SF Moby Dick Marathon 2024
  • Date: October 19th 2024
  • Start: 12:00 pm
  • End: 12:00 pm
  • Free
  • Venue: San Francisco Maritime Museum
    900 Beach Street
    San Francisco, CA 94109
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Brace yourself as the MD24 resurfaces in 2024! The Moby Dick 24 Hour Marathon, hosted by the San Francisco Maritime National Park Association, is a secret San Francisco tradition, steeped in both maritime history and theatrical innovation! Whether you’re a Melville scholar or you’ve never even cracked the cover, the MD24 makes the colossal novel Moby Dick feel lively, accessible, and dare we say– FUN!

Literary thrillseekers gather annually to celebrate this complicated, provocative, much-beloved-and-sometimes-dreaded epic of nautical life! Utilizing the voices of volunteer readers, ranging from special guest stars to people just like you (yes, YOU), we honor and amplify the text being spoken– while merging more art forms than ever before! This year’s MD24 ’24 is utilizing dance, music, painting, puppetry, culinary arts, drag, tarot, clowning, spectacle, queer theory, soundscapes, original composition, radio drama, fibre arts– it’s a uniquely San Franciscan approach to cracking this blessed behemoth!

Beginning at twelve noon on Saturday October 19 to noon on Sunday October 20, 2024, the nonstop cover-to-cover marathon reading of this deceptively modern novel addresses elements of race, queerness, ecological impact– and the MD24 turns it all into the hottest afterparty in town!

Come for a chapter, or spend the night in the spectacularly restored Art Deco-style landmark that is the Maritime Museum Building! Join us for this spirited, enthusiastic examination of what Melville continues to mean to us– and how we resonate daily with some of the most complex characters in American literature.

The San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, in partnership with the San Francisco Maritime National Park Association, will host a 24-hour Moby Dick reading marathon in the Maritime Museum.

One of America’s greatest novels, Moby-Dick speaks to race and racism, sexual identity, fate and destiny, environmental degradation, power and powerlessness, madness and obsession, faith and doubt, love and friendship, writing and imagination. It reflects and refracts society, culture, and the human condition, and so remains a powerful text full of ways to discover oneself, and one’s place in the world.

Surrounded by aquatic-themed WPA murals, and overlooking the Aquatic Park Pier and Cove, a diverse crew of over 100 will add their own voices to Melville’s musings, orations, and unforgettable characters.


Guidelines for Readers

  • Due to overwhelming popularity, only one chapter per person.
  • Communication with readers will be through email for updates and changes.
  • Please read the text directly. We encourage dramatizing but not editorializing- no introductions or dedications.
  • The schedule associated with chapters are approximations. Please show up at least a half hour before your chapter to ensure you’re on time.
  • Feel free to wear a costume or bring a manageable prop (no real harpoons!)
  • Extra copies of the book will be on hand, however printing out your chapter in a larger font is recommended.
  • Practicing your chapters before the event is recommended.
  • Things might be happening around you while you read your chapter: musicians, dancers or artists performing.
  • Alcohol wipes and hand sanitizer will be available at the podium.
  • This event may be recorded or live streamed. You may have your picture taken for promotional purposes.

Guidelines for Audience

  • Attendees can come and go as they please.
  • If you do intend on staying for a while, wear comfortable clothes. Our chairs are not known for being “all nighters”. There will be limited spaces for sleeping bags.
  • Costumes are encouraged!
  • Drugs/alcohol/weapons/vaping are not allowed. Usage will result in being asked to leave.
  • We will have free coffee available. Light snacks are allowed.
  • The museum is an artifact within itself. We ask that you be respectful of the building and leave no trace. 
  • We will have some extra copies of Moby Dick on hand but feel free to bring your own.
  • The event may be recorded or live streamed. Your picture may be taken for promotional purposes.
  • No animals other than service dogs are allowed. If you have a pet whale, kindly park them in the cove.
  • People disrupting the reading will be asked to leave.
  • A scheduled reader might not make it on time or has to drop out, if that happens, we accept volunteers from the audience.