Feast of Words: A Literary Potluck is an intimate dinner party hosted by SOMArts Cultural Center and co-curated by Irina Zadov and Lex Leifheit. Community members discover local chefs and writers, bring a dish on the monthly theme and share on-the-spot writing to be entered in a drawing for edibles, books and other prizes!

"Both of us had been thinking a lot about third spaces - the space between work and home, and how to use that time to slow down and be more creative," she said. Feast of Words is a place to refresh the tradition of sitting down to a home-cooked meal and talking about creativity. IPhones are put away. Guests, as well as the invited authors, get to read their work.

 "I love how Feast of Words combines writing, building community and food all inside a gallery; it feels like a dinner party with 30 unknown friends," said guest and January's invited writer Faith Adiele, author of the travel memoir, "Meeting Faith: The Thai Forest Journals of a Black Buddhist Nun."

November's theme was home away from home. Author Andrew Lam read about Vietnamese American life from his new book, "East Eats West," and chef Blair Warsham introduced the crowd to "underground guerrilla dining," where diners RSVP to find the secret location for the meal - say, a rooftop in the city.

October's theme, associated with Day of the Dead, was healing. A spoken-word performer and DJ shared his story of a cousin's gang shooting while guests dined on pumpkin tamales.

Eating and storytelling are natural partners, said caterer Azalina Eusope, who brought dishes from Azalina's Malaysian to December's Feast of Words gathering.

"There is a story behind every food, and especially coming from Malaysia, the food is a blend of three cultures, each with its own history and influences," said Eusope, who prepared coconut shallot rice, and a lentil curry vegetable dish with roasted black sesame seed.

Source: May, Meredith. “Feast of Words gives writers a chance to improvise.” SFGATE, 18 Dec. 2010.

Feast of Words was made possible through support from SOMAarts: Cultural Center and the Puffin Foundation.

Photos courtesy of Irina Zadov.