15: Ivy Johnson, Syd Staiti, Isabel Bezerra Balée

Ivy Johnson is a poet and performance artist in Oakland, CA. Her book, As They Fall, is a collection of 110 notecards for aleatoric ritual and was published by Timeless, Infinite Light in 2013. She is co-founder of The Third Thing, an ecstatic feminist performance art duo. Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs published their self-titled chapbook, The Third Thing, in 2016. Her book Born Again is just out from The Operating System.

Syd Staiti is the author of The Undying Present (Krupskaya 2015) and In the Stitches (Trafficker 2010).

Isabel Bezerra Balée writes poems and works at a nonprofit in Berkeley. Previously, she has taught creative writing at Tulane University. Born and raised in New Orleans, with roots in Northern Brazil, she feels a deep connection to floodplains.

JULY 19: Poetry Flash presents Elizabeth Cooperman and Thomas Walton @7:30

Elizabeth Cooperman and Thomas Walton have jointly written and published The Last Mosaic, a ‘mosaic’ of braided prose segments, celebrating their trip to Rome and weaving their impressions of the “Eternal City.” David Shields says, “To be human is to be broken. The Last Mosaic not only explains these ideas; it embodies them. It’s also extremely vivid, precise, smart, and galvanizing.” Elizabeth Cooperman is Art Director at PageBoy Magazine, and she is co-editor of the anthology Life is Short—Art is Shorter. Her witing has been widely published in literary journals. Thomas Walton edits PageBoy Magazine. He’s author of the anti-lyric lyric essay This World Is All That Does Befall Us and the chapbook A Name Is Just A Mane. His poetry has appeared in ZYZZYVA, Bombay Gin, and many other journals.


July 22: Owen Hill, Pamela Jackson, and Anthony Rizzuto, editors of the Annotated Big Sleep (3:00pm)


The new edition of Raymond Chandler's Big Sleep, edited, annotated and prefaced by past and present Moe's staffers.

We've asked a few friends to read their favorite passage from this noir classic. Scheduled so far: Cara Black, Randal Brandt, Summer Brenner, Barry Gifford, Dan Liebowitz, Elliott Smith, and Jerry Thompson

“Nothing, even a book as singular and archetypal as The Big Sleep, comes from nowhere. What a gift, to see in part how Chandler made it. Under just three names, these annotators number among them two poets, an archivist and literary scholar, a gifted crime novelist, and three sleuths; reading it conveys the vicarious thrill of their innumerable discoveries. Chandler lucked out.”--Jonathan Lethem, from the forward.

A masterpiece of noir, Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep helped to define a genre and remains one of the most celebrated and stylish novels of the twentieth century. Now, this comprehensive, annotated edition offers a fascinating look behind the scenes of the novel, bringing the gritty and seductive world of Chandler’s iconic private eye Philip Marlowe into full color. Notes on the historical context of Chandler’s Los Angeles; excerpts from the author’s personal letters and source texts; explorations of the issues of gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity that permeate the story; and important interpretations and clarifications enrich the reader’s understanding and situate the novel within the tradition of crime fiction that Chandler both built upon and made new.

Raymond Chandler (1888-1959) turned to writing fiction at the age of forty-five, after a career as an oil executive. He published his first story in Black Mask in 1933, and his first novel, The Big Sleep, in 1939. Over his lifetime, Chandler wrote seven novels, several screenplays, and numerous short stories, and became the master practitioner of American hard-boiled crime fiction.

Owen Hill is the author of two mystery novels, a book of short fiction, and several books of poetry. He has reviewed crime novels for the Los Angeles Times and the East Bay Express. He was awarded the Howard Moss residency at Yaddo in 2005.

Pamela Jackson is an editor, scholar, and librarian specializing in California literary and cultural history. She holds a PhD from UC Berkeley and an MLIS from UCLA, and was coeditor, with Jonathan Lethem, of The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick.

Anthony Rizzuto is a bookseller, professor of literature, and researcher. He currently teaches British and American literature and history at Sonoma State University.

July 26: Poetry Flash presents William O’Daly and Peter Weltner (7:30pm)

Famed Spanish translator William O’Daly’s new book of translation is Book of Twilight, by Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda, which is Neruda’s debut book, never before published in its entirety in the United States. The bilingual collection has just been nominated for the 2018 Northern California Book Award in Translation. His translations include eight other books of poetry by Pablo Neruda. He published a full-length collection of his own poetry, Water Ways, in 2017, with prose and photography by J.S. Graustein. A second collection, Yarrow and Smoke, will appear in 2018. He is a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, and his poems, essays, and translations have been widely published in literary journals and anthologies. He was profiled by Mike Leonard for The Today Show.

