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Sights and Sounds

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Photo provided by Alexandra Kostoulas
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Alexandra Kostoulas is founder of the SF Creative Writing Institute

Sights and Sounds is your weekly guide to the Bay Area arts scene through the eyes and ears of local artists. On this episode, host Jenee Darden speaks with Alexandra Kostoulas, founder and executive director of the SF Creative Writing Institute. Alexandra shares works from Bay Area authors who taught at her institute.

The Second Shooter by Nick Mamatas
This sci-fi thriller is about a journalist working on an investigative story about mass shootings involving two shooters. He teams up with an immigrant family, and finds out there’s a technomystical plot to destroy America. Someone doesn’t want him to complete his investigation because he’s being followed by drones and attacked by the media. Alexandra says Nick has a gift of writing plots and she likes how characters of Greek heritage are represented in his stories. "The Second Shooter" debuts in November and is one of many novels by the Oakland-based writer.

Blood on the Fog by Tongo Eisen-Martin
Tongo's work has come up a lot in "Sights and Sounds." The 8th San Francisco Poet Laureate writes about love and loss, family and faith, in his latest collection. Tongo is known for challenging us to think about what’s going on in the world, especially when it comes to racial injustice and the prison system. Alexandra says she likes how Tongo uses surrealism in his writing.

Saint 1001 By Daphne Gottlieb
In this novel the character S corresponds for decades with her first love J. But S can’t tell J what happened to her in an ally with a group of men. She’s dealing with trauma and depression. And according to the book description “S finds a way back into her skin through the strangers she meets online for sex." J gets turned on by S' stories and encourages to go on more encounters. There's a lot happening in this book: mystery, crime, erotica and mental health. The format of the story appeals to Alexandra because it's epistolary. "Saint 1001" is available for pre-order.

Alexandra Kostoulas is an award-winning writer. The San Francisco Creative Writing Institute welcomes all writing levels.

Jeneé Darden is an award-winning journalist, author, public speaker and proud Oakland native. She hosts the weekly arts segment Sights & Sounds and covers East Oakland for KALW. Jenee has reported for NPR, Marketplace, KQED, KPCC, The Los Angeles Times, Ebony magazine, Refinery29 and other outlets. In 2005, she reported on the London transit bombings for Time magazine. Prior to coming to KALW, she hosted the podcast Mental Health and Wellness Radio.