Ron Tanner & Jessica Anya Blau
Thursday, May 19, 2011, 7:00 P.M., City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco, CA

reading from their new fiction

Ron Tanner celebrates the release of

Kiss Me, Stranger

published by IG Books

Jessica Anya Blau reads from her recent release

Drinking Closer To Home

published by Harper Perennial

about Kiss Me, Stranger:

Set in an unnamed country sometime in the past, present, or future, Kiss Me, Stranger is the story of one woman's attempts to keep her family together while a civil war rages around her. The book follows the fate of Penelope and her fourteen children, who live in a small war-torn country built atop a landfill. Her husband and eldest son have been drafted, each by opposing factions in the war, leaving Penelope and her remaining children desolate and nearly starving as they scavenge for scrap--comprised of discarded consumer goods like computer, televisions and automobiles--in the bombed-out city. When Hermes, the government scrap collector, makes an unreasonable demand in already unreasonable circumstances, Penelope slaps him across the face, leading to her arrest. Her subsequent escape sends her family on a journey literally into the heart of the landfill, where they come face to face with the stupidity, destruction and at times, dark humor, of war and modern consumer society.

Featuring over 50 illustrations by the author, Kiss Me, Stranger is a comical and tragic commentary on war, violence, and consumerism.

Ron Tanner's
awards for fiction include a Faulkner Society gold medal, a Pushcart Prize, a New Letters Award first prize, a Best of the Web Award, and many others. He has won fellowships from the Copernicus Society, Sewanee Writers Conference, and the National Park Service, to name a few, and his stories have appeared in dozens of literary magazines, including The Iowa Review, West Branch, and the Quarterly. His collection of stories, A Bed of Nails, won both the G.S. Sharat Chandra award and the Towson Prize for Literature and is now in its second printing. He teaches writing at Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland, and directs the Marshall Islands Story Project ( He is also currently the president of AWP.

what has been said about Drinking Closer To Home:

"If you think you've read enough novels about mixed up families already, go ahead and read one more. Jessica Anya Blau's DRINKING CLOSER TO HOME is a phantasmagoric, hilarious carnival ride." -Madison Smartt Bell

"A light-hearted, enthralling read that enables us to laugh at our own less-than-perfect families." -Bust Magazine

"Jessica Blau's DRINKING CLOSER TO HOME is heartfelt and hilarious as it explores every nook and cranny of this wonderful (and wild) family. If you want to know why we love our parents and siblings even as they drive us to drink and distraction, you must read this book."  -Ron Tanner, author of Kiss Me, Stranger

Jessica Anya Blau is a Pushcart Prize-nominee and author of The Summer of Naked Swim Parties and Drinking Closer To Home. She teaches creative writing at Johns Hopkins University.