City Lights is a landmark general bookstore, internationally known for our expert selection of titles and our commitment to free intellectual inquiry.

Founded in 1953 as the nation’s first all-paperback bookstore, we now offer both hardcovers and paperbacks from all of the major publishing houses, along with an impressive range of titles from smaller, specialty publishers. Our shop features an extensive selection of poetry, fiction, translations, politics, history, philosophy, music, spirituality, and more, with a staff whose special interests in many fields contribute to the hand-picked quality of what you see on the shelves.

Events

Calendar of Events

Andrea Abi-Karam with Leila Weefur

Tuesday, September 28, 2021, 6:00 pm PDT

Andrea Abi-Karam with Leila Weefur

Harnessing street protest as a poetic formation, Villainy exhibits the desires that bring queers into public space.

Virtual
Event
Project 1521 @ City Lights

Wednesday, September 29, 2021, 6:00 pm PDT

Project 1521 @ City Lights

Project 1521 is a cadre of Southern California poets, scholars, and artists generating literary and visual works as acts of resistance. They will be reading from their collection, "You Will Not Be Forgotten", the first volume of poetry created by the members of this group, published by Los Angeles-based independent Hinchas de Poesía Press.

Virtual
Event
Max Porter

Saturday, October 2, 2021, 12:00 pm PDT

Max Porter

Max Porter reads from his new novel The Death of Francis Bacon published by Strange Light Books

Virtual
Event
Farah Jasmine Griffin in conversation with Robin D.G. Kelley

Tuesday, October 5, 2021, 6:00 pm PDT

Farah Jasmine Griffin in conversation with Robin D.G. Kelley

A brilliant scholar imparts the lessons bequeathed by the Black community and its remarkable artists and thinkers.

Virtual
Event
Jane Wolff celebrates the launch of BAY LEXICON: A Field Guide to San Francisco's Shoreline

Wednesday, October 6, 2021, 6:00 pm PDT

Jane Wolff celebrates the launch of BAY LEXICON: A Field Guide to San Francisco's Shoreline

Jane Wolff in conversation with Susan Schwartzenberg celebrating Bay Lexicon: a field guide to San Francisco's shoreline, a case study in establishing a working language for hybrid landscapes.

Virtual
Event
Reading, Writing, Robots: AI and Literature

Sunday, October 10, 2021, 6:30 pm PDT

Reading, Writing, Robots: AI and Literature

Litquake 2021 in conjunction with City Lights, Gray Area, The Grid, and the Goethe-Institut San Francisco present an evening of discussion moderated by Vanessa Chang and Bettina Wodianka and featuring Catherine Flynn, Chen Quifan, and Robin Sloan

Virtual
Event
Garrett Caples and Cedar Sigo reading from new work

Tuesday, October 12, 2021, 6:00 pm PDT

Garrett Caples and Cedar Sigo reading from new work

Garrett Caples reads from Lovers of Today, Cedar Sigo reading from Guard the Mysteries.

Virtual
Event
Amitava Kumar in conversation with Aleksandar Hemon

Wednesday, October 13, 2021, 6:00 pm PDT

Amitava Kumar in conversation with Aleksandar Hemon

A blistering novel about fake news, memory, and the ways in which truth gives over to fiction.

Virtual
Event
Ari Banias with Lara Mimosa Montes

Thursday, October 14, 2021, 6:00 pm PDT

Ari Banias with Lara Mimosa Montes

A thrilling, discursive second collection from “a poet for this hour—bewildered, hopeful, and cracklingly alive” (Mark Doty).

Virtual
Event
Gabrielle Selz celebrating the launch of LIGHT ON FIRE: The Art and Life of Sam Francis

Tuesday, October 19, 2021, 6:00 pm PDT

Gabrielle Selz celebrating the launch of LIGHT ON FIRE: The Art and Life of Sam Francis

The first in-depth biography of Sam Francis, the legendary American abstract painter who broke all the rules in his personal and artistic life.

Offsite
Event
Dodie Bellamy in conversation with Chris Kraus

Wednesday, October 20, 2021, 6:00 pm PDT

Dodie Bellamy in conversation with Chris Kraus

Dodie Bellamy celebrates the release of two new books Bee Reaved and a reprint of The Letters of Mina Harker

Virtual
Event
Asali Solomon

Thursday, October 21, 2021, 6:00 pm PDT

Asali Solomon

From award-winning author Asali Solomon, The Days of Afrekete is a tender, surprising novel of two women at midlife who rediscover themselves—and perhaps each other, inspired by Mrs. Dalloway, Sula, and Audre Lorde's Zami.

Virtual
Event
Cynthia L. Haven on Czesław Miłosz

Tuesday, October 26, 2021, 6:00 pm PDT

Cynthia L. Haven on Czesław Miłosz

The first book to look at the life of Czesław Miłosz through a California lens. Filled with original research and written with the grace and liveliness of a novel.

Virtual
Event
Diane di Prima Memorial Tribute

Wednesday, October 27, 2021, 6:00 pm PDT

Diane di Prima Memorial Tribute

A tribute to Diane di Prima, marking one year since her passing in October 2020, with Hanif Abdurraqib, Garrett Caples, Cedar Sigo, and more special guests to be announced.

Virtual
Event
Daniel de Visé in conversation with Harry Duncan

Thursday, October 28, 2021, 6:00 pm PDT

Daniel de Visé in conversation with Harry Duncan

The first full and authoritative biography of the musical and cultural legend BB King.

