Call for Proposals

The Bay Area Book Festival, now in its sixth year, welcomes your proposals. We are looking for your ideas on featured authors, panel topics, and possible exhibitors to join us May 2 & 3, 2020, in downtown Berkeley. With over 200 authors at 12 venues and 3 outdoor stages, the Bay Area Book Festival has become one of the premier literary events for authors both local and international.

We are lucky to be in the Bay Area, a region rich with literary creativity. Our writers, readers, activists, and booksellers make the Bay Area one of the most exciting places for literature today. Twenty-five thousand people attend the Festival yearly, and your authors and programs also will be featured on our well-trafficked social media channels. Further, the Festival partners with the San Francisco Chronicle to produce a comprehensive Festival Program Guide with reach to households across the entire Bay Area.

The Festival seeks to offer a panoramic view of what’s most exciting in literature today. Our goal is to create conversation, prioritizing authors and topics that reflect and engage the diverse body of readership in the Bay Area. We highlight marginalized voices, explore complex current events, and celebrate boundary-pushing literature. We also offer a comprehensive program for children and YA readers, seeking new and creative ways to engage young readers with interactive and innovative programming.

Nominations for speakers and programs are now open. Please refer to the guidelines below.

Nomination Guidelines

We encourage your nomination of excellent authors of literary fiction, memoir, works in translation, essays, sci-fi, mysteries and thrillers, current events, politics, science, spirituality, travel, poetry, young adult fiction, contemporary romance and children’s books. We especially encourage submissions from authors of diverse backgrounds and experience.

We regularly showcase international authors and the best of translated literature  today. Authors travel to the Festival from a dozen or more countries, and many of the Festival’s domestic authors originally hailed from outside the United States. To appear at the Festival, an author must be able to fluently present in English.

A speaker at the Festival should have a book published between June 2019 and May 5, 2020. Book sales are a key part of the Festival experience. Books must be readily available to our independent bookseller partners.

Festival programs include keynote speakers, conversations and interviews, panel discussions, storytelling and interactive experiences, literary performances, and a limited number of workshop-style sessions.

Publishers: You are welcome to nominate authors any time throughout the year. For maximum consideration, please submit your proposal before December 13, 2019.

Individuals: You are welcome to submit a programming proposal (for a talk, interview, panel, or other festival event) and/or specific book between September 15, 2019, and December 13, 2019.

For program ideas, please send us a 1-2 paragraph description of your idea, why you think it is a good fit for the Festival, who your intended audience is, and how you would work with the Festival’s marketing team to bring audience to your proposed event.

All nominations must include:

  • Author name(s)
  • Most recent book title
  • Publication date
  • ISBN, price, and format (hardcover or paper)
  • Publisher and imprint
  • Short description
  • Short author bio and press kit, if available

Please confirm that the author(s) you nominate will be available May 2-3, 2020!

An Advance Review Copy helps us greatly in reviewing your submission. Please send ARCS to:

BABF Program Team
1569 Solano Ave #635
Berkeley, CA 94707

Please note, we do consider all suggestions, but as we will be featuring over 200 authors we are simply unable to take every suggestion. We will reply by the end of January, 2020.

To submit a nomination or session proposal, please fill out this form.

Exhibitor Information

The Festival features 200 outdoor literary-themed exhibitors, including individual authors who purchase a booth (please note, these authors do not appear on stages but interface with the public outdoors). If you or your company is interested in exhibiting, please sign up to our exhibitor newsletter here and be first to know when we are accepting application, or add a request for information to your speaker pitch. We’d love to have you!

Sponsorships

There are many opportunities for sponsorship of the Bay Area Book Festival. Let us work with you to deliver and maximize your investment in this unique event. Opportunities range from branding or creation of sessions, marketing through our mailing list, special outdoor activations, presence at our Gala, and more. Please visit our sponsor page if you’d like to receive information on sponsorship, email sponsor@baybookfest.org, or add a request for information to your speaker or program pitch.

Some Background on the Bay Area Book Festival

The Bay Area Book Festival debuted in 2015 in downtown Berkeley. Each year we present between 200-300 authors, totaling over 1100 over five years of nearly 500 carefully curated keynotes, interviews, panels, and performances. Authors have included dozens of Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winners, U.S. and California Poet Laureates, top best-selling writers from the United States and more than 20 other countries around the world, and political and business leaders, such as a U.S. Senator. Past domestic authors for adults have included Kwame Anthony Appiah, Shane Bauer, Ann Beattie, Cara Black, David Blight, Judy Blume, Michael Chabon, Cory Doctorow, Geoff Dyer, Dave Eggers, Barbara Ehrenreich, Mona Eltahawy, Roxane Gay, Masha Gessen, Anand Giridharadas, Daniel Handler, Robert Hass, Jane Hirshfield, Adam Hochschild, Pico Iyer, Adam Johnson, Tayari Jones, Laurie R. King, Jack Kornfield, R.O. Kwon, Kiese Laymon,  Layli Long Soldier, Barry Lopez, Carmen Maria Machado, Greil Marcus, Joyce Maynard, Walter Mosley, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Joyce Carol Oates, Morgan Parker, Ishmael Reed, Robert Reich, Kim Stanley Robinson, Greg Sarris, John Scalzi, Namwali Serpell, Gary Snyder, Rebecca Solnit, T.J. Stiles, Scott Turow, David Wallace-Wells, Alice Waters, and hundreds more esteemed writers. Children’s and YA authors have ranged from Innosanto Nagara to Mac Barnett, Melissa de la Cruz, Cornelia Funke, Justina Ireland, Cindy Pon, Dan Santat, and dozens more. International authors we have hosted include Jussi Adler-Olsen (Denmark), Jonas Bonnier (Sweden), Esi Edugyan (Canada), Geir Gulliksen (Norway), Ragnar Jonasson (Iceland), Jonas Hassen Khemiri (Sweden), Nora Krug (Germany), Krys Lee (South Korea), Guadalupe Nettel (Mexico), Hannah Ørstavik (Norway), Sjón (Iceland), and Colm Tóibín (Ireland), among many others.

A full list of festival speakers and sessions for each year is archived on www.baybookfest.org. Key partners have been the San Francisco Chronicle (which distributes a 44-page Festival Program Guide in its Sunday newspaper), the City of Berkeley, KQED, Berkeleyside, KALW, and UC Berkeley, among many others. Past sponsors have included Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, Beneficial State Bank, Alibris, Chronicle Books, CIIS, HarperOne, and dozens of others, including many consulates and cultural institutes.