A Virtual Conversation about Homelessness, inspired by Journalist’s Debut Novel, At The Edge of the Haight! Katherine Seligman talks with United Way's Michael Wilkos!

Thursday, January 28, 2021 - 7:00pm

Join veteran journalist Katherine Seligman, in conversation with United Way’s Senior Vice President of Community Impact Michael Wilkos, to learn more about her riveting debut novel, At The Edge of the Haight The book won the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction for its empathetic and uncompromising depiction of one of the most urgent issues facing society today: the surge in homelessness amid the rising tide of urban wealth, privilege, and inequity. 

United Way of Central Ohio, the Community Shelter Board, and Lutheran Social Services are Community Partners for this important Gramercy Books discussion.

Registration is on Eventbrite where you will receive login information and full instructions close to the event. A general admission ticket to access the event is $5; a ticket that includes At the Edge of the Haight (available any time after its January 19th publication date) waives the admission fee and is $29. Registration closes at 5:00 pm on the day of the event.

“To read At the Edge of the Haight is to live inside the everyday terror and longings of a world that most of us manage not to see, even if we walk past it on sidewalks every day,” says Barbara Kingsolver, who established the Bellwether Prize. “As a time when more Americans than ever find themselves on the edge of homelessness, this book couldn’t be timelier.”

In San Francisco, where the unhoused sleep near apartments charging astronomical rents, 20-year-old Maddy Donaldo finds her way to Haight Ashbury, long a haven for young travelers, drifters and seekers. She lives with her makeshift family of fellow homeless citizens in the hidden spaces of Golden Gate Park. The delicate balance of her life, where she knows who to trust, is upended when she witnesses the killing of a young homeless boy. Suddenly, Maddy is the unwilling focus of attention—from the police, from the boy’s parents, and from the killer. When she feels pressured to reveal details about her own past and the family from which she ran away, she must decide the best course of action: to stay lost or be found. Against the backdrop of a radically changing San Francisco, a city which embraces a booming tech economy while struggling to maintain its culture of tolerance, At the Edge of the Haight follows the lives of those who depend on makeshift homes and communities.

Katherine Seligman has lived in the Haight for decades and reported on social issues, homelessness, mental health, and urban life for both the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Examiner. Along with serving as a correspondent at USA Today, her work has appeared in Redbook, Life, Money, California Magazine, the anthology Fresh Takes and elsewhere.

Michael Wilkos' expertise is in community revitalization. His team at United Way of Central Ohio develops effective strategies to improve our community and invests in programs that carry out these strategies.