• Schedule

2018 Keynotes, Interviews, and Panels

To guarantee access to indoor programs, we recommend that you purchase a Priority Admission Ticket for only $10. Otherwise, you can purchase a General Admission Wristband for $15 for the whole weekend, with first-come, first-served admission after Priority Ticket holders are let in. Outdoor programs — at the San Francisco Chronicle Stage in the Park and the Showtime Stage for families — are free, with first-come, first served seating.

For a print copy of the schedule, download the full schedule grid (1.4 MB) from the San Francisco Chronicle Program Guide (25.1 MB) or pick up a copy at the Festival.

Book signing at BABF: Authors speaking at BABF are scheduled to sign copies of their books following their programs. Books will be available for purchase, courtesy of our independent bookstore partners, nearby; you may also bring a book or two from home to be signed.

Signing areas are within most indoor venues, and immediately adjacent to each of the outdoor program tents.

  • Category

10:00 AM
  • International
  • Literary

Breaking Literary Ground: Ambitious Young Writers from Ireland

Eimear McBride, David Hayden, Liz Nugent, moderated by Rosemary Graham

Saturday, April 28

10:00 AM - 11:15 AM

The small country of Ireland has always had an outsize influence on world literature. For the third year in a row, the festival showcases some of today’s most powerful writers who come from this land of literary pioneers. Surrealist feminist author Eimear McBride creates a literary mosaic with her disjointed, artful syntax; NPR called her “one of the most exciting young talents in fiction.” Of David Hayden’s debut short story collection, the Guardian wrote, “Once in a blue moon, a book comes along that really is like nothing you’ve ever read before.” Liz Nugent is a rising star who has written a dark thriller that Publisher’s Weekly, in a starred review, called “an intense character study” that plays with truth.

Berkeley City College - Auditorium

With the support of Culture Ireland and Irish Culture Bay Area

10:00 AM
  • Current Affairs

Resisting Hate with Free Speech

Nadine Strossen interviewed by Erwin Chemerinsky

Saturday, April 28

10:00 AM - 11:15 AM

The question of limits on free speech has recently occupied our nation’s consciousness—as well as the physical streets of Berkeley. The American Civil Liberties Union has worked for nearly 100 years to arbitrate this question in times of intense political division, and now Nadine Strossen, former president of the ACLU, joins us to to present “HATE: Why We Should Resist it With Free Speech, Not Censorship”—appropriately released here in Berkeley, home of the Free Speech Movement. Strossen will be interviewed by UC Berkeley School of Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky.

Freight & Salvage

Sponsored by UC Berkeley Arts + Design

10:00 AM
  • Travel

Are We There Yet? The Best American Road Trips

Jamie Jensen, Margaret Littman, Stuart Thornton, moderated by Kevin McLain

Saturday, April 28

10:00 AM - 11:15 AM

The Great American Road Trip is one of our country’s most vibrant traditions—the open road, the beauty of our diverse American landscape, and discovery of the country’s regional culture and cuisines. Avalon Travel’s panel of road trippers can help you learn where to experience the historic, quirky, and unique soul of America. Then get trippin’!

Hotel Shattuck Plaza - Boiler Room

Sponsored by Moon Travel Guides

10:00 AM
  • Mystery, Crime & Thrillers
  • Women/Gender

Murder She Writes: Catherine Coulter Talks with Laurie R. King

Catherine Coulter interviewed by Laurie R. King

Saturday, April 28

10:00 AM - 11:15 AM

Catherine Coulter, No.1 New York Times best-selling suspense writer and author of 82 novels (almost all of them New York Times bestsellers!), is interviewed by Mystery Writers of America NorCal president Laurie R. King, herself a bestselling author of 25 novels. These two remarkable writers will talk about Coulter’s journey from Regency romances to FBI thrillers, the research she does for her widely varied stories, and her craft, art, and life of writing.

Hotel Shattuck Plaza - Crystal Ballroom

Sponsored by the Mystery Writers of America, Northern California Chapter

10:00 AM
  • International
  • Literary
  • Women/Gender

Translating Trauma

Katherena Vermette, Winnie M. Li, moderated by Natasha Singh

Saturday, April 28

10:00 AM - 11:15 AM

Much great literature focuses on the darkest parts of being human, and writers need exceptional courage to write about trauma. Katherena Vermette, who comes from the Métis nation in Canada, writes about violence and power struggles between women in her harrowing novel “The Break,” praised by Margaret Atwood as “universal.” Of Winnie Li’s debut novel “Dark Chapter,” inspired by her own experience as a survivor of assault, Kirkus reviews said: “That Li was able to write this novel, as both personal catharsis and public service, speaks volumes about her inner strength. Li’s novel is both a valuable social document and a riveting page-turner.” This pair of acclaimed female writers will explore the question of how we process and communicate trauma.

The Brower Center - Goldman Theater

With the support of the Consulate General of Canada, San Francisco/Silicon Valley

10:00 AM
  • Writing & Publishing

The Book Review: Top Reviewers Share How It’s Done

Lydia Kiesling, Paul Laity, John McMurtrie, Ismail Muhammad, moderated by Jane Ciabattari

Saturday, April 28

10:00 AM - 11:15 AM

What makes for a good book review? How about a good book reviewer, for that matter? How are books chosen for review, and reviewers chosen for a particular book? How should a “bad” book be panned—or is it better to just not review it at all? This panel of esteemed reviewers takes us inside the process: Lydia Kiesling, editor of the literary website The Millions; Paul Laity, non-fiction reviewer at The Guardian; John McMurtrie, books editor at the San Francisco Chronicle; Ismail Muhammad, reviewer for The Millions and contributor to Slate and the Paris Review; and Jane Ciabattari, reviewer for the BBC, and current vice president (and former president) of the National Book Critics Circle.

The Brower Center - Tamalpais Room

10:00 AM
  • Literary
  • Native American

Timeless Wisdom: Greg Sarris on Telling Tales and Native American Literary Tradition

Greg Sarris

Saturday, April 28

10:00 AM - 11:15 AM

Greg Sarris wears many hats: award-winnning author, screenwriter, scholar, professor, and tribal chief of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria. His latest book, “How a Mountain Was Made,” is a collection of stories inspired by traditional Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo creation tales; it celebrates the lore surrounding Sonoma Mountain. Timeless in wisdom and beauty, these fables are highly relevant to our times as they explore leadership, landscape, community, and responsibility to self and other. The Los Angeles Review of Books wrote, “Stunning…. Neither an arid anthropological text nor another pseudo-Indian as-told-to fabrication. Instead, Sarris has breathed new life into these ancient Northern California tales and legends.”

The Marsh - Cabaret

Sponsored by the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria

10:00 AM
  • Literary
  • Writing & Publishing

The Modern Writer’s Practice, Presented by California College of the Arts

Faith Adiele, Tonya Foster, Aimee Phan, Leslie Carol Roberts, moderated by Tom Barbash

Saturday, April 28

10:00 AM - 11:15 AM

Writers shoulder a responsibility to serve as voices for their time. They seek ways to narrate, philosophize, and ponder what it means to be human as the world fluctuates dramatically around them. Translating the complex world—inner and outer change—into words is no easy task. This panel of faculty from CCA’s M.F.A. in Writing program embraces writers with diverse practices across travel, memoir, fiction, and poetry to interrogate the role of creative practice in the 21st century.

The Marsh - Theater

Sponsored by the California College of Arts MFA in Writing Program

10:00 AM
  • Writing & Publishing

Pep Talk for Writers!

Grant Faulkner, Brooke Warner

Saturday, April 28

10:00 AM - 11:15 AM

“The world needs your novel.” That’s the tagline of National Novel Writing Month, the nonprofit literary phenomenon run by Grant Faulkner. NaNoWriMo now boasts approximately 400,000 participants who pledge to write a full novel in a month (they each write their own book—made up of at least 50,000 words—each November). Some highly successful works have come out of the initiative, including Sara Gruen’s “Water for Elephants” and Rainbow Rowell’s “Fangirl.” Faulkner appears in person with Brooke Warner, publisher of She Writes Press, president of Warner Coaching Inc., and author of “Green-Light Your Book,” to talk about how to turn inspiration into a tangible product. This session is a must-see for anyone who believes they have a book in them.

Veteran's Memorial Building - Auditorium

10:30 AM
  • International
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Women/Gender

The Art of Science Fiction: Interview with Sylvie Denis, France’s Queen of Sci-Fi

Sylvie Denis interviewed by Marie Brennan

Saturday, April 28

10:30 AM - 11:45 AM

For this special event, one of France’s leading science fiction writers, Sylvie Denis, travels to the Bay Area Book Festival to discuss her work and the genre of science fiction. A novelist, short story writer, critic, editor, and translator, Denis has often focused her writing on new technologies and their impact on societies. She also will explore themes of climate change and migration (her current focus) and will share her experience as a woman writing (French critical theory has had much to say, controversially, about the female literary voice). Finally, how does translation affect the presentation of literary work and science fiction especially? She will be interviewed by fantasy writer Marie Brennan, whose work Denis has translated. SURPRISE: First 75 people will receive a special translation of part of Denis’s novel, an excerpt prepared just for this program and not available anywhere else!

Magnes Museum

With the support of Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States

11:00 AM
  • Health, Psychology & Spirituality
  • Outdoor (Free)
  • Women/Gender

Geneen Roth’s Messy Magnificent Life

Geneen Roth, Vanessa Hua

Saturday, April 28

11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

Geneen Roth (author of the massively popular memoir “Women Food and God”) has simple advice for those trying to improve themselves: Do not try to fix your flaws. In fact, she takes issue with the idea of flaws at all. After years struggling with body issues, Geneen Roth made peace with herself and embarked on the journey to find meaning beyond self-image. Her new book, “This Messy Magnificent Life,” does not aim to show readers how to correct their path—it aims to help them see the beauty of the path they are on. Vanessa Hua joins Geneen in conversation.

San Francisco Chronicle Stage in the Park

11:15 AM
  • History
  • Writing & Publishing

The Power of History: Turning Groundbreaking Scholarship into Page-Turning Prose

Edward L. Ayers, Peter Cozzens, Joel Richard Paul, T. J. Stiles, moderated by Steve Wasserman

Saturday, April 28

11:15 AM - 12:45 PM

Is best-selling history bad history? Does good history have to be dull reading? Four award-winning historians and biographers talk about the big questions of American history and reveal how they explore them through captivating narratives that win esteem in the academy yet appeal to wide audiences. Bancroft and Lincoln prize winner Edward Ayers (whose many works focus on the Civil War and Reconstruction), Gilder Lehrman Military History Prize winner Peter Cozzens (most recently “The Earth Is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West”), Pulitzer and National Book Award laureate T.J. Stiles (most recently “Custer’s Trials: A Life on a Frontier of New America” and “The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt”), and Hastings Law Professor Joel Richard Paul (most recently “Without Precedent: Chief Justice John Marshall and His Times”) talk with Steve Wasserman, executive director of Heyday Books, former editor at Yale University Press, and former book review editor of the Los Angeles Times.

BAMPFA - Osher Theater

Sponsored by Reed Schmidt, with partial support from the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria

11:30 AM
  • Children & Families
  • Free

Mac Barnett Takes the Stage!

Mac Barnett

Saturday, April 28

11:30 AM - 12:00 PM

The prolific phenomenon known as Mac Barnett returns to tell the tales of The Terrible Twos…and who knows what else! Don’t miss a very special author on the Showtime Stage.

Showtime Stage

11:45 AM
  • Literary
  • Teen

Life as We Know It: Realistic Young Adult Fiction

Jesse Andrews, Alexandra Ballard, Annie Barrows, Maurene Goo, moderated by Regan McMahon

Saturday, April 28

11:45 AM - 1:00 PM

Readers of all ages can see themselves in YA characters who face real-life questions about budding love, friendships, powerlessness, and the process of finding one’s place in the world. What do these YA characters have to teach readers about themselves? Join Jesse Andrews, author of “Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl”; Alexandra Ballard, who masterfully depicts one girl’s struggle with an eating disorder in her new book “What I Lost”; Annie Barrows, author of the new novel “Nothing,” which proves that every life is a story worth telling; and Maurene Goo, who presents a “richly-drawn portrait of multicultural LA” in her new novel “The Way You Make Me Feel.” (Remember, anyone under age 18 is let in free—no wristbands necessary!)

Berkeley City College - Auditorium

11:45 AM
  • International
  • Literary

Wrestling with the Devil: Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o in Conversation

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o interviewed by Namwali Serpell

Saturday, April 28

11:45 AM - 1:00 PM

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o is one of the world’s most prominent African writers working today, often on the radar for the Nobel Prize. He joins us to discuss the American release of “Wrestling with the Devil: A Prison Memoir.” In 1977, he was imprisoned by the Kenyan government in a maximum security facility because of his artistic defiance of a regime. In prison, he penned a novel—on toilet paper, the only paper to which he had access—that would become his classic, “Devil on the Cross.” He will discuss the prison experience, challenges of writing fiction under twenty-four-hour surveillance, and the spirit of defiance that defines hope. He testifies to the power of imagination to help humans break free of confinement, the story of all art. It is an honor to welcome him to Berkeley.

Freight & Salvage

Sponsored by UC Berkeley Arts + Design

11:45 AM
  • Children & Families

Full Hearts and Clever Minds: Meet Some Unforgettable Characters

Tae Keller, Esta Spalding, moderated by Ben Schwartz

Saturday, April 28

11:45 AM - 1:00 PM

With heart and creativity, anything is possible! Come meet characters who are role models with a lot of moxie. Esta Spalding’s “Look Out for the Fitzgerald Trouts” tells of four plucky kids who live in a car on an island, fending for themselves while they search for a permanent home. Tae Keller brings readers another moving character in “The Science of Breakable Things,” which follows a young girl who goes to great lengths to help her mother through her depression. (Remember, anyone under age 18 is let in free—no wristbands necessary!)

Hotel Shattuck Plaza - Boiler Room

11:45 AM
  • Mystery, Crime & Thrillers

Insider, Outsider: Do PIs or Cops Do It Better?

Cara Black, Candice Fox, Matt Goldman, Rachel Howzell Hall, moderated by Bill Petrocelli

Saturday, April 28

11:45 AM - 1:00 PM

At the center of every good crime novel is a hero sniffing out the truth, whether a veteran police officer hardened and informed by years on the force, or a plucky private eye who takes on the case with little to no resources. Four accomplished crime writers battle it out to determine once and for all who does it better, cops or PIs? Vouching for private investigators, Cara Black (Aimée Leduc, PI) and Matt Goldman (Private detective Nils Shapiro) will go head to head with Candice Fox (Detective Harriet Blue) and Rachel Howzell Hall (Detective Elouise Norton). Mystery author Bill Petrocelli moderates.

