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On the Western Fringe

Alia Volz & Kate Milliken

Warwick’s presents
Alia Volz & Kate Milliken

On the Western Fringe

Thursday, May 14, 2020 - 4:00pm

On the Western Fringe
On the Western Fringe

This is a free virtual event on Facebook live.

On Thursday, May 14th at 4:00pm Warwick's will host Alia Volz and Kate Milliken as they discuss their new books, Home Baked: My Mom, Marijuana, and the Stoning of San Francisco and Kept Animals. Alia Volz is a homegrown San Franciscan. Her writing appears in The Best American Essays 2017, the New York Times, Tin House, Threepenny Review, River Teeth, Nowhere magazine, Utne Reader, New England Review and the recent anthologies Dig If You Will the Picture: Writers Reflect on Prince and Golden State 2017: Best New Writing from California. A 2018 MacDowell Colony fellow, Volz has also been an Artist in Residence with Writing Between the Vines and the Soaring Gardens Artists Retreat. The Squaw Valley Community of Writers awarded her the Oakley Hall Memorial Scholarship twice. She was runner-up of The Moth's GrandSLAM Championship in 2014 and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Kate Milliken is the author of the 2013 Iowa Short Fiction Award-winning collection of stories, If I'd Known You Were Coming. A graduate of the Bennington College Writing Seminars, she has received fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and the Tin House Summer Workshop. She lives in Northern California with her family. Kept Animals is her first novel. This is a free virtual event on Facebook live.

During the '70s in San Francisco, Alia's mother ran the underground Sticky Fingers Brownies, delivering upwards of 10,000 illegal marijuana edibles per month throughout the circus-like atmosphere of a city in the throes of major change. She exchanged psychic readings with Alia's future father, and thereafter had a partner in business and life.

Decades before cannabusiness went mainstream, when marijuana was as illicit as heroin, they ingeniously hid themselves in plain sight, parading through town - and through the scenes and upheavals of the day, from Gay Liberation to the tragedy of the Peoples Temple - in bright and elaborate outfits, the goods wrapped in hand-designed packaging and tucked into Alia's stroller. But the stars were not aligned forever and, after leaving the city and a shoulda-seen-it-coming divorce, Alia and her mom returned to San Francisco in the mid-80s, this time using Sticky Fingers' distribution channels to provide medical marijuana to friends and former customers now suffering the depredations of AIDS.

Exhilarating, laugh-out-loud funny, and heartbreaking, Home Baked celebrates an eccentric and remarkable extended family, taking us through love, loss, and finding home.

You can listen to Volz' recent Fresh Air interview with Dave Davies here.

Milliken's Kept Animals is a bold, riveting debut novel of desire, betrayal, and loss, centering on three teenage girls, a horse ranch, and the accident that changes everything.

It's 1993, and Rory Ramos works as a ranch hand at the stable her stepfather manages in Topanga Canyon, California, a dry, dusty place reliant on horses and hierarchies. There she rides for the rich clientele, including twins June and Wade Fisk. While Rory draws the interest of out-and-proud June, she's more intrigued by Vivian Price, the beautiful girl with the movie-star father who lives down the hill. Rory keeps largely separate from the likes of the Prices--but, perched on her bedroom windowsill, Rory steals glimpses of Vivian swimming in her pool nearly every night.

After Rory's stepfather is involved in a tragic car accident, the lives of Rory, June, and Vivian become inextricably bound together. Rory discovers photography, begins riding more competitively, and grows closer to gorgeous, mercurial Vivian, but despite her newfound sense of self, disaster lurks all around her: in the parched landscape, in her unruly desires, in her stepfather's wrecked body and guilty conscience.One night, as the relationships among these teenagers come to a head, a forest fire tears through the canyon, and Rory's life is changed forever.

Kept Animals is narrated by Rory's daughter, Charlie, in 2015, more than twenty years after that fateful fire. Realizing that the key to her own existence lies in the secret of what really happened that unseasonably warm fall, Charlie is finally ready to ask questions about her mother's past. But with Rory away on assignment, Charlie knows she must unravel the truth for herself.

Read the New York Times Book Review on Kept Animals here.

Home Baked: My Mom, Marijuana, and the Stoning of San Francisco Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780358006091
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - April 20th, 2020

Kept Animals: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781501188589
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - April 21st, 2020