Since 1974 Small Press Traffic Literary Arts Center (SPT) has been at the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area innovative writing scene, bringing together readers, writers, and independent presses to engage, create, present, critique and archive their work.

Our mission is to provide a local and national platform for experimental writing, paying particular attention to underserved writers and those that identify as women, LBGTQ and/or people of color. We offer writers a continuum of support, from the generation to the connection to a readership both inside and beyond the experimental writing community.

Initially a space to distribute handmade books in a nook of a bookstore in the Mission District, SPT is now recognized by the international writing community as a steward of San Francisco’s important role in contemporary literature.  Highlights from our past 41 years include:

  • Creating community among writers of all age, ethnic, socioeconomic, and cultural groups with programs such as the Left/Write Conference (1981–1982), the Multicultural Reading Series (1980s), Erasing the Margins (1990s), Expanding the Repertoire: Continuity and Change in African-American Writing (2000), and Coordinates: Indigenous Writing Now (2002) a conference on the states of the art, with Native writers and scholars, as well as programming that is deeply informed and supported by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender community;
  • Introducing experimental writing to a new generation through a theatrical production of Kindergarde: avant garde literature and plays for children, and an anthology of work published by Black Radish Books, both made possible by the Creative Work Fund;
  • Crossing genres with traditions such as Poets Theater and Neo-Benshi productions, which encourages poets to negotiate theatrical and filmic forms for which we commission approximately 25 writers each year, mostly during our January festival.

Our current activities include opportunities for experimental writers and their audiences to ENGAGE, CREATE, PRESENT, CRITIQUE and ARCHIVE.


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