Hotel Shattuck Plaza - Crystal Ballroom

11:45 AM
  • Literary

Native Voices Changing the Story

Tommy Orange, Katherena Vermette, moderated by Carolina De Robertis

Saturday, April 28

11:45 AM - 1:00 PM

These two powerful rising voices are breaking new ground in Native literature. Pam Houston wrote of Tommy Orange, “Remember his name. His book’s going to blow the roof off.” His novel “There There” is a remarkable look at urban Indian experience that Margaret Atwood described as “a gripping deep dive into urban indigenous community in California: an astonishing literary début!” Katherena Vermette is a writer from the Métis nation in Canada whose multifaceted novel “The Break” follows a Native woman and her neighbors after an assault. One of many rave reviews described “a stark portrayal of the adversity that plagues First Nations women in this country—and the strength that helps them survive.” Bonus: The first 100 attendees to this session will receive an excerpt of Orange’s book, set to hit shelves in June.

The Brower Center - Goldman Theater

With support from the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria and the Consulate General of Canada, San Francisco/Silicon Valley

11:45 AM
  • Current Affairs
  • History
  • Literary

The Art of Memoir: A Story That Must Be Heard

Francisco Cantu, Julie Lythcott-Haims, Elizabeth Rosner, moderated by Marie Mockett

Saturday, April 28

11:45 AM - 1:00 PM

Memoir writers have the especially challenging task of confronting their own past and creating themselves as a character. The subject must be core to the writer’s own identity and moral agenda to drive this kind of ruthless introspection and risk. In a haunting memoir, Francisco Cantu tells of his difficult stint as a U.S. Border Guard, the reasons he walked away, his attempts to use what he learned to help an apprehended friend, and the controversy over his story. With “Survivor Café: The Legacy of Trauma and the Labyrinth of Memory,” Elizabeth Rosner explores not only her own experience as the daughter of Holocaust survivors—the book is organized around trips with her father to Buchenwald—but questions of trauma, memory, and loss as survivors die but their stories must not. In “Real American: A Memoir,” Julie Lythcott-Haims—Harvard-trained lawyer and the only child of an African-American father and white British mother—is “a courageous, achingly honest meditation on what it means to come to consciousness as a mixed race child and adult in a nation where Black lives weren’t meant to matter,” said Michelle Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow.”

The Brower Center - Tamalpais Room

11:45 AM
  • Poetry

State Lines: New California Poets

Ari Banias, MK Chavez, Vandana Khanna, Austin Smith, moderated by D.A. Powell

Saturday, April 28

11:45 AM - 1:00 PM

Against a backdrop of immense natural beauty, California’s writers can’t ignore the dissonance. Protests in the streets, unforgiving wildfires, homeless encampments, immigration raids, racial and sexuality based violence: in our idyllic state, the nation’s social issues are an indisputable part of life. Join four emerging Californian poets who explore, in their dynamic verse, these very issues. They form a new generation that, like all things California, helps set terms for the country at large. Introduced by acclaimed poet and University of San Francisco professor D.A. Powell.

The Marsh - Cabaret

11:45 AM
  • Children & Families
  • Literary

Shakespeare Pops!

Reed Martin, Austin Tichenor

Saturday, April 28

11:45 AM - 1:00 PM

For a man who said “brevity is the soul of wit,” Shakespeare sure had a lot to say. Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor create a bridge from this great playwright to younger readers—they’ve packaged his stories in bite-sized treats. And these treats pop! Join the duo at the helm of the Reduced Shakespeare Company as they discuss their eye-catching and whimsical book, “Pop Up Shakespeare.” (Remember, anyone under age 18 is let in free—no wristbands necessary!)

The Marsh - Theater

11:45 AM
  • Health, Psychology & Spirituality
  • Literary

What Makes a Life Worth Living? Powerful Memoirs of Love and Loss

Lucy Kalanithi, Rebecca Soffer, Elizabeth Percer, moderated by Elizabeth Scarboro

Saturday, April 28

11:45 AM - 1:00 PM

In his final year of life before dying of cancer, neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi wrote the bestselling “When Breath Becomes Air,” probing how the mind makes meaning and why our lives matter. Now his widow, Lucy Kalanithi, is joined by Rebecca Soffer, editor of the new anthology “Modern Loss”, and writers Elizabeth Percer and Elizabeth Scarboro, to discuss mortality, survival, and how to navigate grief in the modern age.

Veteran's Memorial Building - Auditorium

Sponsored by SACHI - Society for Art & Cultural Heritage of India

12:15 PM
  • Literary
  • Women/Gender

Beyond Jane and Hermione: New Smart Women in Literature

Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, Jana Casale, Martha Batalha, Adrienne Sharp, Moderated by Barbara Lane

Saturday, April 28

12:15 PM - 1:30 PM

Now is a time for brilliant women to be heard, seen, and read about. This panel of women has taken up the mantle, adding to the chorus of female voices through their strong characters—from whip-smart anarchist teen rebels to restless and explosive women seeking to defy expectations. Powerhouse authors Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, Jana Casale, Martha Batalha, and Adrienne Sharp make up this strong female panel.

Magnes Museum

12:45 PM
  • Current Affairs
  • Outdoor (Free)
  • Women/Gender

Men and Boys 2018: Cultural and Personal Masculinities

Dacher Keltner, Michael Kimmel, moderated by Otis R. Taylor Jr.

Saturday, April 28

12:45 PM - 2:00 PM

As women across the world make their painful experiences visible, men have begun to grapple with how the masculine identity shapes the power imbalance. The cultural positioning of manhood starts early (“Boys don’t cry!”) and continues to influence these boys’ identities as they grow (“Man up!”). Masculinity expert Michael Kimmel and psychology professor Dacher Keltner investigate.

San Francisco Chronicle Stage in the Park

1:15 PM
  • Literary

Largesse of the Dark Angel

Sean San Jose, Kate Moses, Christian Kiefer, Gary Kamiya, John Freeman, moderated by Jane Ciabattari

Saturday, April 28

1:15 PM - 2:45 PM

Denis Johnson was a pathfinder, magician of words, speaker for broken souls, “cliff-walking literary genius,” grappler with God. Poet, playwright, novelist, short story writer, and Northern Californian, he was known as a quintessential “writer’s writer.” Enjoy this tribute and exploration of what makes for great literary art with leading literary critics, essayists, and novelists who knew Johnson well.

BONUS: A screening of the film “Jesus’ Son,” based on Johnson’s classic short story, takes place Saturday, April 28 at 8:15pm as part of the festival’s film and literature series with BAMPFA. Separately ticketed; $8 at BAMPFA.org.

BAMPFA - Osher Theater

1:30 PM
  • International
  • Literary
  • Women/Gender

Fierce Originality: Eimear McBride interviewed by Sylvia Brownrigg

Eimear McBride interviewed by Sylvia Brownrigg

Saturday, April 28

1:30 PM - 2:45 PM

With her first published novel, “A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing,” Eimear McBride was compared to a feminist James Joyce in how she broke language to capture fleeting consciousness itself, in this case in the mind of a young girl struggling to remain intact amidst trauma. The New York Times called it “a future classic.” NPR said, “Shattering…Be prepared to be blown away by this raw, visceral, brutally intense neomodernist first novel.” In her second, even more sophisticated novel, “The Lesser Bohemians,” she also aimed “to write truthfully about female experience,” this time about a consuming love affair with an older man. “Writing is painful,” she told the Guardian, “but it’s the closest you can get to joy.” McBride comes to us from Ireland to talk about writing, life, feminism and more with novelist Sylvia Brownrigg.

Berkeley City College - Auditorium

With the support of Culture Ireland

1:30 PM
  • Current Affairs
  • Literary

Viet Thanh Nguyen on Art and Politics

Viet Thanh Nguyen interviewed by Karen Tei Yamashita

Saturday, April 28

1:30 PM - 2:45 PM

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 2016 for his novel “The Sympathizer,” Viet Thanh Nguyen—fiction writer, essayist, activist, and UC Berkeley doctoral alum—has become an outspoken voice for refugee rights and justice for immigrants. In 2017 he received a MacArthur Genius Grant, and while he was commended for “challenging popular depictions of the Vietnam War and exploring the myriad ways that war lives on for those it has displaced,” his latest efforts move outward to the plight of refugees across the world. His lauded story collection “The Refugees” explores immigration, identity, love, and family. His latest project, “The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives,” brings together a host of prominent writers. He joins us to today to talk with Karen Tei Yamashita, novelist and essayist on the immigrant experience, about the role of the writer in society, the importance of art to politics, and the power of the written word.

Freight & Salvage

Sponsored by UC Berkeley Arts + Design

1:30 PM
  • International
  • Mystery, Crime & Thrillers
  • Women/Gender

Women Plot the Crime

Sara Blaedel and Yrsa Sigurdardóttir, moderated by Cara Black

Saturday, April 28

1:30 PM - 2:45 PM

The plot for the perfect crime may very well reside in the minds of these three cunning women. This panel of authors will discuss what it takes—and what it takes out of you—to write a complex, compelling, and believable (but un-guessable) crime story. Come plumb the minds of Sara Blaedel (Denmark’s “queen of crime”) and Icelandic best-selling author Yrsa Sigurdardóttir, as they talk with fellow crime writer Cara Black.

Hotel Shattuck Plaza - Crystal Ballroom

With the support of the Danish Arts Foundation, the Royal Danish Embassy, Iceland Naturally, the Icelandic Literature Center, the Norway House Foundation, NORLA - Norwegian Literature Abroad, and the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation

1:30 PM
  • Children & Families
  • Comics & Graphics

The Transformative Power of Art: Making The Dam Keeper

Robert Kondo, Dice Tsutsumi

Saturday, April 28

1:30 PM - 2:45 PM

In 2014, audiences had to guard their heart-strings against Pixar’s short film “The Dam Keeper,” which told the story of Pig, a young boy who lives in a windmill and must keep a menacing fog away from his town. The responsibility weighs even heavier because Pig has no friends. Not until a new kid shows up at school and introduces Pig to artistic expression does his loneliness begin to dissipate. Join the men behind the film to discuss art, friendship, and creative dreams. This graphic novel is masterful on both literary and artistic levels: Be prepared to be swept away! (Remember, anyone under age 18 is let in free—no wristbands necessary!)

Hotel Shattuck Plaza - White Cotton Room

1:30 PM
  • Current Affairs
  • History
  • Native American

Murder and Survival: The Remarkable Story of Indian Rebirth in the Wake of Genocide

Benjamin Madley, Peter Cozzens, moderated by Greg Sarris

Saturday, April 28

1:30 PM - 2:45 PM

The attempted extermination of the indigenous peoples of the United States is a vital history too little known in its bloody details. Two eminent historians, Peter Cozzens and Benjamin Madley, describe how the Indian Wars were carried out in the West, resulting in cultural genocide on Native peoples, and for California, in actual physical genocide. But the story today also is one of cultural renewal. How did tribes manage to survive? In addition to moderating this session, tribal chairman and multifaceted writer and scholar Greg Sarris describes the challenges and opportunities of the current moment, including Native activism.

The Brower Center - Goldman Theater

With support from the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria

1:30 PM
  • International
  • Literary

Utter Fascination: The Art of the Exceptionally Complex Character

Åsa Avdic, Therese Bohman, Carl Frode Tiller, moderated by Laleh Khadivi

Saturday, April 28

1:30 PM - 2:45 PM

How do writers create complex characters? These three authors discuss how they dream up, and then capture on the page, entirely new people who are exceptionally complicated. What narrative strategies do they use to create them? How did the characters develop in the authors’ minds? Don’t miss the complex characters on this panel: Asa Avdic, a journalist and breakout novelist whose debut, “The Dying Game,” is a chilling version of an Agatha Christie ensemble (characters trapped and slowly disappearing) in a futuristic Sweden; Therese Bohman, whose scintillating novel “Eventide” about a middle-aged woman’s life “explores complex inner worlds with great sensitivity and insight” (Kirkus); and Carl Frode Tiller with the “Encircling” trilogy, which endeavors to reconstruct a man’s mind piece by piece after he loses his memory.

The Brower Center - Tamalpais Room

With the support of the Norway House Foundation, NORLA - Norwegian Literature Abroad, the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, and the Consulate General of Sweden in San Francisco

1:30 PM
  • Current Affairs
  • Poetry

Brenda Hillman and Geoffrey G. O’Brien: A Conversation

Brenda Hillman, Geoffrey G. O'Brien, introduced by Rachel Richardson

Saturday, April 28

1:30 PM - 2:45 PM

What is the role of creative political resistance in a time of ascendant fascism? Historically, books, poems, and art have proven powerful enough to change the course of history. California poets Brenda Hillman and Geoffrey G. O’Brien discuss their new books and the critical function of art as activism. From the elegy to the love poem, from the individual to the collective, these poets will explore how words give us strength.

The Marsh - Cabaret

1:30 PM
  • Literary
  • Teen
  • Women/Gender

Nina LaCour Up Close and Personal

Nina LaCour, interviewed by Regan McMahon

Saturday, April 28

1:30 PM - 2:45 PM

Nina LaCour’s characters look a lot like her readers. The characters are easy for readers to relate to: living in worlds readers recognize, suffering the same kinds of uncertainties, experiencing the same sorts of tiny life-changing moments. LaCour has devoted her life to young adults: first as a teacher, then as a writer. Her new novel, “We Are Okay,” follows a college-aged girl as she deals with trauma, isolation, coping, and change. It was called “a moving portrait of a girl struggling to rebound after everything she’s known has been thrown into disarray” by Publisher’s Weekly and was named the best book of the year written for teens, winning the Michael L. Printz Award from the American Library Association, a leading award for teen fiction. (Remember, anyone under age 18 is let in free—no wristbands necessary!)

The Marsh - Theater

1:30 PM
  • Current Affairs
  • History

State of Resistance: What California’s Dizzying Descent and Remarkable Resurgence Means for America’s Future

Manuel Pastor interviewed by Monika Bauerlein

Saturday, April 28

1:30 PM - 2:45 PM

The Golden State has not always been the bastion of liberalism it is viewed as today. Not even three decades ago, there were riots in the streets of Los Angeles, while racist policing, anti-immigration sentiment, and unfavorable tax policies cast a shadow on the sunny state. As award-winning USC professor Manuel Pastor states in his new book, things have turned around. Today, the state is at the forefront of environmental, economic, and political progressive movements. Pastor and interviewer Monika Bauerlein, CEO of Mother Jones magazine, examine the path California has traveled since the 1990s and map its trajectory for the future.

Veteran's Memorial Building - Auditorium

Sponsored by Mother Jones

2:00 PM
  • Current Affairs
  • History
  • Literary

Race and Racism in America

Edward L. Ayers, Khaled Beydoun, Julie Lythcott-Haims, moderated by Scott Shafer

Saturday, April 28

2:00 PM - 3:15 PM

Three authors of different backgrounds come together to explore race and the deep origins and expressions of racism. Edward Ayers, an eminent historian and President Emeritus of the University of Richmond in Virginia, has written for decades on the Civil War and Reconstruction and on controversies such as those over Confederate monuments; in many ways, the Civil War in this country rages on. Khaled Beydoun, an attorney and Critical Race Theory scholar and author of “Islamophobia,” examines one of the most rabid expressions of racism today—against Arabs and Muslims. Julie Lythcott-Haims, a Harvard-trained lawyer and the only child of an African-American father and white British mother, has written “Real American: A Memoir,” about what it’s really like for a mixed-race child to grow up in this country.

