• About us

Photo Credit: Michael HItchner


The Bay Area is teeming with readers, writers, creators, and thinkers. We have harnessed the power of this community to create one of the premier literary festivals in the world. The Festival is a two-day event complete with literary sessions presenting top authors from this region, the nation, and the world, along with an outdoor fair with hundreds of literary exhibitors. We also offer events for kids and writing contests. We transform vibrant Downtown Berkeley into a literary utopia where readers of all ages and interests can find kindred spirits.

The Festival kicked off in 2015 with the mission to create a free, inclusive, world-class literary event in the Bay Area. Since then, the Festival has welcomed more than 1,000 speakers in nearly 400 distinct sessions and is approaching 100,000 attendees.

In 2018 we launched a program called Women Lit to help raise women’s voices. We present acclaimed, female-identified authors in public events year-round and at the festival. Women Lit also offers receptions and salons to build literary community among Bay Area women.

Our business address is Bay Area Book Festival, 1569 Solano Ave. #635, Berkeley CA 94707. We can be reached by email at info@baybookfest.org.

Leadership Team

Cherilyn Parsons

Founder and Executive Director

Samee Roberts

Managing Director

Pia Cortez

Social Media Consultant

Dora La Flora Czifra

Program Systems & Web Manager

Lorna Garano


Scott Gelfand

Chief Operations Officer

Lisa Heyse

International Program Director

Kisky Holwerda

Director of Literary Initiatives

Sarah Kidder

Exhibitor Coordinator

Vanessa Martini

Festival Program Director

Steven Tiffin

Outdoor Fair Producer

Sabrina Werts

Internship Director, Community Liaison, and Creative Associate

Mina Witteman

Program Associate

Festival Team

Adam Gottstein

Green Room Coordinator

Michael Hitchner

Photography Manager

Melody Horowitz

Green Room Hospitality Coordinator

Jane Hudson

Library Liaison

Kate Jessup

Special Events

Abraham Mertens


Scott Nanos

Bookseller Liaison

Mal Warwick

Content Producer

Narda Zacchino

Special Adviser

Art and Web Design Team


Web Designer

Aspire Visual

Graphic Designer

Program Steering Committee

Jane Ciabattari

Board member and former President, National Book Critics Circle

Aya de Leon

Author, activist, and teacher

Ethan Nosowsky

Editorial Director, Graywolf Press

Peter Richardson

Author, Professor at San Francisco State University

Stephen Sparks

Pt. Reyes Books

Brooke Warner

Publisher, SheWrites Press

Program Advisers

Michael Berry

Writer and Reviewer

Cara Black


Randal Brandt

Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley

Michael Holtmann

Center for the Art of Translation

Laurie R. King


Rachel Richardson

Author, Co-director, Left Margin LIT

Mary Ann Scheuer

Teacher librarian, Berkeley Unified School District

Steve Wasserman

Publisher, Heyday Books

Board of Directors

The Bay Area Book Festival is the primary project of the Foundation for the Future of Literature and Literacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization incorporated in California. FFLL’s Tax ID number is 47-3955286. FFLL is governed by a Board of Directors:

Cherilyn Parsons

Founder and Executive Director

Brooke Warner

Publisher, SheWrites Press

Mal Warwick

Author, book reviewer, entrepreneur

Igor Zagatsky

The Urban School

George Rehm


Peter Richardson

Lecturer, School of Humanities and Liberal Studies Coordinator, American Studies and California Studies, San Francisco State University