Peter Weltner’s latest book is The Return of What’s Been Lost, fourteen stories and fourteen ‘choral’ poems, which, David Morris says, “meditate on loss, personal and cultural, and how mourning embodies in the self, incarnate and haunting, the hugeness of what is missing.” He’s published five previous books of fiction and six full-length collections of poetry, most recently The Light of the Sun Become Sea. His work has also appeared in some national anthologies, including Prize Stories: the O. Henry Awards, 1993 and 1998, as well as in many literary journals and magazines.

August 2: Poetry Flash presents Martin Espada, Lauren Marie Schmidt, and Gary Soto @ 7:30pm


Martin Espada's new book of poems is Vivas to Those Who Have Failed. Sandra Cisneros calls him “the Pablo Neruda of North American authors.” Recent collections include The Trouble Ball, The Republic of Poetry, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and Alabanza, whose title poem has been widely anthologized and performed. In all, he’s published fifteen books as poet, editor, essayist, and translator. A former tenants lawyer for the Latino community of the greater Boston area, he’s received a Shelley Memorial Award, a Guggenhein Fellowship, and he’s just won the prestigious 2018 Ruth Lilly Prize for lifetime accomplishment.

Lauren Maris Schmidt's new book of poems is Filthy Labors. Previous collections include Two Black Eyes and a Patch of Hair Missing, Psalms of the Dining Room, and The Voodoo Doll Parade, winner of the Main Street Rag Author’s Choice Chapbook Series. Among her prizes are the So to Speak Poetry Prize, Neil Postman Prize for Metaphor, and The Janet B. McCabe Prize for Poetry.

Gary Soto's a poet, essayist, and novelist. His new book of poems is a revised, updated edition of The Elements of San Joaquin, his first collection, originally published in 1977, about which La Bloga had said, “The poet has an impeccable memory for capturing the music and sounds of his childhood. He carries a heavy sense of nostalgia with…grace…” He has since published twelve poetry collections, including New and Selected Poems, which was a National Book Award finalist as well as three novels and a memoir among other books. He has also received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation.

September 5: Gabriela Aleman (Poso Wells) in a City Lights reading


September 12: Local Genre Fiction: Nick Mamates, author of People's Republic of Everything. Meg Elison, author of Book of Etta, and Tim Pratt, author of The Wrong Stars


Socialist Nerd Night, with three local genre writers:

Nick Mamatas is the author of several novels, including the San Francisco zombie novel The Last Weekend, the Lovecraftian murder mystery I Am Providence, and the forthcoming Hexen Sabbath. His short fiction has appeared in Best American Mystery Stories, Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, and many other venues. Nick is also an award-winning anthologist; his latest is Mixed Up, a hybrid cocktail recipe/flash fiction book co-edited with Molly Tanzer.

Meg Elison is a Bay Area author and essayist. Her debut novel, The Book of the Unnamed Midwife won the 2014 Philip K. Dick Award and was listed as a Tiptree Committee recommendation. Her second novel, The Book of Etta, was published in 2017 by 47North. She writes like she's running out of time and lives in Oakland.

Tim Pratt is the author of over 20 novels, most recently Philip K. Dick Award finalist The Wrong Stars and upcoming sequel The Dreaming Stars. As T.A. Pratt he wrote ten novels in the Marla Mason urban fantasy series. His short fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories, The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, and other nice places. He's a Hugo Award winner for short fiction, and has been a finalist for World Fantasy, Sturgeon, Stoker, Mythopoeic, and Nebula Awards, among others. He is a senior editor at Locus magazine, and lives in Berkeley CA with his family.

September 14th: Rae Paris, author of Forgetting Tree


September 15th: Rodney Koeneke 

September 28th: Cyrus Cassell, author of Gospel According to Wild Indigo and Charif Shanahan, author of Into Each Room We Enter Without Knowing

October 1: Shane Bauer, author of American Prison

October 24: Shelley Jackson, author of Riddance

Shelley Jackson is the author of the short story collection The Melancholy of Anatomy, the novels Half Life and Patchwork Girl, several children’s books, and “Skin,” a story published in tattoos on more than 2,000 volunteers. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and teaches in the graduate writing program at The New School.