WLA Conference 2013 in Berkeley. California: Letter from the President Richard Hutson
I look forward to welcoming members of the Western Literature Association to the San Francisco Bay Area. We will be primarily located in the East Bay, in Berkeley, home of the University of California, but the whole area is easily accessible by public transportation: ACT (Alameda County Transit) bus and BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) train. The area still maintains something of its Gold Rush era atmosphere and style: free and easy. Alfred Hitchcock referred to San Francisco as his West Coast Paris. The area has a number of Michelin starred restaurants, and the wine regions of Napa and Sonoma counties are part of the San Francisco Bay area.
The featured speakers will include the recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award, Robert Hass (former poet laureate of the U.S., winner of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize in 2010. He will be introduced by Carol Muske-Dukes, recently poet laureate California), Gerald Vizenor (novelist, essayist, former recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award), Ishmael Reed (poet, novelist, essayist, political commentator) and Lucha Corpi (author of children’s books, poetry, essays and detective novels set in the SF Bay area). A posthumous Distinguished Achievement Award will be given for Louis Owens.
HOTEL AND CONVENTION CENTER
Our meeting will take place at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel and Conference Center on the Berkeley Marina, Berkeley, California phone#: 510-548-7920). The dates of the WLA conference are Wednesday, October 9 to Saturday, October 12. Room rates are $159 for single rate and $159 for double rate (plus taxes). These rates apply three days prior to and after the conference date (Oct. 6-15). There is complimentary parking. Just outside the main entrance of the hotel is the Cesar Chavez public park with 1.25 miles of walking path along the Bay frontage for stretching the legs or walking the dog.
The hotel does not have a shuttle from the Oakland International or the San Francisco International airports. Pay shuttles are available ( Bay Porter Express is $25 per person from Oakland International airport, $34 from San Francisco International airport). BART trains from both airports (Coliseum/Oakland International ($2.40) or SFO ($8.80)) come to the Downtown Berkeley BART station (get on the Richmond train or transfer to a Richmond train). There is a bus line from the Berkeley BART to a stop about a block from the Doubletree (51B, Berkeley Marina, not the other 51B to Berkeley Amtrak, $2.10) and there is a taxi stand at the Berkeley BART station. The hotel has a shuttle to downtown Berkeley that runs on the hour. It seems that the hotel’s shuttle will also take people to shops, restaurants and other attractions.
Registration fees will be $110 ($75 for graduate students and retired academics). Food charges for lunch and dinner will be announced later. All Registrants (except the few invited guests) must be members of the Western Literature Association.
POST CONFERENCE ADVENTURE
I have been asked about the possibility of wine tours of Napa Valley. I have hesitated making any arrangements, as these tours tend to be expensive. I can keep working on this issue, as well as other tours, such as a walking tour of San Francisco with a guide who has written extensively about San Francisco. There has been in interest in a trip to the Jack London ranch and his fire-ruined Wolf House in the Jack London State Park in Glen Ellyn. There are a number of urban farms in the East Bay also (check the Institute of Urban Homesteading in Oakland). The Oakland Museum of California is close by. Let me know what interests you, as there are many options in the area, and, of course, it is easy to organize your own personal tour.