Advanced registration is appreciated and guarantees your free seat at Live! from the Library programs.

“Coco Chanel, Marlene Dietrich and the Power of Fame” with C.W. Gortner

cw-gortner-and-book-coversWednesday, February 8, 2017 | 7:00-8:30 p.m. 
Oak View Room | Walnut Creek Library – Register Now>

Bestselling author C.W. Gortner presents a look at his two recent heroines in historical fiction, examining how Hollywood leading lady Marlene Dietrich and iconic fashion designer Coco Chanel reacted to the changing mores of their times, the pursuit and price of fame, and their individual reactions to the perils of World War II. Marlene and Mademoiselle Chanel, will be available for purchase and signing.

Gortner’s novels have enjoyed international success and have been translated into twenty-one languages, with over 400-thousand copies sold. He began writing full-time in 2012, following an eleven year career in fashion and a twelve years in the public health sector. Half-Spanish by birth and raised in southern Spain, Gortner now lives in Northern California.

“Transcending Kitty Hawk: The Real Story of Flight and its Bay Area Conception” with Craig S. Harwood

harwoodWednesday, March 8, 2017 | 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Oak View Room | Walnut Creek Library – Registration opens Feb. 9th

Hear the story of a California inventor and his Bay Area-based team who were at the forefront of human efforts to take to the skies.

Traditionally, the Wright brothers and Kitty Hawk, North Carolina have been central to the narrative of aviation history in the United States. However, in Quest for Flight, Harwood and his co-author, Gary Fogel, argue that California was the true epicenter of the American aviation industry from the beginning and that Montgomery is an unsung pioneer of aeronautical innovation. Harwood will talk about the reasons for history’s near exclusive focus on the Wrights while also shedding light on Montgomery’s accomplishments.

Harwood is the great grandnephew of John J. Montgomery. He works as a consulting Engineering Geologist in the Bay Area.  In 2014, Quest for Flight won the Regional Literature Award from the Great Southwest Book Festival. 

A Conversation with Kevin Smokler, Author of “Brat Pack America: A Love Letter to 80s Teen Movies”

smoklerWednesday, May 10, 2017 | 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Oak View Room | Walnut Creek Library – Registration opens April 5th

Kevin Smokler will discuss his new book, Brat Pack America,” with Diablo magazine’s Pete Crooks. Brat Pack America pays homage to more than 40 of your favorite movies from the 1980s, including The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Pretty in Pink, Heathers and Dirty Dancing. Smokler will talk about where these movies were made, how they reflected American pop culture at the time, and why these movies continue to be so loved today.

Kevin Smokler is also the author of “Practical Classics: 50 Reasons to Reread 50 Books You Haven’t Touched Since High School.” His essays and criticism have appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Salon, Buzzfeed, Fast Company and NPR. He lives in San Francisco. 

Pete Crooks is the Senior Editor/Senior Writer at Diablo magazine, where he has worked since 1998. A native of Lafayette, he is also a major film buff. You can read his movie blog, Pete’s Popcorn Picks,  at

“The Lewis and Clark Expedition” with Mark Jordan 

lewis-and-clark-and-jordanWednesday, June 14, 2017 | 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Oak View Room | Walnut Creek Library – Registration opens May 11th

An exploration of the epic journey undertaken by Captain Meriwether Lewis and  Second Lieutenant William Clark, who led a group of U.S. Army volunteers west from Missouri in 1804, across the Continental Divide all the way to the Pacific Ocean and back to St. Louis, presented by Mark Jordan. 

A long-time Walnut Creek resident, Jordan is an experienced actor, teacher and playwright. He trained at several leading arts institutions based in London, including the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He has portrayed more than two dozen different Shakespeare characters on stage. He teaches at the Osher Life Long Learning Institute at Cal State East Bay and is working on the book for Shakespeare, the Musical.

Past Events 

Musica Vera Duo 

bailey-sherwin-newWednesday, January 11, 2017 | 7:00-8:00 p.m.
Oak View Room | Walnut Creek Library 

Enjoy an evening of classical, folk and original compositions performed by the Musica Vera Duo, which features Baroque violist Mark Bailey and classical guitarist Kevin Sherwin. This program will feature beloved Ukrainian folk songs, 18th century Russian Court songs, 19th century Italian sonatas and Romantic-era melodies.  

Violist Mark Bailey is the artistic director of the American Baroque Orchestra. Additionally, he oversees Yale’s renowned collection of Historical Sound Recordings. He conducts ensembles around the world and is an active composer.

Classical guitarist Kevin Sherwin is the Associate Artistic Director of the American Baroque Orchestra and the Yale Russian chorus. He has conducted and performed across the United States and is an apprentice conductor to Bailey at Yale.

Cheryl Dumesnil and Kim Addonizio

Wednesday, December 7, 2016 | 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Oak View Room | Walnut Creek Library

Prolific East Bay writers Cheryl Dumesnil and Kim Addonizio read selections from their new books. The evening discussion begins with a wine reception, and concludes with book sales and signings.

cheryl-d-and-book-coverCheryl Dumesnil is the author of two poetry collections. Her just-published Showtime at the Ministry of Lost Causes is a powerful collection of “survival songs,” those tunes people whistle to keep fears at bay and spirits awake. She writes of odes to October, air guitar, Pink Floyd, and drag queens—even a memoir on tampons. Dumesnil is also the author of In Praise of Falling, winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize. A freelance editor, writer, and writing coach, she is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and

kim-and-book-coversKim Addonizio is the author of twelve books. Her latest, a collection of poems titled Mortal Trash, is described by the Washington Post as “a brash, irreverent look at the physical and emotional refuse produced in our self-absorbed culture.” Addonizio also recently released her laugh-out-loud memoir, Bukowsi in a Sundress: Confessions from a Writing Life, which reflects on writing, drinking, dating and more.

This event is supported in part by Poets & Writers through grants it has received from the James Irvine Foundation and the Hearst Foundations.

LiveLive from the Library! from the Library, produced by the Walnut Creek Library Foundation, features free public lectures, literary events, and cultural programs at the Walnut Creek and Ygnacio Valley libraries. Programming is made possible by donations to the Foundation’s Annual Fund. View past programs on our Video page.  Contra Costa TV airs past programs Sundays at 8 p.m. Visit their website for channel info.  

Thank you to our 2016 sponsors:

East_Bay_Times_logo_32          Minuteman Lafayette


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