Magnes Museum

2:30 PM
  • Current Affairs
  • Outdoor (Free)

Income Inequality: A World Gone Mad, Mean and Immoral

Steven Clifford, Jeff Clements, Robert Reich, moderated by John Diaz

Saturday, April 28

2:30 PM - 3:45 PM

If you feel that income inequality today is insane, well, you’re right. Disparity in wages and opportunity between the rich and the rest of us has been growing more rapidly in the U.S. than in decades. This trend is fueling much of the unrest tearing apart civil life today. Three compelling writers unpack income inequality today. Steven Clifford takes us inside the machinations of corporate boardrooms and CEO suites and details the harm to the economy. Jeff Clements outlines why corporations are not people but nevertheless have more rights than you do, and what you can do about it. One of the most eloquent voices today combatting systemic inequality, Robert Reich has penned many books including the mega-bestseller “Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few,” recent “Economics in Wonderland: Robert Reich’s Cartoon Guide to a Political World Gone Mad and Mean,” and the new “The Common Good.”

San Francisco Chronicle Stage in the Park

With support from the Stephen M. Silberstein Foundation

3:00 PM
  • Children & Families
  • Native American
  • Outdoor (Free)

The Graton Writing Project

Various Writers

Saturday, April 28

3:00 PM - 4:15 PM

As part of a comprehensive program to celebrate Native heritage and writing, the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria and the Bay Area Book Festival launched the Graton Writing Project, an essay contest open to middle- and high-school Native students from Sonoma. Students were invited to answer the following prompt: “Every community has a problem to solve. While one may struggle with a culture of domestic violence, another may not have access to healthy foods. Identify a problem that you see in your community, and write an essay about how that problem could be addressed or solved.” Come hear this year’s participants read excerpts from their pieces, and get a first look at the published anthology of their work!

Showtime Stage

With support from the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria

3:15 PM
  • Health, Psychology & Spirituality

What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully (PRIORITY TICKETS ARE GONE! Arrive early for General Admission possibility)

Frank Ostaseski interviewed by Kate Campbell

Saturday, April 28

3:15 PM - 4:30 PM

World-renowned Buddhist teacher and spiritualist Frank Ostaseski welcomes the resolution and connections that the end of life can bring. He has spent thousands of hours in hospice service listening to the open-hearted truths of the dying and their families, and learning from their wisdom and stories. Interviewed by Kate Campbell of North Berkeley Investment Partners, Frank will discuss the tenets he believes lead to a life well lived, and share simple suggestions we can all practice.

The Brower Center - Tamalpais Room

Sponsored by North Berkeley Investment Partners

3:15 PM
  • Current Affairs
  • History

Loaded: Guns in America

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz interviewed by Adam Hochschild

Saturday, April 28

3:15 PM - 4:30 PM

Earlier this year, following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, two cries rang out. From one side, the call for immediate implementation of stricter gun regulations. From the other, the call for more guns on campuses in the name of protection. Famed activist and feminist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz discusses her new book, “Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment,” in conversation with award-winning author Adam Hochschild.

Berkeley City College - Auditorium

3:15 PM
  • Environment/Nature
  • History
  • Poetry

Gary Snyder & Kim Stanley Robinson: Mt. Thoreau, Civil Disobedience, and Naming What Can’t Be Named

Gary Snyder, Kim Stanley Robinson, Laurie Glover, introduced by Jack Shoemaker

Saturday, April 28

3:15 PM - 4:30 PM

Legendary Zen poet (and Pulitzer Prize winner) Gary Snyder and his friend Kim Stanley Robinson, the renowned science fiction writer and environmentalist, had an adventure up their sleeve. They were going to hike up an unnamed peak in the Sierras near Mt. Emerson and christen it Mt. Thoreau. You aren’t allowed to just name peaks, as Robinson wrote in an account of the adventure, “Is It Civil Disobedience to Name a Mountain for Thoreau?” They did the deed, despite what they felt surely would have been Thoreau’s disapproval. They come to us now to talk about civil disobedience, nature writing, the environmental movement, poetry, and naming what can’t ultimately ever really be named. In conversation with Laurie Glover, the editor of “Naming Mt. Thoreau,” and Snyder’s longtime publisher Jack Shoemaker of Counterpoint Press.

Freight & Salvage

Sponsored by the Journal of Alta California

3:15 PM
  • Literary
  • Teen
  • Women/Gender

Melissa de la Cruz Writes It All: History, Fantasy, Modern Life

Melissa de la Cruz, interviewed by Jessica Lee

Saturday, April 28

3:15 PM - 4:30 PM

Melissa de la Cruz never met a genre she didn’t like. The versatile author (with a penchant for villains) has written more than 45 chart-topping books—from the historical love story of Alex and Eliza (Hamilton, that is) to the fantastical prequel to the Disney Channel movie “The Descendants.” Her books have graced the charts of The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Los Angeles Times, and now she graces our stage. Come learn from this Jack of all Trades as she talks the challenges of risky writing and how she finds her groove.

Hotel Shattuck Plaza - Crystal Ballroom

3:15 PM
  • International
  • Literary

Knots of Wonder: Stunning Short Fiction

Gunnhild Oyehaug, David Hayden, Masatsugu Ono, moderated by Michael Holtmann

Saturday, April 28

3:15 PM - 4:30 PM

Short stories and novellas are like knots: compact on the surface, but containing intricately woven ideas that, when unraveled, point to something much larger. How do writers do it? These three authors are world-class exemplars of the form: Norwegian short story writer Gunnhild Oyehaug, who can “produce stabs of emotion, unexpected ghost notes of feeling, from pieces so short and offbeat that they seem at first like aborted arias” (in a profile of her by The New Yorker); Irish writer David Hayden, whose short stories The Guardian calls “brilliantly disturbing and unclassifiable”; and, coming to us from Japan, Masatsugu Ono, whose jewel-like novella mixes the surreal with the profound in a story of a shy, traumatized boy overcoming the shame, anger, and sadness that silence him.

Hotel Shattuck Plaza - White Cotton Room

Sponsored by the Center for the Art of Translation, with additional support from the Norway House Foundation, NORLA - Norwegian Literature Abroad, Culture Ireland, and Transit Books

3:15 PM
  • History
  • International
  • Poetry

The Poet’s Calling: The Life & Works of Pablo Neruda

Mark Eisner, Forrest Gander, Jessica Powell, moderated by Austin Smith

Saturday, April 28

3:15 PM - 4:15 PM

Pablo Neruda was many things during his life: a Nobel Laureate, a diplomat, and a fugitive, but always at heart, a poet. This panel of translators has collectively devoted decades to examining and sharing the late poet’s work. Mark Eisner’s new biography, “Neruda: The Poet’s Calling,” is a definitive account of the Chilean poet’s influence, called by Kirkus a “new standard-bearer among Neruda biographies.” Forrest Gander brought Neruda’s recently discovered “lost poems”—written on napkins, receipts, and playbills—to life in his translated collection, which The Guardian called “a literary event of universal importance.” Jessica Powell is responsible for the first-ever English translation of Neruda’s third book of poems, “venture of the infinite man.” Hear this unparalleled panel of experts as they raise Neruda’s voice and discuss his legacy.

BONUS: A screening of “Neruda,” Pablo Larrain’s 2016 film, takes place Saturday, April 28 at 5:30pm as part of the festival’s film and literature series with BAMPFA. The film is introduced by Mark Eisner. Separately ticketed; $8 at BAMPFA.org.

The Brower Center - Goldman Theater

3:15 PM
  • International
  • Literary

The Nature of Evil: Stories on Darkness

Karo Hämäläinen, Liz Nugent, Yrsa Sigurdardóttir, moderated by Brian Cliff

Saturday, April 28

3:15 PM - 4:30 PM

Villains allow readers to explore the darkest depths of the human psyche, from the overtly malicious to the insidiously hateful. Evil is more than a plot device—it’s a universal truth. These authors harness this powerful truth in their captivating novels: Karo Hämäläinen’s “Cruel is the Night,” a dark locked-room mystery comedy; Liz Nugent’s “Unraveling Oliver,” which explores the darkness that drives lovers to violence; and Yrsa Sigurdardóttir’s “The Legacy,” complete with a taunting murderer and a child who witnesses murder. You won’t want to miss the writers on this diverse panel as they discuss how they capture the worst of humanity between the pages of a book.

The Marsh - Cabaret

With the support of the Danish Arts Foundation, the Royal Danish Embassy, FILI - Finnish Literature Exchange, Iceland Naturally, the Icelandic Literature Center, Culture Ireland, and the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation

3:15 PM
  • Children & Families
  • Literary

Tackling Issues: Katherine Applegate and Jen Petro-Roy on Hard-Hitting Middle Grade Fiction

Katherine Applegate, Jen Petro-Roy, moderated by Mary Ann Scheuer

Saturday, April 28

3:15 PM - 4:30 PM

Great books for young readers don’t shy away from tough issues. In her wildly successful books for kids, Katherine Applegate (“Crenshaw,” “The One and Only Ivan”) has brought to life narrators of many different kinds, including a captive gorilla and a friendly neighborhood tree. Her books are brimming with imagination, whimsy, empathy, and hope—one New York Times reviewer called her newest, “Wishtree,” “the most moving commentary I’ve read on the anti-immigration movement.” Jen Petro-Roy is a vital new voice for young readers; her “P.S. I Miss You” has garnered national attention for centering on young same-sex love. Come hear how fiction can empower kids and make them feel less alone, and how reading can start a conversation around difficult subjects that kids engage with every day. (Remember, anyone under age 18 is let in free—no wristbands necessary!)

The Marsh - Theater

3:15 PM
  • Current Affairs
  • Literary

The Imperative for Truth: Academy Award-Winning Documentarian Errol Morris in Conversation with Edward Frenkel

Errol Morris interviewed by Edward Frenkel

Saturday, April 28

3:15 PM - 4:30 PM

In 1972, the hugely influential philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn threw an ashtray at Errol Morris, then a graduate student. Kuhn was famous for introducing the idea that truth depends upon a person’s “paradigm.” Morris thought that idea was bunk. He went on to create some of the most celebrated documentary films of our time, such as “The Thin Blue Line” and “The Fog of War” (for which he won the Academy Award), most of which demand that we establish a reality-based presentation of truth. Morris has developed an extensive rebuttal to Kuhn in an extraordinary book that delves into logic, math, literature, and the scientific method. In a time when truth is ever more embattled, come hear one of its greatest creative and intellectual practitioners. In conversation with Edward Frenkel, UC Berkeley professor of mathematics and also an eclectic thinker, author (“Love and Math: The Heart of Hidden Reality”) and filmmaker. Special early release of Morris’s new book for the festival—come get your copy!

Veteran's Memorial Building - Auditorium

3:45 PM
  • Literary
  • Travel

Off the Map: Traveling, Self, and Other

Sylvia Brownrigg, Kerry Campbell, Geoff Dyer, John Freeman, Moderated by Olivia Sears

Saturday, April 28

3:45 PM - 5:00 PM

Travel writing is about aspiration as much as place, about a state of being—a hoped-for transformation of identity—as much as a physical landscape. The best travel writing is about exploration of “the other” and an embrace of this new terrain into self and one’s understanding of the greater world. These four writers explore the concept of “place” from very different perspectives. Sylvia Brownrigg’s “Invisible Countries,” a gorgeous, artist-illustrated Sylph Edition collection of witty, lyrical short pieces, is inspired by Calvino’s guide to imaginary cities. Kerry Campbell’s “Dreaming of France” is about the imagining of place, about self as defined by a place. Geoff Dyer’s “White Sands” defies categorization as his travels, compelling and often humorous, become profound metaphors. Literary critic John Freeman’s first book of poetry, “Maps,” charts the past and present by way of places from New York City to Beirut to American suburbia.

Magnes Museum

Sponsored by Center for the Art of Translation

4:00 PM
  • Children & Families
  • Free

Dude! Making a Book Together

Dan Santat, Aaron Reynolds

Saturday, April 28

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

“Dude! Aren’t friendships the best? Whether you and your best friend are setting off on a surfing adventure or writing a children’s book together, there are bound to be some twists and turns. Award-winning author Aaron Reynolds and Caldecott Medal winner Dan Santat will discuss the making of their new book, “Dude!” and what it’s like to work together to create something really cool. (Special free event—no wristbands or tickets needed!)”

Bay Area Children's Theatre, 2055 Center Street

4:15 PM
  • Children & Families
  • Outdoor (Free)
  • Poetry

Jabberwalking with Juan Felipe Herrera

Juan Felipe Herrera

Saturday, April 28

4:15 PM - 5:30 PM

Can you walk and talk at the same time? How about Jabberwalk? Can you write and draw and walk and journal all at the same time? Festival favorite and marvelous speaker Juan Felipe Herrera, former Poet Laureate of the United States, will teach you everything he knows about being a real-life, bonafide, Jabberwalking poet! While his new book is technically for kids, anyone can learn to jabberwalk—parents, older siblings, and grandparents who have some pep in their step! Jabberwalkers write and speak for themselves and others no matter where their feet may take them—to Jabberwalk is to be a poet on the move. And there’s no stopping once you’re a Jabberwalker, writing fast, fast, fast, scribble-poem-burbles-on-the-run. It’s all out there—vámonos!

San Francisco Chronicle Stage in the Park

With support from the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria

4:45 PM
  • Writing & Publishing

The Future of Publishing

Emily Bell, Niels Hooper, Elaine Katzenberger, Avalon Radys, moderated by Brooke Warner

Saturday, April 28

4:45 PM - 6:00 PM

Back by popular demand: an informed, freewheeling discussion for aspiring and published authors, as well as anyone curious about the state of book publishing in 2018. Panelists Emily Bell (senior editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Elaine Katzenberger (Publisher of City Lights), Niels Hooper (Executive Editor of the University of California Press), and Avalon Radys (Director, Marketing & Publishing Operations of Inkshares), with moderator Brooke Warner (Publisher, She Writes Press) represent the many faces of publishing—from big house to small, university press to hybrid, traditional and non-traditional alike. They’ll consider Amazon’s expansion, the state of the traditional book industry, the biggest changes happening in publishing today, and ways the political climate affects what publishers are acquiring—and therefore what we’re reading.

The Brower Center - Goldman Theater

5:00 PM
  • International
  • Literary

Coming of Age on the Page

Tommy Wieringa, Colin Winnette, moderated by Adam Z. Levy

Saturday, April 28

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Stories of self-discovery transcend time and place. Coming-of-age stories, the bildungsroman, are perennial and beloved throughout all nations’ literary traditions. These authors demonstrate the durability of the genre as they introduce their dazzling new novels: acclaimed Dutch author Tommy Wieringa’s multilayered story of a group of refugees and their interwoven destinies, and Colin Winnette’s “The Job of the Wasp,” a gothic story that proves adolescence can be a nightmare.