Virtual
Event
Spring and Autumn Annals Release Party

Saturday, October 30, 2021, 1:00 pm PDT

Spring and Autumn Annals Release Party

A panel discussion celebrating the City Lights publication of Spring and Autumn Annals by Diane di Prima with Ammiel Alcalay, Amber Tamblyn, and Ana Božičević.

Virtual
Event
Paul Auster on the Life and Work of Stephen Crane

Tuesday, November 2, 2021, 6:00 pm PDT

Paul Auster on the Life and Work of Stephen Crane

New York Times bestselling author Paul Auster's comprehensive, landmark biography of the great American writer Stephen Crane.

Virtual
Event
Auntie Sewing Squad visits City Lights!

Wednesday, November 3, 2021, 6:00 pm PDT

Auntie Sewing Squad visits City Lights!

City Lights celebrates rise of the Auntie Sewing Squad, a massive mutual-aid network of volunteers who provide free masks in the wake of US government failures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Virtual
Event
Uwem Akpan in conversation with Helon Habila

Thursday, November 4, 2021, 6:00 pm PDT

Uwem Akpan in conversation with Helon Habila

Exuberant storytelling full of wry comedy, dark history, and devastating satire—by the celebrated and original author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, Say You're One of Them.

Virtual
Event
Elif Shafak in conversation with Ipek S. Burnett

Saturday, November 6, 2021, 11:00 am PDT

Elif Shafak in conversation with Ipek S. Burnett

A rich, magical new novel on belonging and identity, love and trauma, nature and renewal, from the Booker-shortlisted author of 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World.

Virtual
Event
Kyle T. Mays in conversation with Paul Ortiz

Tuesday, November 9, 2021, 6:00 pm PST

Kyle T. Mays in conversation with Paul Ortiz

The first intersectional history of the Black and Native American struggle for freedom in our country that also reframes our understanding of who was Indigenous in early America.

Virtual
Event
Steven Reigns in conversation with Jonny McGovern

Thursday, November 11, 2021, 6:00 pm PST

Steven Reigns in conversation with Jonny McGovern

Steven Reigns discusses his new book A Quilt For David, the hidden history of a vulnerable gay man whose life and death were turned into tabloid fodder.

Virtual
Event
Lucy Corin in conversation with Susan Steinberg and Deb Olin Unferth

Monday, November 15, 2021, 6:00 pm PST

Lucy Corin in conversation with Susan Steinberg and Deb Olin Unferth

Lucy Corin celebrates her new novel THE SWANK HOTEL published by Graywolf Press

Virtual
Event
Amitav Ghosh in conversation with Raj Patel

Tuesday, November 16, 2021, 5:00 pm PST

Amitav Ghosh in conversation with Raj Patel

In his ambitious successor to The Great Derangement, acclaimed writer Amitav Ghosh finds the origins of our contemporary climate crisis in Western colonialism's violent exploitation of human life and the natural environment.

Virtual
Event
Charlie Jane Anders in conversation with Kelly Link

Wednesday, November 17, 2021, 6:00 pm PST

Charlie Jane Anders in conversation with Kelly Link

Charlie Jane Anders celebrates her new book NEVER SAY YOU CAN'T SURVIVE: How To Get Through Hard Times By Making Up Stories published by TORDOTCOM

Virtual
Event
Kalani Pickhart in conversation with Maria Kuznetsova

Monday, November 22, 2021, 6:00 pm PST

Kalani Pickhart in conversation with Maria Kuznetsova

Celebrating the debut novel by Kalani Pickhart I Will Die in a Foreign Land that follows four individuals over the course of a volatile Ukrainian winter, as their lives are forever changed by the Euromaidan protests.

Virtual
Event
Victoria Nelson

Tuesday, November 30, 2021, 6:00 pm PST

Victoria Nelson

The author of The Secret Life of Puppets and Gothika celebrates her debut novel

Virtual
Event
Troung Tran - Book Launch for BOOK OF THE OTHER: Small In Comparison

Wednesday, December 1, 2021, 6:00 pm PST

Troung Tran - Book Launch for BOOK OF THE OTHER: Small In Comparison

City Lights and Kaya Press celebrate the release of Troung Tran's new book BOOK OF THE OTHER: SMALL IN COMPARISON

Virtual
Event
Nancy Perloff in conversation with Antonio Sergio Bessa

Wednesday, December 8, 2021, 6:00 pm PST

Nancy Perloff in conversation with Antonio Sergio Bessa

A significant new collection of concrete poetry that redefines what this unique literary movement means today.

Virtual
Event
Christopher W Shaw discussing FIRST CLASS: The U.S. Postal Service, Democracy, and the Corporate Threat

Thursday, December 9, 2021, 6:00 am PST

Christopher W Shaw discussing FIRST CLASS: The U.S. Postal Service, Democracy, and the Corporate Threat

Investigating the essential role that the postal system plays in American democracy and how the corporate sector has attempted to destroy it.

Virtual
Event
Eduardo Berti with Daniel Levin Becker

Monday, December 13, 2021, 2:00 pm PST

Eduardo Berti with Daniel Levin Becker

City Lights in conjunction with Fern Books present Eduardo Berti reading from his new novel An Ideal Presence

Virtual
Event
Gloria Gervitz with Mark Shafer

Wednesday, December 15, 2021, 6:00 pm PST

Gloria Gervitz with Mark Shafer

City Lights in conjunction with New York Review Books celebrate Gloria Gervitz's new collection of poetry MIGRATIONS

Virtual
Event

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