Advanced registration is encouraged and guarantees your free seat at Live! from the Library programs. For special accommodations, please contact the Walnut Creek Library Foundation with 72 hours notice.

In Conversation with Dr. Dawn McGuire

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 | 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Oak View Room | Walnut Creek Library – Register HERE>

Post 9/11 veterans struggling with head trauma, PTSD, and other complications inspired a new collection of poems by neurologist and poet Dawn McGuire, who will read selections from and discuss American Dream With Exit Wound.

In her latest poetry collection, soldiers return home from war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan with hazardous materials not just in their bodies, but their minds as well. Of the vets who came to see Dr. McGuire at her San Francisco practice for head trauma or nervous system disorders, almost all had PTSD. Many were addicts. Some were barely able to communicate.

Dawn McGuire is a neurologist and the author of four poetry collections. She has received numerous honors for her work, including the 2012 Indie Book Prize for Poetry for The Aphasia Café and the Sarah Lawrence Prize for “poems that treat larger themes with lyric intensity.” She is Adjunct Professor of Neurology at the Neurosciences Institute of Morehouse School of Medicine, and divides her time between Atlanta and Northern California.


Wednesday, December 6, 2017 | 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Oak View Room | Walnut Creek Library- Registration opens November 9th


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.

“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

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.

Fresh Ink: New Music

Wednesday, May 3, 2017 | 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Oak View Room | Walnut Creek Library

Hear it here first! An exclusive sneak peek into the making of a newly composed work for cello, Tangle Eye. California Symphony Music Director Donato Cabrera and current Young American Composer-in-Residence, Dan Visconti, will introduce and discuss the music and collaborative process along with Israeli-American cellist Inbal Segev, who will perform short excerpts to illustrate the musical concepts. The California Symphony will present the world premiere of “Tangle Eye” on Sunday, May 7 at the Lesher Center for the Arts. in Walnut Creek.

Cabrera is Music Director for California Symphony, Las Vegas Philharmonic and former resident conductor of San Francisco Symphony. Visconti is a TED Fellow and Rome Prize winner, and is finishing his final season with the California Symphony as the Young American Composer-in-Residence. Segev began playing cello at age five and has performed as soloist with top orchestras around the world. 


Live! with Kevin Smokler, Author of “Brat Pack America”

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 | 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Oak View Room | Walnut Creek Library 

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. Evening will include wine reception with books for sale and signing.

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: Key Decision Points” with Mark Jordan 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017 | 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Oak View Room | Walnut Creek Library – Registration is full. 

Join us for a dynamic exploration of The Lewis and Clark Expedition, one of America’s boldest endeavors. Mark Jordan will examine crucial moments along this epic journey of the uncharted West in his presentation The Lewis and Clark Expedition: Key Decision Points 
Leading a group of U.S. Army volunteers, a slave, a teenage girl and her baby, and a remarkably skilled French-Indian scout, Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set off from Missouri in May of 1804 on a mission to explore the Northwest from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. The group traveled up the Missouri River and crossed the Continental Divide before eventually reaching the Pacific Ocean. After a winter near Astoria, Oregon, they returned to St. Louis after two years and four months and many legendary adventures 
A long-time Walnut Creek resident, Jordan is an experienced actor, teacher, and avid Lewis and Clark buff. He has traveled most of the Lewis and Clark Trail, by car, in a canoe, and on foot. He has written articles on this historic expedition, and has lectured at the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation’s annual meeting. He recently taught on this subject at the Osher Life Long Learning Institute at Cal State East Bay.

 “Imagining Jane: Commemorating 200 Years of Jane Austen” with Dr. Kirsten T. Saxton

Wednesday, July 19, 2017 | 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Oak View Room | Walnut Creek Library  

A lively presentation about Jane Austen’s life, works and fame, presented by Mills College professor Dr. Kirsten T. Saxton. How has Jane been imagined in the 200 years since her death? How and why does her work capture our imaginations?  Dr. Kirsten T. Saxton is an award winning teacher and scholar; she teaches at Mills College, where she directs the MA Program in Literature. She publishes on 18th-century literature and culture, women writers (including Jane Austen), crime fiction, and the history of the novel. Watch video below.



A Sneak Peek of “The Liar” by Center Rep

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 | 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Oak View Room | Walnut Creek Library- 

The charming and charismatic Dorante has but a single flaw: he cannot tell the truth. Cliton, his manservant cannot tell a lie. Together they bring us one of the Western world’s greatest comedies. A sparkling urban romance as fresh and hilarious as the day Pierre Corneille wrote it, brilliantly adapted for today by David Ives.

Center Repertory Artistic Director Michael Butler and cast members will read a scene from The Liar and answer audience questions. The Liar will run from October 20-November 18 at the Lesher Center for the Arts

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.  

The views and opinions expressed in any program are those of the speaker/persons and do not reflect the views of the Walnut Creek Library Foundation.

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