Veteran's Memorial Building - Auditorium

With the support of Letterenfonds / Dutch Foundation for Literature and the Dutch Culture USA program of the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York

5:00 PM
  • Literary
  • Women/Gender

Joyce Maynard: The Power of Heartfelt Story

Joyce Maynard, interviewed by Kate Moses

Saturday, April 28

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Joyce Maynard has been prominent in the literary community since her teen years as a contributor to Seventeen magazine. Over the course of her career, she has written 16 books including the novels “To Die For” and “Labor Day” (both adapted for film) and the bestselling memoir “At Home in the World,” translated into 17 languages. Maynard will discuss her newest memoir, “The Best of Us,” which Booklist says is a “haunting story, penned by a master wordsmith…a reminder to savor every loved one and every day.”

Berkeley City College - Auditorium

5:00 PM
  • Poetry
  • Writing & Publishing

Who’s Your Muse?

Victoria Chang, Tongo Eisen-Martin, Brittany Perham, Maw Shein Win, moderated by David Roderick

Saturday, April 28

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Poetry can be difficult for some readers to digest, with its interwoven layers of meaning, lyricism, rhythm, and context. Even more difficult to appreciate is how these poems come to be. Five poets come together to discuss the origins of their poems—energies they tap into and methods they use to get the right words into the right order. They’ll talk about how they handle writers block and how they know when a poem is heading in the most fruitful direction. Perhaps they’ll also share some writing prompts that will help you find your own source of inspiration.

The Brower Center - Tamalpais Room

5:00 PM
  • Mystery, Crime & Thrillers

Noir at the Bar: A Flight of Mystery! Sampling Bay Area Writers of Murder and Mayhem, with Drinks

Lillian Bell, Cara Black, Ellison Cooper, Reece Hirsch, Beth McMullen, Kelli Stanley, Domenic Stansberry, emceed by Sheldon Siegel

Saturday, April 28

5:00 PM - 6:15 PM

A Festival favorite returns! There’s no better way to celebrate the Bay Area’s love of noir than to toast mystery writers who have mastered the form. Feel like a bonafide gumshoe listening in on riveting short readings by these modern masters of noir. And while you’re at it, order your cocktail (or whiskey) of choice.

The Marsh - Cabaret

5:00 PM
  • Literary
  • Women/Gender

Lidia Yuknavitch in Person: On Fearlessness, Truth, and Misfits

Lidia Yuknavitch, interviewed by Daphne Gottlieb

Saturday, April 28

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

There is no other literary voice like Lidia Yuknavitch’s. She is a “bold and ecstatic writer” (NPR), a writer’s writer, “a trailblazing literary voice that spans genres and dives deep” (Lenny Letter). The author of the award-winning speculative feminist novel “The Book of Joan” and the hypnotic memoir “The Chronology of Water” has experienced domestic violence, struggles with substance abuse, bouts of homelessness, and the loss of a child. In a raw, fearless voice she interrogates conformity, love, sex, the body, memory, and writing itself and inspires her readers with the courage to live (and write) fully. A protege of Ken Kesey and inspired by Kathy Acker, she is a self-proclaimed “misfit” and has penned a book, enhanced by interviews, called “The Misfit’s Manifesto.” Come hear her calls for authenticity in life and literature.

Freight & Salvage

5:00 PM
  • Current Affairs
  • History

Extremism Investigated

Khaled Beydoun and Michael Kimmel, moderated by Susan Griffin

Saturday, April 28

5:00 PM - 6:15 PM

As political fringe ideologies move into the mainstream—and the far left and the far right clash in the streets—extremist views of all kinds are becoming part of the zeitgeist. More people are facing the question: What compels peaceful people to commit violence? As women come forward to report violence and young white boys are perpetrating mass murders, America is dealing with its own home-grown radicalism. Two experts on extremism—Islamophobia and discrimination scholar Khaled Baydoun, and national thought leader on masculinity and radicalization Michael Kimmel—will probe the questions: What drives people to the extreme? And can a nation be de-radicalized?

Hotel Shattuck Plaza - Crystal Ballroom

5:00 PM
  • International
  • Literary

Know Thyself: The Ultimate Mystery

Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, Mark Sarvas, Carl Frode Tiller, moderated by Nayomi Munaweera

Saturday, April 28

5:00 PM - 6:15 PM

It’s high literary tide mark on Saturday afternoon. Three of the smartest novelists working today discuss how fiction explodes the question of how we know ourselves. In “Call Me Zebra,” partly set in Spain, Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi depicts a heroine on a Quixotic quest; the Wall Street Journal said, “Hearken ye fellow misfits, migrants, outcasts, squint-eyed bibliophiles, library-haunters and book stall-stalkers: Here is a novel for you.” Mark Sarvas’ “Memento Park,” partly set in Hungary, was praised by Salman Rushdie as “a gripping mystery novel about art that is also a powerful meditation on fathers and sons.” Norwegian writer Carl Frode Tiller has written a trilogy whodunit about a man who’s lost his memory and reconstitutes himself via letters from friends telling him who he is; you can imagine how that turns out. Said Kirkus, “A wholly satisfying story about how unreliable narrators tell tales not just about events, but about our core emotions.” Who are you? Come explore how we know ourselves.

The Marsh - Theater

With the support of the Norway House Foundation and NORLA - Norwegian Literature Abroad

5:30 PM
  • Current Affairs
  • Free
  • History

Betty Reid Soskin: Sign My Name to Freedom

Betty Reid Soskin

Saturday, April 28

5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

The Bay Area Book Festival salutes Independent Bookstore Day with this special event at Pegasus Books Downtown. Activist and author Betty Reid Soskin, the oldest park ranger in America (still working for the parks), will give a highly personal talk about her new memoir “Sign My Name to Freedom,” which tells the 96-year story of Soskin’s life as a Black woman. A national treasure, Soskin has lived through decades of social tumult in the Bay Area—working on the home front during WWII and assisting the Black Panthers during the Civil Rights Movement. She will explore the decades-long history of racial upheaval in the United States, leading up to the current resurgence of anti-Black violence. Note: No tickets needed for this event, which is at Pegasus Books Downtown at 2349 Shattuck Ave.

Pegasus Books, 2349 Shattuck Avenue at Durant

7:30 PM
  • Current Affairs

The Common Good with Robert Reich (Saturday Night Keynote)

Robert Reich

Saturday, April 28

7:30 PM - 9:00 PM

Don’t miss the Festival keynote! No one could serve better to inspire us than Berkeley’s own Robert Reich—a stellar writer of conscience and conviction, a firebrand, and one of America’s most influential and popular political commentators. A former U.S. Secretary of Labor, Reich comments regularly on CNN, NBC, and The Daily Show, and his syndicated articles have appeared in The New Yorker, New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and San Francisco Chronicle. His new book, “The Common Good,” charges us all to address the urgent question: What has happened to civility and civic responsibility? What makes a good citizen in today’s America? Don’t miss Reich’s heartfelt call to a nation on the brink as he shows us how to do our part in saving America’s soul. Note: Priority tickets are $15. We expect this session to sell out so get your tickets now.

Freight & Salvage

10:00 AM
  • Children & Families
  • Women/Gender

YES to Girls & Science!

Emily Calandrelli

Sunday, April 29

10:00 AM - 11:15 AM

The “SpaceGal” delivers a most welcome new series about Ada Lace, a third-grade girl who has a knack for science and technology, and a nose for trouble. Emily says, “When you were a kid, what did you picture when you thought of a scientist or engineer?” You can bet the answer was “a socially awkward white dude with glasses.” Not anymore! Ada inspires young readers to ask questions and lean into their curiosity, showing them that scientists and engineers can look just like them! (Remember, anyone under age 18 is let in free—no wristbands necessary!)

Hotel Shattuck Plaza - Boiler Room

10:00 AM
  • International
  • Literary
  • Women/Gender

Timeless: Reinvigorating the Past Through Historical Fiction

Heather O'Neill, Linda Spalding, Adrienne Sharp, moderated by Terry Gamble

Sunday, April 29

10:00 AM - 11:15 AM

Writing great historical fiction is an enormously challenging task for writers—so much research, woven seamlessly into a story—and rewards readers with entertainment and education at the same time. No wonder historical fiction is one of the most popular literary genres. Discover how it’s done through this panel. Two orphans navigate desperation in Heather O’Neill’s “virtually cinematic” Depression-era Montreal. With portraits of slave owners and abolitionists, Linda Spalding captures the instability of mid-19th-century America. Through the eyes of a vulnerable young woman, Adrienne Sharp takes us inside the glamour and darkness of Hollywood and Las Vegas in the mid-20th century.

Hotel Shattuck Plaza - Crystal Ballroom

With the support of the Consulate General of Canada, San Francisco/Silicon Valley

10:00 AM
  • Current Affairs
  • Women/Gender

Women Write the World: On Equality, Justice, and Freedom

Samina Ali, Belva Davis, Camille Hayes, Michelle Mush Lee, moderated by Deborah Santana

Sunday, April 29

10:00 AM - 11:45 AM

In our turbulent world where human rights and justice are being challenged, it’s important to understand and have compassion for those whose paths we have not walked. “All the Women in My Family Sing,” a collection of prose and poetry by 69 women of color, explores the realities, joys, and challenges of being a woman of color in the 21st century. Editor Deborah Santana is joined by authors Camille Hayes, Michelle “Mush” Lee, Samina Ali, and Belva Davis, all of whom share stories and insights that can help create bridges between worlds we know very well and those we may not.

The Brower Center - Tamalpais Room

10:00 AM
  • Children & Families

Let Me Tell You a Really Good Story!

Katherine Applegate, Arree Chung, Jonathan London, Michael Slack, Todd Parr, emceed by Ben Schwartz

Sunday, April 29

10:00 AM - 11:15 AM

There’s nothing better than being told a really good story, right? These authors have some news for you: It’s even more fun to tell the story yourself! They’ve told quite a few tales—Arree Chung with his energetic “Ninja!” series, Jonathan London’s long-running “Froggy” escapades, Michael Slack’s alien field trippers and monkey trucks, Todd Parr’s books about family, and Katherine Applegate’s new picture book for kids, “Sometimes You Fly.” They’re here to tell you a few more stories (and maybe help you discover the one you’ve been itching to tell). A don’t-miss marathon story time! (Remember, anyone under age 18 is let in free—no wristbands necessary!)

The Marsh - Theater

10:00 AM
  • Literary

How Stories Make the World

Joyce Carol Oates, Scott Saul, Ismail Muhammad, Anthony Marra, moderated by Joe Di Prisco

Sunday, April 29

10:00 AM - 11:15 AM

Everything we understand about the world comes from stories: those we hear in school, those we read in books, and those we believe about each other. These panelists—all titans of storytelling—will discuss the power stories have to galvanize the world, create cultures, and bind us all together. Don’t miss your chance to hear Joyce Carol Oates, who boasts a lifetime of achievements as a great American author and Pulitzer Prize nominee (her new story collection, “Beautiful Days” came out in February); Scott Saul, biographer of late comedian Richard Pryor and also a UC Berkeley English professor with Oates; writer and critic Ismail Muhammad; Chair of the Simpson Family Literary Project Joe Di Prisco; and Anthony Marra, recipient of the 2018 Simpson Family Literary Prize. These brilliant writers will interrogate how we shape stories—and how stories shape us.

Veteran's Memorial Building - Auditorium

Sponsored by UC Berkeley Arts + Design and the Simpson Family Literary Project

10:00 AM
  • History
  • Literary
  • Women/Gender

JCC East Bay Presents: Thriving Past Trauma—Holocaust Survivor Dr. Edith Eger with The Choice

Dr. Edith Eger interviewed by Elizabeth Rosner

Sunday, April 29

10:00 AM - 11:15 AM

An absolute must-see: Dr. Edith Eger, 92-year-old Auschwitz survivor and trauma psychologist, comes to us to discuss one of the most compelling books we’ve read this year, “The Choice: Embrace the Possible,” which Desmond Tutu called “a gift to humanity.” She will be interviewed by Elizabeth Rosner, author of the award-winning “Survivor Cafe: The Legacy of Trauma and the Labyrinth of Memory.”

Freight & Salvage

Sponsored by the Jewish Community Center of the East Bay with the generous support of Eve Gordon-Ramek; in memory of Mayer Goldberg and Henry Ramek

10:30 AM
  • International
  • Literary
  • Women/Gender

Smart Women Everywhere: Women Calling the Shots in Global Fiction

Jasmin Darznik, Therese Bohman, Shobha Rao, Gunnhild Oyehaug, moderated by Rachael Myrow

Sunday, April 29

10:30 AM - 11:45 AM

Strong women are nothing new in literature, which has inspired centuries of women to speak up. And no woman is a victim when she’s the one telling the story. From Iran to Sweden, these writers and their female characters show how it’s done. Jasmin Darznik’s debut novel, “Song of a Captive Bird,” is an homage to Forugh Farrokhzad, the poet many say brought feminism to Iran. Therese Bohman tells a familiar story of a brilliant woman surrounded by male fragility in her novel “Eventide.” Shobha Rao creates a transcendent story of female friendship in “Girls Burn Brighter,” which Vogue called “incandescent… a searing portrait of what feminism looks like in much of the world.” Norwegian writer Gunnhild Oyehaug, lauded by the New Yorker as a short story master, comes a sensual and contemplative collection of gorgeous, female-centric short stories.

Magnes Museum

With the support of the Norway House Foundation, NORLA - Norwegian Literature Abroad, the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, and the Consulate General of Sweden in San Francisco

11:00 AM
  • Current Affairs
  • Literary
  • Outdoor (Free)

Alice Waters and Jonathan Kauffman: A Revolution in Food

Alice Waters, Jonathan Kauffman, interviewed by Tom Philpott

Sunday, April 29

11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

Eating is a political act. The purchase, preparation, and experience of food are choices that profoundly shape not only our individual lives but social justice and our entire ecosystem. Described as “the most important figure in the culinary history of North America,” chef and restaurateur Alice Waters has led the charge toward greater sustainability and pleasure—they go together—across the entire food system. Her new memoir, “Coming to my Senses” (her fifteenth book), recounts her life up to the opening of Chez Panisse. Come hear her latest calls to action. She’s joined by San Francisco Chronicle food writer Jonathan Kauffman, author of the new “Hippie Food: How Back-to-the-Landers, Longhairs and Revolutionaries Changed the Way We Eat,” which tells the fascinating story of how the counterculture transformed what’s on your dinner plate tonight. They’re interviewed by Tom Philpott, food editor of Mother Jones magazine.

