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Sat, May 21


San Francisco Botanical Garden

Books on the Garden: Featuring The Ruby, Art and Stories in Nature

Join us on Saturday, May 21 at 1pm for a special afternoon of art activation and inspiration featuring members of The Ruby, a collective of Bay Area women and nonbinary creatives.

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Books on the Garden:  Featuring The Ruby, Art and Stories in Nature
Books on the Garden:  Featuring The Ruby, Art and Stories in Nature

Time & Location

May 21, 2022, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM

San Francisco Botanical Garden, 1199 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122, USA

About the event

Please join us at 1pm for a panel featuring artists Mimi Tempestt, Shanna Farrell, Amber Butts, Claire Light, and moderated by Berna Anat, on the part nature plays in their own creative work. Following the panel, guests will have the opportunity to make their own creative works at three activity stations: Photography & Comics, led by  Breena Nuñez & Aya Brackett; Poetry, led by Jennifer S. Cheng, Mia Ayumi Malhotra, & Heidi Van Horn; and Sensory Words & Prose, led by Susanna Kwan & Ksenia Lakovic

Our panel will begin promptly at 1pm.

Date: Saturday, May 21

Time: 1-3pm

Location: Great Meadow

All ages are welcome.

This is a free event (minus admission to the Garden for non-SF residents), but please RSVP.

Books by The Ruby participants will be available for sale.

Please bring blankets or chairs for sitting on the grass. Please be mindful of high chairs blocking others' view.

About Our Panelists

Berna Anat - Moderator - is an author, podcast host, rich unmarried auntie and award-winning Financial Hype Woman. That’s her made-up way of saying she creates financial education media that lives at @HeyBerna all over the Internet. After slaying her $50,000 debt, she saved up to quit life and has been traveling the world trying to make money fun again ever since.

Mimi Tempestt is a multidisciplinary artist, writer, and daughter of California. She has a MA in Literature from Mills College, and is currently a doctoral student in the Creative/Critical PhD in Literature at UC Santa Cruz. Her first book, the monumental misrememberings, is published with Co-Conspirator Press//TheFeminist Center for Creative Work (2020). She was chosen as a finalist in the Creative Nonfiction Prize for Indiana Review in 2020, and is a creative fellow at The Ruby in San Francisco. She was selected for participation in the Lambda Literary Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices & writers in 2021. Her works can be found in Foglifter, Apogee Journal, Interim Poetics, and The Studio Museum in Harlem.

Shanna Farrell is a writer, interviewer, and audio producer. She works at UC Berkeley's Oral History Center and is the author of two books, "A Good Drink: In Pursuit of Sustainable Spirits" and "Bay Area Cocktails: A History of Culture, Community and Craft."

Amber Butts  is a storyteller, cultural strategist, grief worker and scholar of delight. Amber’s practices are rooted in building reparative, joyful and interdependent relationships between the living Earth and all of its beings. Her role as a steward, listener and beginner have taught her that spaces centered in tenderness, nuance, and care are freedom playgrounds. Her favorite freedom practice is observing the ways non-human beings organize to confront power and protect one another. Though her writing has been featured in dozens of publications around the world, her most cherished, sacred identity is being Audrie Lowe’s granddaughter. Amber lives in Oakland and is currently at work on an intergenerational speculative fiction novel.

Claire Light is a Bay Area writer, cultural worker, and activist. She has worked since 1997 in nonprofit administration, particularly in arts and social justice, has had a longtime association with Kearny Street Workshop (where she co-founded the annual emerging artist festival APAture), and was a cofounder of Hyphen magazine. Her activism has turned most recently to disability justice, and she is co-founder of the Disability Justice League - Bay Area. You can read her fiction in McSweeney’s, Hyphen, and The Encyclopedia Project, among others. A short collection of her stories, Slightly Behind and to the Left, was published by Aqueduct Press in 2009. Her fantasy novel Monkey Around, written under pen name Jadie Jang, was published by Solaris in 2021.

About Our Activity Leaders

Mia Ayumi Malhotra is the author of Notes from the Birth Year, winner of the Bateau Press BOOM Chapbook Contest; and Isako Isako, a California Book Award finalist and winner of the Alice James Award, the Nautilus Gold Award, a National Indie Excellence Award, and a Maine Literary Award. She tends a hillside and teaches poetry in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Jennifer S. Cheng is a poet and essayist whose work explores immigrant home-building, shadow poetics, and the interior wilderness. She is the author of MOON: LETTERS, MAPS, POEMS (2018), named a Publishers Weekly “Best Book of 2018” and HOUSE A (2016), selected by Claudia Rankine for the Omnidawn Poetry Prize. She received awards and fellowships from Brown University, the University of Iowa, San Francisco State University, the National Endowment for the Arts, the U.S. Fulbright program, Kundim MacDowell, Bread Loaf, and the Academy of American Poets. Having grown up in Texas and Hong Kong, she lives in the Outer Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco.

Heidi Van Horn is a poet, editor, and book designer. She is the author of Belated Poem, a book-length sequence of text + image diptychs distilling landscape, color, and language into a poetics of intimate distance and interiority. She is co-creator, with David Makaaha Kwon, of “House of David,” a poetic assemblage exploring the personal and political geography of mass incarceration. Heidi holds a BA in Social Welfare from the University of California at Berkeley and an MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. She was raised and still lives in the Bay Area, where she co-edits a small poetry collective called Drop Leaf Press.

Breena Nuñez is a cartoonist and part-time professor living in San Francisco, CA. She creates diary comics that often explore themes surrounding the awkwardness of racism, being a queer Afrodescendiente from the Bay Area, and understanding what it means to be Central American from the US. Their hope as a cartoonist & educator is to help BIPOC folks give themselves permission to express their personal stories through the language of comics.

Breena’s comics are primarily self-published as zines through the family run small press she co-founded with her husband, Laneha House. You will also find some comics in other publications such as The New Yorker: Daily Shouts and The Nib, as well as anthologies like Tales From La Vida: A Latinx Comics Anthology, Drawing Power (Eisner Award Winner 2020), and Be Gay, Do Comics! (Ignatz Award Winner 2020).

Aya Brackett was born and raised in Nevada City, CA and is now based in Oakland, CA. She grew up in a traditionally built Japanese house with two wood stoves, a generator for electricity and a long dirt road. Aya received a Magna Cum Laude dual B.A. in Visual Arts and East Asian Studies from Brown University, and also studied photography at Rhode Island School of Design and the California College of the Arts. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Travel + Leisure, Monocle, Bon Appetit and more. She has photographed many cookbooks for notable chefs, and received a James Beard award for her photography.

Susanna Kwan writes, edits, and draws in San Francisco. She has received fellowships from Vanderbilt University, the San Francisco Writers' Grotto, and Kundiman.

Ksenia Lakovic is a bilingual writer in English and Serbian, currently finalizing her first novel in both languages. Her fiction appeared in various journals and anthologies, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She wrote nonfiction for The Globe and Mail, The Millions, and others. A native of Belgrade, she moved to Los Angeles for PhD studies at UCLA, and now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her website is

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