Great Books Council of San Francisco

Barbara McConnell

Great Books Weekend at Asilomar

One of the major events of the year for the Great Books Council of San Francisco is the spring weekend at the Asilomar Conference Center in Monterey, California, named in honor of beloved Great Books leader Barbara McConnell. During the weekend there are discussions of poetry, a work of nonfiction, a work of theatre and a work of fiction. The beauty of the area is conducive to stimulating discussions and convivial parties.

Our next Asilomar weekend will be April 26-28, 2019. To celebrate our 60th anniversary at Asilomar, we'll discuss works published in 1959, our first year there: The Two Cultures by C. P. Snow, Miguel Street by V. S. Naipaul, The Possessed by Albert Camus, and selected poetry.

Registration is now open! There are two ways that you can get full details and register:

During Asilomar weekends in recent years we've discussed the plays The Iceman Cometh, Of Mice and Men, The Piano Lesson, and Marat/Sade; works of fiction The Left Hand of Darkness, Cannery Row, Seize the Day, and The Picture of Dorian Gray; and nonfiction works by W. E. B. Du Bois, John Steinbeck, Alexander Hamilton, and Vladimir Nabokov; as well as selected poetry. To see a full list of what's been discussed during our 50+ years at Asilomar, please click this past discussion list.

The Asilomar event co-coordinators are Rob Calvert and Louise Morgan. Rob can be reached via email at

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