San Francisco Chronicle Stage in the Park

Sponsored by Mother Jones

11:15 AM
  • History
  • Women/Gender

Women Changing the World: How Phoebe Hearst, Jane Stanford, and Other Women Funded Feminism, Founded Universities, and Inspire Philanthropy Today

Joan Marie Johnson, Catherine Pyke, Alexandra Nickliss, Moderated by Julie Castro Abrams

Sunday, April 29

11:15 AM - 12:30 PM

For centuries, women have been powerful philanthropists, albeit less recognized than men. Women’s strategic largesse has been essential to progressive advances including feminism. Women have been especially influential in founding the two leading universities in the Bay Area. Phoebe Hearst was the ecletic mother of the University of California at Berkeley, just as Jane Stanford co-founded her namesake university through hands-on activism. What lessons do the stories of these brilliant, empowered women hold today for any woman (or man) who wants to use financial resources to shape society? Do women give differently than men do? Where do the challenges and opportunities lie? Historian Joan Johnson writes on “Funding Feminism,” former Hearst Foundation director Catherine Pyke delves into Jane Stanford’s legacy, and Alexandra Nickliss reveals the fascinating persona of Phoebe Hearst, whose influence shapes this very book festival.

BAMPFA - Osher Theater

Sponsored by the Journal of Alta California

11:30 AM
  • Children & Families
  • Outdoor (Free)

Emerging Voices: Young Authors Writing Contest 2018 Winners

Various Writers

Sunday, April 29

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Bay Area Youth participated in our fourth annual Young Authors Writing Contest with this year’s prompt, “Everyone sees the world through different eyes—both literally and figuratively. How is it possible that two people can look at the same thing, but see different things?” Come hear this year’s contest winners read their winning pieces and witness the rise of a new generation of writers. Writopia Lab has generously offered a space in a week-long, half-day summer workshop to the 1st place winner of the 11th/12th grade division. (Open seating; no tickets needed!)

Showtime Stage

In partnership with Writopia Lab

11:45 AM
  • Current Affairs

The Impact of Angels in America on LGBTQ Literature

Baruch Porras-Hernandez, K.M. Soehnlein, Brian Thorstenson, Sarah Rose Leonard

Sunday, April 29

11:45 AM - 1:00 PM

Tony Kushner’s groundbreaking epic play Angels in America unabashedly showed gay men as heroes. Prior Walter, sick with AIDS, wrestles with an angel. The ex-drag queen Belize works as a nurse in a hospital where he spars with the dying, cruel Roy Cohn as he also administers care. The play’s structure alone is an argument for queerness: all of the straight men in power are played by women. Angels broke open how gayness could be portrayed onstage, and influenced entire generations of queer writers. The Bay Area Book Festival partners with Berkeley Repertory Theatre, where Angels is currently playing, to host a panel discussion with local writers on how Angels in America impacted LGBTQ literature.

Berkeley Repertory Theatre, School of Theatre (2071 Addison Street) - The Bakery

Sponsored by Berkeley Repertory Theatre

11:45 AM
  • Health, Psychology & Spirituality

Standing at the Edge: Finding Freedom Where Fear and Courage Meet

Joan Halifax interviewed by Dacher Keltner

Sunday, April 29

11:45 AM - 1:00 PM

Zen roshi (teacher) and anthropologist Joan Halifax has spent much of her life exploring questions of life and death. Teaching at hospices and on death row, and traveling throughout radically different cultures, she has devoted herself to the study of what makes a meaningful life. Her new book, “Standing at the Edge: Finding Freedom Where Fear and Courage Meet,” which Arianna Huffington called “essential reading for our time,” is the culmination of her lifelong study of mindfulness, compassion, and generosity. She ventures to answer the enduring question: How do we live well for ourselves and others at the same time? Emotion expert and director of UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center Dacher Keltner will interview.

Freight & Salvage

Sponsored by UC Berkeley Arts + Design

11:45 AM
  • Children & Families
  • Literary
  • Teen

What Makes a Family?

Nidhi Chanani, Chris Crutcher, Abdi Nazemian, Mitali Perkins, moderated by Lesley Mandros Bell

Sunday, April 29

11:45 AM - 1:00 PM

There are those with whom we share blood and childhoods, and those we choose as adults: These are the beautiful, sometimes ill-fitting puzzle pieces that make up a family. These panelists discuss what makes a family (and what makes a family difficult to write): Nidhi Chanani, graphic novelist who delves into the immigrant experience; Chris Crutcher, novelist and family therapist; Abdi Nazemian, whose newest novel raises the question of personal identity and unknown heritage; and Mitali Perkins, who tells multigenerational stories of family and the Indian-American identity. (Remember, anyone under age 18 is let in free—no wristbands necessary!)

Hotel Shattuck Plaza - Boiler Room

11:45 AM
  • International
  • Literary

Resist: Unlocking the Political Power of a Novel

Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, Rodrigo Hasbún, Madeleine Thien, moderated by Mal Warwick

Sunday, April 29

11:45 AM - 1:00 PM

Books have the power to transform national consciousnesses, to reshape the world. The most powerful political novels narrow the scope of politics and current events, bringing the personal experience to the forefront of the discourse via empathetic characters. Come see three talented political novelists—Margaret Wilkerson Sexton (writing on the legacy of Jim Crow on contemporary families), Rodrigo Hasbún (whose mesmerizing, multi-voiced novel takes us into political revolutions in Latin America), and Madeleine Thien (who sweeps us into cultural revolutions in Asia)—as they explain how the novel can illuminate political change in ways that no non-fiction account can do.

Hotel Shattuck Plaza - Crystal Ballroom

With the support of the Consulate General of Canada, San Francisco/Silicon Valley

11:45 AM
  • Literary

Geoff Dyer on Street Photography and Beyond, Interviewed by Errol Morris

Geoff Dyer interviewed by Errol Morris

Sunday, April 29

11:45 AM - 1:00 PM

The English writer Geoff Dyer’s eclectic, critically acclaimed body of work includes novels, memoirs, literary criticism, and essays on travel, jazz, film, and more, each marked with his inimitable wit. He’s known for defying genres, and his latest, “The Street Philosophy of Garry Winogrand,” includes 100 essays about 100 photographs by the famed street photographer. Dyer’s responses to the photographs are predictably unorthodox, often hilarious, and always insightful. Billy Collins (former U.S. poet laureate) said the book “amounts to an extensive tour of Winogrand’s photographs conducted by a savvy, observant, and highly entertaining guide.” Academy Award-winning documentarian Errol Morris, who also has authored a book on photography, will interview. Don’t miss this discussion with two powerful, funny, whip-smart speakers.

The Brower Center - Goldman Theater

11:45 AM
  • Literary
  • Writing & Publishing

Some of the Best Writers Working Today: A Celebration of Freeman’s Literary Journal

Elaine Castillo, John Freeman, Pola Oloixarac, Heather O'Neill

Sunday, April 29

11:45 AM - 1:00 PM

The brainchild of renowned literary critic John Freeman (former editor of Granta), Freeman’s is a twice-yearly literary journal that curates new or previously unpublished writing from literary legends as well as work from rising talent. Vogue reported, “Freeman doesn’t just include the work of unknown writers, he ‘smuggles’ them in among A-list talent,” and the BBC called the journal “fresh, provocative, engrossing.” Freeman appears in person to describe how he selects writers for this new journal and what he thinks of the state of literature today. With him to introduce the latest issue are contributors Elaine Castillo, Pola Oloixarac, and Heather O’Neill.

The Brower Center - Tamalpais Room

With the support of the Consulate General of Canada, San Francisco/Silicon Valley

11:45 AM
  • Children & Families

Putting the FUN in Reading!

LeUyen Pham, Megan McDonald, Travis Nichols, moderated by Mary Ann Scheuer

Sunday, April 29

11:45 AM - 12:45 PM

Have you ever been asked, “Why do you love reading so much?” We certainly have, and our answer is always the same: “Because it’s fun!” Join these three authors and artists as they discuss how they make reading fun for their younger audiences, from spicing a story up with pictures to having your characters (literally) fall from the sky. (Remember, anyone under age 18 is let in free—no wristbands necessary!)

The Marsh - Theater

11:45 AM
  • Comics & Graphics
  • Women/Gender

Aline Kominsky-Crumb: A Life in Comics

Aline Kominsky-Crumb interviewed by Peggy Orenstein

Sunday, April 29

11:45 AM - 1:00 PM

Aline Kominsky-Crumb is an icon of cartooning and a pioneer in feminist expression through this medium. Her subversive depictions of femininity, along with her collaborations with husband Robert Crumb, have been widely featured in the underground scene. Growing up enraptured by the counter-culture movement, Kominsky-Crumb has always sought new ways to defy and inspire, and she actively seeks to “deconstruct the myth or romanticism around being a woman.” Journalist Peggy Orenstein interviews the award-winning artist and storyteller, who comes to us from her home in France.

Veteran's Memorial Building - Auditorium

12:15 PM
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Women/Gender

Women & Speculative Fiction: In the Footsteps of Atwood, Butler, and Le Guin

Åsa Avdic, Maggie Shen King, Lidia Yuknavitch, Meg Elison, moderated by Charlie Jane Anders

Sunday, April 29

12:15 PM - 1:30 PM

Margaret Atwood, Octavia Butler, and Ursula Le Guin are three titans of speculative fiction, having paved the way for a new generation of women who hold in their hands the future of the genre. Among this new generation are Asa Avdic, whose “The Dying Game” was called “an Orwellian debut novel that never lets up”; breakout novelist Maggie Shen King, author of “An Excess Male” (dubbed “‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ of a new generation”); literary powerhouse and award-winning author of “The Book of Joan” Lidia Yuknavitch; and influential feminist writer Meg Elison, who won the Philip K. Dick Award for “The Book of the Unnamed Midwife”, all in discussion with writer and journalist Charlie Jane Anders (“All the Birds in the Sky”, ” Six Months, Three Days, Five Others”).

Magnes Museum

With the support of Zoetic Press, the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, and the Consulate General of Sweden in San Francisco

12:45 PM
  • Current Affairs
  • Outdoor (Free)
  • Women/Gender

Sally Kohn on Repairing Our Humanity

Sally Kohn interviewed by Lauren Schiller, Inflection Point

Sunday, April 29

12:45 PM - 2:00 PM

Popular political commentator Sally Kohn, who has contributed regularly to both CNN and Fox News, has built a career on bridging political differences and has mastered the remarkable skill of civil conversation with people with whom she disagrees passionately. Learning how to do that is reason enough to attend this session, but Kohn goes a step further. For her new book “The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Repairing Our Humanity,” Kohn talked with leading researchers and traveled the world meeting with terrorists, white supremacists, and trolls (including those who malign her), all to untangle the roots of hate. How can we stop hate? Why does civility matter, and what else can help? Find out how you too can join this process of leaving hate behind. Session taped for later podcast by Inflection Point, https://www.inflectionpointradio.org.

San Francisco Chronicle Stage in the Park

1:00 PM
  • Health, Psychology & Spirituality
  • Women/Gender

“Wonder Down Under”: A Celebration (and Medical Explication) of the Female Anatomy

Ellen Støkken Dahl, interviewed by Michelle Marzullo

Sunday, April 29

1:00 PM - 2:15 PM

The female body has been a political battleground for centuries, the source of life itself and thus the focus of control, indeed obsession. Meanwhile, the actual bodies themselves—the way they work, their own intrinsic beauty and physical essence—remain largely undiscussed. To demystify female sexual health for women and those who love them, medical student Ellen Støkken Dahl and Dr. Nina Brochmann from Norway began a blog that was so popular that it quickly became a book. “The Wonder Down Under: A User’s Guide to the Vagina” sold out in Norway in only three days and has now been translated into more than 30 languages. In a special presentation, Dahl will answer all of the questions you didn’t know you had about the female anatomy.

BAMPFA - Osher Theater

Sponsored by the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) with additional support from the Norway House Foundation and NORLA - Norwegian Literature Abroad

1:30 PM
  • Children & Families

Judy Moody & Stink: Megan McDonald at Bay Area Children’s Theatre

Megan McDonald

Sunday, April 29

1:30 PM - 3:30 PM

The Bay Area Children’s Theatre has two final performances of its “Judy Moody and Stink: The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt,” a play adapted from Megan McDonald’s widely-read books—and we’re all so lucky they’re on the festival weekend! Megan McDonald will appear in person for the final show on Sunday afternoon, talk with the audience, and sign books after the show. Festival passes (wristbands, priority tickets, or special passes) are not accepted at this program. Get tickets

Bay Area Children's Theatre, 2055 Center Street

1:30 PM
  • Current Affairs
  • Women/Gender

#MeToo & Beyond: Continuing to Tell the Truth

Saru Jayaraman, Winnie M. Li, T. Christian Miller, Bernice Yeung, moderated by Sandhya Dirks

Sunday, April 29

1:30 PM - 2:45 PM

Has #MeToo gone too far? (That very question, posed recently in a prominent essay, provokes a strong reaction in us.) If the answer is “not far enough,” what are the new frontiers? Together these writers, who have plumbed this topic deeply, will deconstruct the movement and explore its future. Winnie Li’s thought-provoking novel “Dark Chapter” was inspired by her own experience of assault; she also founded and runs the consent-centered Clear Lines festival in the UK. Investigative journalist Bernice Yeung has reported on sexual assault in agricultural and janitorial work. T. Christian Miller’s reporting on the story of a mishandled rape case won the Pulitzer Prize and has been developed into a book, just published. Lawyer and prominent activist Saru Jayaraman has investigated harassment of women working in the hospitality industry.

Freight & Salvage

Sponsored by Zoetic Press

1:30 PM
  • Children & Families
  • Teen
  • Women/Gender

Writing the Truth: Fiction and Non-Fiction

Dashka Slater, Anne Nesbet, Sara Saedi, moderated by Dan Brekke

Sunday, April 29

1:30 PM - 2:45 PM

Young readers have an intense curiosity about the world, and sophisticated books based on real-life events can help them navigate the complexities they find. The authors on this panel will discuss how they incorporate difficult real events into their books while keeping them enjoyable for young readers. Slater, who has written several children’s books, has a new nonfiction book geared toward young adults that deals with the burning of a cross-dressed teenager on an Oakland bus. Nesbet’s historical fiction follows an 11-year-old orphan in 1941 America. Saedi presents her true story of her family’s undocumented history (Remember, anyone under age 18 is let in free—no wristbands necessary!)

Hotel Shattuck Plaza - Boiler Room

1:30 PM
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Teen

A Free Trip to Another World: Fantasy in Young Adult Literature

Shea Ernshaw, Lexa Hillyer, Laura Sebastian, Wendy Spinale, Leslye Walton, moderated by Ben Schwartz

Sunday, April 29

1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

It’s a popular sentiment, wanting to escape the drudgery of everyday life in favor of new worlds—worlds where fairy tales take on new life, where gardens and witches have the power to enchant people, where young princesses and budding witches seek to find their place. You won’t want to miss these authors as they discuss the intricate worlds they’ve built and where they find the inspiration for the fantastical in this world. Hear from bewitching novelist Shea Ernshaw, Founder and President of Publishing at Glasstown Entertainment Lexa Hillyer, debut fantasy writer Laura Sebastian, creator of the Everland series Wendy Spinale, and best-selling author Leslye Walton. (Remember, anyone under age 18 is let in free—no wristbands necessary!)

Hotel Shattuck Plaza - Crystal Ballroom

1:30 PM
  • Current Affairs
  • History
  • Women/Gender

We Can Do It: Opinionated Women

Michelle Dean, interviewed by Lydia Kiesling

Sunday, April 29

1:30 PM - 2:45 PM

What makes for a powerful woman? Is there a special trait, a spark that allows her to overcome institutional biases and barriers? Michelle Dean’s new book, “Sharp: the Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion,” is in equal part a polyphonic biography, a cultural criticism, and a historical analysis. Following the lives of ten women—Dorothy Parker, Rebecca West, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael, Joan Didion, Nora Ephron, Renata Adler, and Janet Malcolm—Dean explores how they positioned themselves as powerful voices in a male-dominated world. Hear Dean expertly discuss how these women took power when it was not offered to them (and how each of us is capable of doing the same).

The Brower Center - Goldman Theater

Sponsored by the Journal of Alta California

1:30 PM
  • International
  • Literary

From the Great North to the World: New Writing from Canada

Heather O'Neill, Madeleine Thien, Katherena Vermette, moderated by Linda Spalding

Sunday, April 29

1:30 PM - 2:45 PM

Canadian writers have long graced lists of the most beloved and critically acclaimed authors anywhere (just think Margaret Atwood, Rohinton Mistry, Michael Ondaatje). Come discover three exceptional Canadian rising stars (who also happen to be women) who have flown to us to discuss their work, including the influence of national and personal histories on it. Heather O’Neill’s “The Lonely Hearts Hotel” is a portrait of two love-struck orphans against a backdrop of circus life in the Depression era. Madeleine Thien tackles two critical moments in China’s history in her novel “Do Not Say We Have Nothing” (shortlisted for the Booker Prize): the Cultural Revolution and the protest at Tiananmen Square. Katherena Vermette tells a complex intergenerational story that traces seemingly disparate lives as they all converge on a single tragic incident. Don’t miss these brilliant new voices from up north.

The Brower Center - Tamalpais Room

With the support of the Consulate General of Canada, San Francisco / Silicon Valley

1:30 PM
  • Travel

Europe: City-Hopping on a Budget

Andy Steves

Sunday, April 29

1:30 PM - 2:45 PM

We often read in order to travel to different places—Amsterdam via Camus, Florence via Forster—but with a few tips and tricks, you can see these literary settings for yourself. Come hear Andy Steves (son of travel guru Rick Steves) share travel hacks from a life on the road. Choose your own adventure, maximize your time and money, and connect with locals as you city-hop around Europe. Whether you’re a student going abroad for the first time or a seasoned world-traveler, learn how to experience the culture, energy, and soul of Europe’s greatest cities.

The Marsh - Theater

Sponsored by Avalon Travel/Rick Steves

1:30 PM
  • Current Affairs
  • Health, Psychology & Spirituality
  • Women/Gender

Barbara Ehrenreich on Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer

Barbara Ehrenreich interviewed by Clara Jeffery

Sunday, April 29

1:30 PM - 2:45 PM

As an author and activist, Barbara Ehrenreich has taken on the minimum wage, abortion rights, women’s lives, marijuana laws, and now, in her new book, death itself. In “Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer,” Ehrenreich deconstructs the mindset of living to keep living. She examines diet culture, disease screenings, and all of the other practices humans engage in to ensure a long life—but at what expense, and with what quality and meaning? She will be interviewed by Mother Jones Editor-in-Chief Clara Jeffery.

Veteran's Memorial Building - Auditorium

Sponsored by Mother Jones

2:00 PM
  • International
  • Mystery, Crime & Thrillers

Nordic Noir: The Enduring Genre of Cold Climate Thrillers

Sara Blaedel, Karo Hämäläinen, Yrsa Sigurdardóttir, moderated by Randal Brandt

Sunday, April 29

2:00 PM - 3:15 PM

One of the most popular sessions at the Festival returns for its fourth year. Traveling all the way from Scandinavia and Iceland to join us today, these authors will illuminate why their books—which situate grisly stories of murder and chaos in frigid regions—have the enduring power to captivate audiences worldwide. From Denmark, Sara Blaedel will discuss her internationally best-selling and female-led Louise Rick and Ilka Jensen series. Finnish crime savant Karo Hämäläinen will let us in on how he became “a wicked and controlled writer who rarely allows his readers a moment of peace” (Toronto Sun). Hear from Icelandic best-selling author Yrsa Sigurdardóttir, who The Times UK said “is ensconced at or near the summit of Nordic crime writing.”

Magnes Museum

With the support of the Danish Arts Foundation, the Royal Danish Embassy, FILI - Finnish Literature Exchange, Iceland Naturally, the Icelandic Literature Center, the Norway House Foundation, NORLA - Norwegian Literature Abroad, and the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation

2:30 PM
  • Current Affairs
  • Outdoor (Free)
  • Women/Gender

Smart Activism: History and Hope, with L.A. Kauffman and Rebecca Solnit

L.A. Kauffman, Rebecca Solnit

Sunday, April 29

2:30 PM - 3:45 PM

How can activism be most effective today? Let’s look to history. Come hear one of the Bay Area’s most famous activists and writers—Rebecca Solnit—in conversation with longtime friend and movement insider L.A. Kauffman on the history and future of activism. Solnit, whose writing spans numerous books, articles, and social media, is perhaps most well-known for “Hope in the Dark,” a veritable holy book for activists, as well as her more recent books on feminism and three highly creative atlases, plus many works on community, the environment, and the arts. In “Direct Action: Protest and the Reinvention of American Radicalism”—a masterwork 25 years in the making—L.A. Kauffman expertly deconstructs the origins of today’s protest movements as a means of making activism more powerful today. How have past movements used disruptive tactics to catalyze change? Is there, indeed, still hope in the dark, and how do we act on it?

San Francisco Chronicle Stage in the Park

Sponsored by UC Berkeley Arts + Design

2:45 PM
  • Current Affairs

Beyond Borders: Powerful Writers on Immigration

Francisco Cantu, Hernan Diaz, Lauren Markham, moderated by Ian Gordon

Sunday, April 29

2:45 PM - 4:00 PM

Travel bans, border walls, and pointed fingers create tragedy all around us. This diverse panel—a former U.S. Border Patrol agent haunted by the job he quit, a novelist-historian, and a journalist—provides a sweeping perspective on this vital issue. Don’t miss Francisco Cantú, whose new book based on his time patrolling the border, “The Line Becomes a River,” is “fresh, urgent…a devastating narrative of the very real human effects of depersonalized policy” (Kirkus); Hernan Diaz, associate director of the Hispanic Institute at Columbia University and author of the novel “In the Distance”; and Lauren Markham, author of “The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life,” who has worked in refugee resettlement and immigrant education for the past decade. Moderated by Mother Jones Managing Editor Ian Gordon, who has reported from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico.

BAMPFA - Osher Theater

Sponsored by Mother Jones

3:15 PM
  • Current Affairs
  • History
  • Literary

Muckraker: The Life and Times of Warren Hinckle

Pia Hinckle, Robert Scheer, Ron Turner, Steve Wasserman, moderated by Peter Richardson

Sunday, April 29

3:15 PM - 4:30 PM

As an editor, Warren Hinckle (1938-2016) reinvigorated investigative journalism at Ramparts magazine, the legendary San Francisco muckraker, and at Scanlan’s Monthly, where he helped create gonzo journalism. As a writer, he lampooned San Francisco’s political class, immortalized the city’s most colorful characters, and enshrined its most venerable saloons. Moderated by Peter Richardson, author of “A Bomb in Every Issue,” this panel features three of Hinckle’s longtime colleagues and friends—veteran muckraker Robert Scheer, publisher and critic Steve Wasserman, and publisher Ron Turner—long with Hinckle’s journalist daughter, Pia. Drawing on a new Hinckle anthology, “Ransoming Pagan Babies,” as well as his final book, “Who Killed Hunter S. Thompson?,” the panelists will reflect on the life and work of a Bay Area original.

Veteran's Memorial Building - Auditorium

Sponsored by the Journal of Alta California

3:15 PM
  • Children & Families
  • Literary
  • Teen

Dave Eggers Conjures a Fantastical Story for Young Readers

Dave Eggers interviewed by Aniya Butler

Sunday, April 29

3:15 PM - 4:30 PM

There’s nothing as sure as the ground beneath your feet. That is, unless there’s a whole world down there you don’t know about. In critically acclaimed author Dave Eggers’ new book for middle graders, “The Lifters,” our heroes discover a complex underground system that gives way to something nefarious. What if it were up to just two kids to stop these dark forces? What would it feel like to have the fate of an entire town on your shoulders? Readers of any age will enjoy hearing literary magician Eggers conjure another timeless tale. Interviewing Dave is Aniya Butler, a sixth-grade poet activist from Downtown Charter Academy.

Freight & Salvage

3:15 PM
  • Literary
  • Writing & Publishing

Writing and Risk: A Conversation with Laleh Khadivi and Michael David Lukas, University of San Francisco MFA in Writing

Laleh Khadivi, Michael David Lukas, moderated by Bich Minh Nguyen

Sunday, April 29

3:15 PM - 4:30 PM

To write is to take risks: with words, with voice, with subject matter. The process of writing something daring doesn’t end with publication—authors have to live with the consequences of taking these risks, personally and socially. Laleh Khadivi, author of “A Good Country,” and Michael David Lukas, author of “The Last Watchman of Old Cairo,” both faculty in USF’s MFA in Writing program, talk with writer and program director Beth Nguyen about risky writing and the questions writers never seem to get (or don’t get enough). They invite audience members to ask their own risky questions.

Hotel Shattuck Plaza - Boiler Room

Sponsored by the University of San Francisco, MFA in Writing Program

3:15 PM
  • Children & Families
  • Outdoor (Free)
  • Writing & Publishing

Books y Libros: A Talk with Spanish and Bilingual Children’s Books Writers, Illustrators and Publishers

Maya Christina Gonzalez, Robert Liu-Trujillo, Heather Robertson-Devine, Aida Salazar, Jennifer Torres, moderated by Maceo Cabrera Estévez

Sunday, April 29

3:15 PM - 4:30 PM

As borders tighten and DREAMers await their future, there are children who need to find themselves in the books they read. Is having brown and black skinned characters in books enough? In the age of Trump and Time’s Up, how can bilingual and Spanish children’s books in the US make an impact in our society? Can they help create a world where borders cannot be closed off? Children’s book writers, illustrators, and publishers discuss why they create books that are geared towards a Latinx audience.

Showtime Stage

3:15 PM
  • International
  • Literary
  • Women/Gender

Viv Albertine (Formerly of The Slits) Sits Down with Greil Marcus

Viv Albertine interviewed by Greil Marcus

Sunday, April 29

3:15 PM - 4:30 PM

Post punk rocker Viv Albertine (formerly of the feminist cult band The Slits) played at the heart of the British counterculture before pursuing TV and film directing and a solo music career. Her newly released second memoir, “To Throw Away Unopened,” begins where her last left off. She confronts questions of feminism, family, and inevitable death with the raw, intimate, vulnerable style that’s her trademark. Once a reader connects with this powerful voice it’s impossible to stop reading or stay untouched. Albertine comes to us from the U.K. for this conversation with legendary rock critic Greil Marcus.

The Brower Center - Goldman Theater

3:15 PM
  • Comics & Graphics

Comics, Live!

Thi Bui, Nidhi Chanani, Trinidad Escobar, Amber Padilla, Meggie Ramm, Matt Silady

Sunday, April 29

3:15 PM - 4:30 PM

See great comics artists create their art on the spot! The Bay Area has a rich history of cartooning from the earliest alternative comix to the modern graphic novel. Join this special live performance to see and hear these visual stories come to life. This year’s “reading” features some of the most talented storytellers in comics tackling issues of immigration, cultural tolerance, and self-discovery. This is a great opportunity for fans to see their favorite characters brought to life and for comics writers to watch some pros do the magic.

The Marsh - Theater

Sponsored by the California College of the Arts MFA in Comics Program

3:30 PM
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Teen
  • Women/Gender

The Empire and the Resistance of Sabaa Tahir

Sabaa Tahir interviewed by Ben Schwartz

Sunday, April 29

3:30 PM - 4:45 PM

Here’s one reason why young adults today are so outspoken: They’ve been exposed to powerful political heroes since a young age—via their fiction. Pakistani-American young adult fiction writer Sabaa Tahir’s characters, no older than their teen readers, face despotism, oppression, and daily threats to their lives. In the face of the ruthless Martial Empire, our heroes risk everything to resist. These young heroes show us what’s right, what’s possible, and what sorts of governance need not be tolerated. (Remember, anyone under age 18 is let in free—no wristbands necessary!)

Hotel Shattuck Plaza - Crystal Ballroom

3:45 PM
  • Current Affairs
  • Food
  • History

Creating a Better Way to Eat: Hippies, Hawkers and Starfruits

Jonathan Kauffman, Laura McLively, James Syhabout, moderated by John Birdsall

Sunday, April 29

3:45 PM - 5:00 PM

Your dinner tonight is about so much more than just what’s on the plate—though this panel is about to make that more interesting too. Jonathan Kauffman’s “Hippie Food: How Back-to-the-Landers, Longhairs, and Revolutionaries Changed the Way We Eat” shows how we moved (thank goodness) from 1950s TV dinners to eating seasonally, locally, and organically. Chef James Syhabout, proprietor and chef of Hawker Fare, Commis (the only Michelin-starred restaurant in Oakland), and other restaurants, helps home chefs learn from his life story and his classic training in “Hawker Fare: Stories & Recipes from a Refugee Chef’s Isan Thai & Lao Roots,” written with moderater John Birdsall. Laura McLively has turned her popular food blog into “The Berkeley Bowl Cookbook,” working magic with some of the market’s most intriguing and exotic ingredients, such as Pepino Melon Poke and Starfruit Almond Torte. (Just what do you do with a particular mushroom, a foreign root, a spiky fruit? You’ll find out.) Don’t miss this mouth-watering session.

Magnes Museum

Sponsored by California Magazine

4:00 PM
  • Children & Families
  • Free

Falling from the Sky: Judd Winick, Creator of Hilo’s World (CANCELED)

Judd Winick

Sunday, April 29

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Please note, this program has been canceled.

Bay Area Children's Theatre, 2055 Center Street

4:15 PM
  • Current Affairs
  • Outdoor (Free)
  • Women/Gender

Power Up: How Smart Women Win in the New Economy

Magdalena Yesil, interviewed by Laura D. Tyson

Sunday, April 29

4:15 PM - 5:15 PM

Magdalena Yesil knows what it takes to get ahead. She arrived in this country as a near-penniless immigrant student. Not only did she become one of the founding board members of Salesforce, but she was among the first to note the commercial potential of the internet, founding the first Internet payment company, CyberCash. Now she’s a memoirist too, having penned “Power Up: How Smart Women Win in the New Economy,” weaving her own story with trenchant advice on persisting amidst setbacks, combatting gender discrimination, and generally being fearless in approaching challenges. Hear this smart, compassionate woman as she gives other smart women the tools they need to win.

San Francisco Chronicle Stage in the Park

Sponsored by Strong Legacy Planning

4:30 PM
  • International
  • Literary

Creating Home: On Finding Yourself in Another Culture

Hernan Diaz, Rodrigo Hasbún, Tommy Wieringa, moderated by Oscar Villalon

Sunday, April 29

4:30 PM - 5:45 PM

“Home”—losing it, finding it, creating it—is one of the most fundamental themes in literature. These three authors explore the concept of home and foreignness, creating utterly captivating stories that subvert readers’ expectations. Hernan Diaz, associate director of the Hispanic Institute at Columbia University, sends a youthful Swedish immigrant on a cross-country American trek in his new novel, “In the Distance,” called “a potent depiction of loneliness, a memorable immigration narrative, and a canny reinvention of the old-school western.” In Rodrigo Hasbún’s, “Affections,” a former member of the Nazi propaganda machine flees to Bolivia to find a fresh start, only to discover revolution. Tommy Wieringa’s “These Are the Names” is “part fable, part murder mystery,” telling the interwoven stories of a group of refugees and a good-hearted policeman—”this touching novel insistently affirms the values of civilization above tribalism and fear” (Wall Street Journal).

The Brower Center - Tamalpais Room

With the support of Letterenfonds/Dutch Foundation for Literature and the Dutch Culture USA program of the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York

5:00 PM
  • Current Affairs
  • International
  • Literary

The Power of Literature to Create a Better World: Closing Keynote with Pico Iyer

Pico Iyer, John Freeman

Sunday, April 29

5:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Literature is how we forge a common good globally—by awakening a sense of empathy and openness and by stressing the things that connect us instead of what divides us. Never has this been more essential than today as politicians speak of walls and bans and as we feel distances growing wider between neighbors. Drawing upon his 32 years as a full-time writer (including 12 books spanning travel literature, biography, memoir and novels) and his 44 years as a full-time traveler, Pico Iyer will close the festival with a keynote illuminating the power of literature to create a world beyond walls. After the keynote, Iyer will be interviewed by renowned literary critic John Freeman—editor of Freeman’s literary journal, former editor of the international journal Granta, and author of many books, including the new poetry collection “Maps.” Both authors will sign books after the conversation. Note: Priority Tickets are $12. We expect this session to sell out, so get your tickets now for this very special talk!

Freight & Salvage

7:00 PM
  • Current Affairs
  • Voting Rights

Vote At Home with Amber McReynolds and Jesse Wegman

Friday May 1st

7:00 PM - 8:15 PM


As highlighted by urgent op-eds and leading journalists, the November 2020 election will be disrupted, perhaps severely, by the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s a secure and well-studied solution available: voting by mail, which promises to protect public health and the integrity of our democracy. What are the pathways to making vote-by-mail widely available? What are the challenges? Who implements this kind of policy change, and where? And, with the most consequential election of our lifetimes less than six months away, how can citizens organize to push for this bipartisan mandate and actually get results within an urgent timeframe?

Jesse Wegman has written about the Supreme Court and legal affairs for the New York Times editorial board since 2013, and his book Let the People Pick the President: The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College was praised by National Book Award winner and MacArthur fellow Annette Gordon-Reed as a “timely and erudite work that should interest all who are interested in the future of the United States.” He’s joined by Amber McReynolds, CEO for the National Vote At Home Institute and Coalition and co-author of When Women Vote. These nationally recognized experts on voting rights, the Constitution, and electoral law engage in a spirited and forward-looking conversation moderated by Ian Haney Lopez, author of Merge Left, which astutely examines the role of coded racism in contemporary political campaigns.

Want to take action in response to what you hear? Check out our Resources page!

Our series on Voting Rights has been generously supported by the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, Stephen M. Silberstein Foundation, Guy and Jeanine Saperstein, and Mal Warwick Donordigital.

And a special thank you to our distribution partners, including AJC Decatur Book Festival (Decatur, GA), JLF Colorado (Boulder, CO), Literary Arts (Portland, OR), and the Wisconsin Book Festival (Madison, WI).

Amber McReynolds, When Women Vote
Jesse Wegman, et the People Pick the President: The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College.
Ian Haney Lopez, Merge Left: Fusing Race and Class, Winning Elections, and Saving America

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners


Watch the full episode


11:00 AM
  • Children & Families
  • Middle Grade

Ivy and Bean Shelter in Place

Saturday May 2

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

In Book 11 of the wildly popular Ivy + Bean series, our two celebrate One Big Happy Family. But how do you keep your big family happy when you are cooped up inside? In this riveting episode Author Annie Barrows and illustrator Sophie Blackall talk about how to be friends while social-distancing, but also the fun you can have with your grownups (i.e., tricks you can play that won’t wreck anything); what you can do if you’re missing your friends, and how to make some; AND you will get a sneak peek of Book #12 because… Ivy + Bean are not done. Not by far! (Barrows and Blackall will introduce #12 using the cover image, time-lapse-type video of a drawing, and a reading of the first sentence.)

Annie Barrows & Sophie Blackall – Ivy + Bean: One Big Happy Family

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners


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10:00 AM
  • Children & Families
  • Culture
  • picture book

Music Makes a Family

Sunday May 3

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Author Michael Genhart and illustrator Priscilla Burris team up with ACCORDIONLY: Abuelo and Opa Make Music, a charming and inspiring tale of two grandfathers in a blended family that must overcome language and cultural barriers in order to live harmoniously together. The young protagonist helps his two beloved grandpas find a common language through music. This wonderful picture book, praised by Kirkus as carrying “an especially important message for multiracial/multiethnic children who can often feel pulled between competing identities,” underscores how we can celebrate difference and find common ground at the same time. An educational and lively session that touches on themes of diversity, finding inventive strategies to communicate and get along while staying at home, and conflict resolution.

Michael Genhart and Priscilla Burris – Accordionly: Abuelo and Opa Make Music

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners


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11:00 AM
  • Middle Grade
  • Teen
  • Youth

Courage and Heart in Adversity

Sunday May 3

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Renee Diop of Cinnamongirl, Inc, an Oakland-based nonprofit that empowers girls of color with mentorship and educational opportunities, will moderate a discussion between two top middle grade authors whose work explores young people’s inner and outer courage. Kate O’Shaughnessy’s The Lonely Heart of Maybelle Lane, praised by Publishers Weekly as “a lyrical and full of heart road trip story” that “gets to the core of what it means to create family, to be brave, and to accept the flaws of being human,” chronicles the journey of a teen girl, passionate about sounds and music, who takes a huge risk to search for her father, but ends up finding herself. And Ernesto Cisneros’ Efren Divided, which Sandra Cisneros praised as “a book doing work of the spirit in a time of darkness,” tells the story of a teen boy, the son of undocumented parents, who must channel his own strength and bravery when his mother is deported.

Ernesto Cisneros – Efrén Divided
Kate O’Shaughnessy – The Lonely Heart of Maybelle Lane

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners


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7:00 PM
  • Health, Psychology & Spirituality

Shedding Light, Vanquishing Fear: End-of-Life Planning with the Experts

Sunday May 3

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

In a time where COVID-19 looms over us all, difficult conversations about death have become a very real part of life. But from living rooms to hospital rooms, there’s widespread resistance to delving into this important topic that touches us all. We tend to perceive death as too scary, too ugly, too overwhelming to acknowledge—let alone something to approach in a peaceful, prepared way. In this informative, enlightening, and truly comforting discussion, four remarkable experts show families and individuals how to take a clear-eyed, compassionate approach to mortality, one’s own and that of loved ones. These authors shed light on how medical providers and patients alike can reshape the mentality of fear around the process of dying and create a much better experience for all, one that can be transformative and extremely meaningful. By exercising agency in planning for the “best possible death,” we can create our best possible life.

This revelatory conversation features journalist Shoshana Berger and palliative care physician BJ Miller, co-authors of A Beginner’s Guide to the End: Practical Advice for Living Life and Facing Death, praised by The Washington Post as “a gentle, knowledgeable guide to a fate we all share.” They are joined by award-winning journalist and bestselling writer Katy Butler, author of two groundbreaking books about the end of life: Knocking on Heaven’s Door, the Path to a Better Way of Death, and her latest, The Art of Dying Well: A Practical Guide to a Good End of Life, hailed as “a roadmap to the end” that “combines medical, practical, and spiritual guidance” (The Boston Globe). Moderated by Dr. Sunita Puri, whose memoir That Good Night: Life and Medicine in the Eleventh Hour is a “profound exploration for what it means for all of us to live—and to die—with dignity and purpose” (People Magazine). Dr. Puri is currently on the frontlines working with COVID-19 patients as the Medical Director of the Palliative Medicine and Supportive Care Service at the Keck Hospital and Norris Cancer Center of the University of Southern California.

Shoshana Berger and BJ Miller, A Beginner’s Guide to the End: Practical Advice for Living Life and Facing Death
Katy Butler, The Art of Dying Well: A Practical Guide to a Good End of Life
Sunita Puri, MD, That Good Night: Life and Medicine in the Eleventh Hour

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners


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7:00 PM
  • Literary
  • Mystery, Crime & Thrillers

Queens of Mystery: Writer to Writer with Meg Gardiner and Rachel Howzell Hall

Tuesday May 5

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

“Suspense is like a woman,” said Hitchcock. “The more left to the imagination, the more the excitement.” Well, these two women are coming for Hitchcock’s crown with some of the most spine-tingling, sophisticated thrillers being written today. Meg Gardiner, bestselling novelist and president of Mystery Writers of America, was fittingly called “Hitchcockian” by USA Today. She specializes in heroines with big brains, from FBI agents to forensic psychiatrists to firecracker journalists (Stephen King called her Evan Delaney novels “the finest crime-suspense series I’ve come across in the last twenty years”). And Rachel Howzell Hall, author of the Detective Elouise Norton series, has created an unforgettable protagonist described by The New York Times as “someone you want on your side.” Hall’s newest, which ABC News calls her “breakout novel,” is They all Fall Down, a wickedly clever mystery set on a pristine—and deadly—island paradise in Mexico.

Listen to these two leading ladies of suspense as they crack the case of how to make readers stay up all night. Moderated by Laurie King, an Edgar Award-winning author of detective fiction and President of the Northern California chapter of Mystery Writers of America.

Meg Gardiner, The Dark Corners of the Night
Rachel Howzell Hall, They All Fall Down
Laurie King, Beginnings

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners


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7:00 PM
  • Teen
  • Youth

Of Violence and Hope

Wednesday May 6

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Murder, werewolves and guns: oh my! The teen protagonists in these riveting novels by Randy Ribay and Romina Garber are driven to reconcile dangerous mysteries at home and abroad. When Jay, the American teenage protagonist of Patron Saints of Nothing, discovers that his Filiopino cousin has been murdered in the midst of President Duerte’s war on drugs, he travels to the Philippines to investigate, and uncovers dark secrets that he never bargained for. Manuela, the undocumented Argentine teen at the center of Garber’s Lobizona: A Novel (Wolves of No World Book 1), is thrown into chaos when her mother is arrested by ICE, and follows a trail of clues that lead her to a secret and mystical world straight out of Argentine folklore. In a conversation moderated by Madison Harvey, sophomore at Oakland’s Head Royce School and member of Cinnamongirl, Inc, these authors delve into immigration, belonging, and how, in order to emerge into the light, we sometimes have to take a deep dive into the dark.

Romina Garber – Lobizona: A Novel – Wolves of No World Book 1
Randy Ribay – Patron Saints of Nothing

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners


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10:00 AM
  • Children & Families
  • History
  • picture book

The Fabled Life of Aesop

Saturday May 9

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM


We all know the fables “The Tortoise and the Hare,” The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” and “The Ant and the Grasshopper.” But what do we know about Aesop himself? His fables have been told and retold around the world for over 2,500 years; and, now, through Ian Lendler‘s wonderful book The Fabled Life of Aesop, we can learn the real story of the greatest mythmaker of them all. Come listen to Ian and find out how Aesop–and his famous, timeless fables–came to be.

Ian Lendler, Pamela Zagarenski – The Fabled Life of Aesop

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11:00 AM
  • Children & Families
  • Middle Grade

Justice for All

Saturday May 9

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Moved to action, these two stories speak to the power of ordinary people to inspire change. Design Action Collective founder Innosanto Nagara writes and illustrates progressive and beautiful children’s books “for the 99 percent,” and his latest, M is for Movement, is an essential book for kids about standing up for what’s right. He’s joined by children’s and middle-grade author Nikki Shannon Smith, who writes about “silly, naughty, intelligent, mistake-making kids” while weaving in historical themes about society and justice. Her titles Sarah’s Journey West and Charlotte Spies for Justice are the latest installments in her socially conscious “Girls Survive” series. Don’t miss this wonderful session with two authors who share a gift for bringing themes of justice to life in thrilling and kid-friendly ways, not in the least because they will be interviewed by eleven-year-old Aria Sindledecker, who is a published author herself.

Innosanto Nagara – M is for Movement
Nikki Shannon Smith – Charlotte Spies for Justice

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners


Watch the full episode



7:00 PM
  • Literary
  • Women/Gender

Sacred and Profane: Debut Novelist Chelsea Bieker on “Godshot”

Sunday May 10

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

We’re thrilled to welcome debut novelist Chelsea Bieker in conversation with Brooke Warner, publisher of She Writes Press and SparkPress. Bieker’s explosive literary debut Godshot (Catapult/March 2020), praised by bestseller Kristen Arnett as “a beautiful blow to the heart,” is a hymn to the salvation found in hard-won personal rebirth. Stricken with drought, the once-verdant community of Peaches, California clings to a cult leader for salvation, and 14-year-old Lacey, abandoned by her mother, is left to reap a revelatory, fraught harvest of her own. Godshot has won Bieker rapturous comparisons to Margaret Atwood, Emma Cline, and Janet Fitch; but the beauty of her “absolute masterpiece” (T. Kira Madden) lies in Lacey’s incomparable voice: the voice of a brokenhearted believer, by turns darkly funny and achingly tender, who you’ll miss after turning the last page. Go deep with Bieker and Brooke Warner, as they plumb the depths of one unforgettable girl’s miraculous journey to fertile ground.

Chelsea Bieker, Godshot
Brooke Warner, Write on Sisters!

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners


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7:00 PM
  • Children & Families
  • Current Affairs
  • Health, Psychology & Spirituality

Parenting in a Time of Crisis

Tuesday May 12

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Parents all over the world are facing a dilemma: what do we tell children about threatening truths, from COVID-19 to climate change? How do we balance their need to be informed and prepared with their equally important right to experience the carefree joy of youth and dream of the future? These questions are more urgent than ever at a time when our kids’ routines, schedules, and ideas of normalcy have been completely upended—and when parents are struggling to answer their children’s questions in a way that doesn’t undermine kids’ baseline of stability and structure.

Author, speaker, and coach Christine Carter, Ph.D. draws on her own parenting experiences, as well as the latest scientific research in psychology, sociology, and neuroscience, to give advice for living, working, and parenting with greater joy and meaning. In her recent book, Ready or Not: Preparing Our Kids to Thrive in an Uncertain and Rapidly Changing World, New York Times bestselling author and psychologist Madeline Levine seems to have anticipated the needs and struggles of families during this crisis. Environmental pioneer Sarah Jaquette Ray’s A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety is an essential toolkit for the climate generation—and the rest of us—as we confront the greatest environmental threat of our time: one that, as we’re learning, worsens pandemics. We couldn’t ask for a better trio of guides to empower us with the knowledge and insight to parent well in these trying times. Moderated by Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at UC Berkeley and faculty director of the Greater Good Science Center.

Christine Carter, The New Adolescence 
Madeline Levine, Ready or Not: Preparing Our Kids to Thrive in an Uncertain and Rapidly Changing World
Sarah Jaquette Ray, A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety: How to Keep Your Cool on a Warming Planet
Dacher Keltner, The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners


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7:00 PM
  • Current Affairs
  • Voting Rights

Courts, COVID-19 & Voter Suppression

Thursday May 14

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

We’ve all seen the images from the recent in-person election in Wisconsin: people lined up wearing masks, some holding signs saying “THIS IS RIDICULOUS,” as they risked deadly COVID-19 illness and violated a shelter-in-place order simply to exercise the right to vote. Perhaps the most disturbing part of this scenario was the fact that it wouldn’t have happened without a last-minute ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that rolled back an absentee ballot extension period that had been put in place expressly to mitigate contagion potential from in-person voting. With less than six months to go until the 2020 Presidential election, and with the COVID-19 pandemic expected to remain in full force, can we expect a repeat of the debacle in Wisconsin—this time, on a national scale? In the aftermath of 2013’s Shelby County v. Holder verdict that shattered the Voting Rights Act, how much can we rely on our courts as the last line of defense in our right to vote?

Three nationally recognized experts will lead us through the role of the courts in ensuring voters’ access to vital options like absentee ballots and early voting, and show us how everyday citizens can act now to shape the judiciary in the short and long term. Featuring legal scholar Richard Hasen, whose Election Meltdown was deemed “required reading for legislators and voters” by Kirkus in a starred review; Constitutional scholar Alan Hirsch, whose A Short History of Presidential Election Crises was praised as “lucid, balanced, and deeply informed” by Elizabeth Kolbert; and renowned civil rights leader Abdi Soltani, executive director of the ACLU of Northern California. Moderated by Lala Wu, whose Sister District Project enlists 40,000 women nationwide in the fight to win crucial state legislative elections.

Want to take action in response to what you hear? Check out our Resources page!

Our series on Voting Rights has been generously supported by the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, Stephen M. Silberstein Foundation, Guy and Jeanine Saperstein, and Mal Warwick Donordigital.
And a special thank you to our distribution partners, including AJC Decatur Book Festival (Decatur, GA), JLF Colorado (Boulder, CO), Literary Arts (Portland, OR), and the Wisconsin Book Festival (Madison, WI).

Richard Hasen, Election Meltdown: Dirty Tricks, Distrust, and the Threat to American Democracy
Alan Hirsch, A Short History of Presidential Election Crises: (And How to Prevent the Next One)

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners


Watch the full episode


7:00 PM
  • Literary

Sex, Art and Power: Writer to Writer with Garth Greenwell and Lidia Yuknavitch

Tuesday May 19

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

In our Writer to Writer series, two writers who are fans of each other’s work come together for a conversation. Garth Greenwell’s most recent book, Cleanness, was described in Harpers as “an electrifying portrait of sex’s power to lacerate and liberate, to make and unmake our deepest selves…The book’s sex scenes unfold like revelations, effortlessly braiding inner drama with precisely choreographed intimacy.” And Greenwell, writing in The New Yorker, has called Lidia Yuknavitch’s sex scenes “remarkable among current American novelists, not just for their explicitness but for the way she uses them to pursue questions of agency, selfhood, and the ethical implications of making art.” Come listen in as two of contemporary literature’s most incendiary writers talk about the relationships between queer bodies and sex, language and literary citizenship, and the moral and artistic complexities of desire and power. Moderated by Keiko Lane, writer, poet, and former faculty member at the California Institute of Integral Studies.

Garth Greenwell, Cleanness
Lidia Yuknavitch, Verge

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7:00 PM
  • Voting Rights

SUPPRESSED: THE FIGHT TO VOTE Screening and Talkback

Tuesday May 19

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

The fundamental right to vote is under attack in America: a truth that became glaringly obvious during the fraught midterm elections of 2018. Brave New Films’ “scary and galvanizing” (Variety) documentary Suppressed: The Fight to Vote shines a light on the hotly contested Georgia governor’s race between Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp: a race that came to stand for the corrupt and systematic oppression of voters’ rights taking place across the nation. Get informed, fired up, and empowered by this searing and necessary short film, and stay for a rousing post-screening conversation between director Robert Greenwald,  Atlanta college student Phoebe Einzig-Roth—whose infuriating struggle to vote for the first time was documented in the film—and moderator John Diaz of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Want to take action in response to what you hear? Check out our Resources page!

Our series on Voting Rights has been generously supported by the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, Stephen M. Silberstein Foundation, Guy and Jeanine Saperstein, and Mal Warwick Donordigital.
And a special thank you to our distribution partners, including AJC Decatur Book Festival (Decatur, GA), JLF Colorado (Boulder, CO), Literary Arts (Portland, OR), and the Wisconsin Book Festival (Madison, WI).


Watch the full episode


7:00 PM
  • Children & Families
  • Literary

How to Raise a Reader

Tuesday May 26

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

In a world where so much is competing for a child’s attention, how do you raise a reader? Becoming a reader, at any stage of a child’s development, has huge cognitive, emotional, and social benefits that last a lifetime. But which books to choose? How to help your child turn to books over TV and games, much less carve out time to dive headlong into a book? There’s no one better than New York Times Book Review editor Pamela Paul to show us how instilling a lifelong love of reading in your child can be easy, fun, and rewarding.

Based on a New York Times article that went viral with its insightful advice, How to Raise a Reader, co-authored with New York Times Book Review children’s books editor Maria Russo, is more relevant than ever now that schools are closed, kids are sheltering in place, and parents are casting about for learning and bonding opportunities that are constructive, comforting, and simple. In a lively conversation with developmental psychologist Diana Divecha of the Yale Child Study Center, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, and Greater Good Science Center, Paul will show us how to give kids of all ages one of the greatest and most joyful gifts.

Pamela Paul and Maria Russo, How to Raise a Reader

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7:00 PM
  • Current Affairs
  • Race/Identity
  • Voting Rights

One Person, No Vote: Carol Anderson in Conversation with Congresswoman Barbara Lee

Thursday May 28

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Carol Anderson is one of our nation’s leading voices on racial justice. In her National Book Critics Circle Award-winning bestseller White Rage, she chronicled the history of systemic injustices that have impeded black progress in America, from Reconstruction to the present day. In One Person, No Vote, longlisted for the National Book Award, she zeros in on the fallout from the 2013 Supreme Court ruling that gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This “impeccably researched, deftly written” (Minneapolis Star Tribune) book offers a whip-smart, riveting analysis of the disenfranchisement of voters of color, with insights that have proven, in the aftermath of the 2018 midterm elections, to be resoundingly prescient — and, for the 2020 elections, more urgent than ever.

Anderson will be in conversation with Congresswoman Barbara Lee, one of the most well-regarded, outspoken, and trailblazing members of the U.S. House of Representatives, and currently the only African American woman in House Democratic leadership. This empowering and galvanizing conversation will enlighten us about how voter suppression has worked in the past and, most importantly, what we can do now to deny it a future.

Want to take action in response to what you hear? Check out our Resources page!

Our series on Voting Rights has been generously supported by the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, Stephen M. Silberstein Foundation, Guy and Jeanine Saperstein, and Mal Warwick Donordigital.
And a special thank you to our distribution partners, including AJC Decatur Book Festival (Decatur, GA), JLF Colorado (Boulder, CO), Literary Arts (Portland, OR), and the Wisconsin Book Festival (Madison, WI).

Carol Anderson, One Person, No Vote

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners


Watch the full episode


7:00 PM
  • Current Affairs
  • Health, Psychology & Spirituality

Coming Together When Things Fall Apart: Giving Voice to Emotional Truth in our Times

Saturday, May 2

7:00 PM - 8:15 PM

This event is for everyone who’s ever been moved by a writer’s uncanny gift for describing the indescribable: a gift that makes us feel seen and understood in all our complexity. It’s a gift we need now, more than ever. A novelist’s stock in trade is plumbing the emotional landscape of characters experiencing freefall, upheaval, uncertainty—just as all of us are experiencing, in some measure, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. When the overwhelming emotions of this current moment render us speechless, who better to break the silence and put words to complicated feelings than some of contemporary literature’s most groundbreaking, humane, and breathtaking voices?

Acclaimed novelist R.O. Kwon’s transcendent New York Times essay about grief in lockdown was the inspiration for this conversation. Joining her are Anthony Doerr, whose blockbuster World War II novel All the Light We Cannot See illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another; and Viet Thanh Nguyen, whose witty, exquisite The Sympathizer captures the ambivalence and humanity of “a man of two minds” in the midst of a traumatic war. Moderated by award-winning author Danielle Evans, who recently penned a beautiful essay about sheltering-in-place for The Sewanee Review’s “Corona Correspondences” series.

This ticketed live event, a fundraiser for the Bay Area Book Festival, will take us beyond the headlines and tweets into a raw, cathartic conversation about navigating lockdown, loss, and massive change. In the midst of this strange time, an hour of deep connection can bring hope and courage to us all.

Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See
R.O. Kwon, The Incendiaries
Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Sympathizer
Danielle Evans, Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners

Watch the full episode

This event was recorded live on May 2 as a ticketed fundraiser, starting at $40. We greatly appreciate the generosity of these authors in lending their time and brilliance to help the festival! While eventually we’ll release this program for free, for just a little longer we’re asking for a donation of $20 to watch it. Not only is this program totally worth it, but you’ll be helping the festival endure to continue to bring you programs like this one.

After you make your donation here, we’ll send you a special viewing link, along with a “literary companion” list of books and articles cited by the authors, their own recent writings on COVID-19, and so on.

7:00 PM
  • Literary

America’s Most Unusual Marriage: Adam Hochschild on Rebel Cinderella

Tuesday, June 2

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Trust bestselling author and historian Adam Hochschild to unearth one of history’s forgotten heroines and give her story the page-turning treatment it deserves. Russian immigrant Rose Pastor Stokes spent her first twelve years in America in a sweatshop, only to skyrocket to the upper class when she married an heir to a massive mining and real estate fortune. It’s a classic Cinderella story: that is, if Cinderella converted her prince to socialism, became an antiwar and labor activist, caused a scandal by promoting birth control access, and was dubbed “one of the most dangerous influences of the country” by a sitting President.

This tale of a volatile, bright-burning Gilded Age marriage could only exist in the America of Jay Gatsby, bootleggers, and the Lost Generation: an era of glamour and privation, of big dreams and bigger inequities. An era, as Hochschild reveals, with far more parallels to our own than anything in the Brothers Grimm. Only Hochshild could do justice, in words and images, to a crusader who was far ahead of her own time, but strikingly relevant to ours. Hochschild will be joined by Monika Bauerlein, CEO and award-winning editor of Mother Jones.

Adam Hochschild, Rebel Cinderella

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7:00 PM
  • Current Affairs
  • Health, Psychology & Spirituality
  • Literary
  • Race/Identity

The Witness We Bear: Writer to Writer with Jericho Brown and Nikky Finney

Friday, June 5

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

In our Writer to Writer series, two writers who are fans of each other’s work come together for a conversation. This one couldn’t be more urgent. In “The Witness We Bear,” two extraordinary poets, Pulitzer Prize winner Jericho Brown (The Tradition) and National Book Award winner Nikky Finney (Love Child’s Hotbed of Occasional Poetry), continue a dialogue that began 20 years ago, when Jericho was Nikky’s student. Much has changed since those days, but what hasn’t is their mutual dedication to bearing witness to hard truths through art.

In this transcendent, thought-provoking, and deeply personal conversation, two of the most prominent poets in America today share their own responses to the murders of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, address the protests against police brutality and white supremacy, and describe the revolutionary power of poetry to capture human experience. They discuss what it means to be a teacher and learner, and how “place” and history shape us as people and artists. They offer us their own experiences of finding power and hope, even in the midst of heartbreak. As Jericho says, “One of the ways we know we’re magical people is by how much we manage to do with broken hearts.” Join this magical conversation, moderated by Ismail Muhammad, reviews editor for The Believer, board member at the National Book Critics Circle, and Program Committee member at the Bay Area Book Festival.

Jericho Brown, The Tradition
Nikky Finney, Love Child’s Hotbed of Occasional Poetry

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7:00 PM
  • Current Affairs
  • Voting Rights

Unrigging the Rules for the Rising American Electorate: David Daley and Steve Phillips

Thursday May 7

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Who holds America’s future in their hands? Who has the potential to dramatically reshape our political landscape, just by exercising the right to vote? The past few years have seen an exciting infusion of political engagement from a diverse electorate as young people, people of color, and single women are mobilizing and making their voices heard. For every victory and milestone, however, there is an equally coordinated—if insidious—attempt to disenfranchise these citizens from turning out to vote. From polling station closures to gerrymandering, from voter ID laws to the purging of voter rolls, suppressive tactics are deliberate, methodical, and ubiquitous.

We’ll learn how to unrig the rules to ensure these rising new voices—and their votes—are counted, with insights from bestselling authorities on voting rights: Steve Phillips, founder of Democracy in Color and author of Brown Is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority, and David Daley, author of Unrigged: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy and the 2016 bestseller Ratf***ed: Why Your Vote Doesn’t Count, which has become an urgent reference point for the upcoming post-census round of redistricting. Moderated by indigenous activist and journalist Rebecca Nagle, whose groundbreaking podcast, This Land, won the prestigious American Mosaic Journalism Prize.

Want to take action in response to what you hear? Check out our Resources page!

Our series on Voting Rights has been generously supported by the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, Stephen M. Silberstein Foundation, Guy and Jeanine Saperstein, and Mal Warwick Donordigital.
And a special thank you to our distribution partners, including AJC Decatur Book Festival (Decatur, GA), JLF Colorado (Boulder, CO), Literary Arts (Portland, OR), and the Wisconsin Book Festival (Madison, WI).


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7:00 PM
  • International
  • Literary
  • Mystery, Crime & Thrillers

International Thrills: #1 Scandinavian Bestseller Lars Kepler

Tuesday, June 9

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

The blockbuster Swedish suspense phenomenon Lars Kepler, famed for the #1 internationally bestselling Joona Linna series, is actually two people: husband-and-wife duo Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril and Alexander Ahndoril. Their first book, 2009’s mega-bestselling The Hypnotist, stirred up intrigue beyond its own riveting pages, as the media frantically sleuthed to uncover Lars Kepler’s real identity: a secret finally revealed at a press conference that became Sweden’s biggest story of that summer. Both halves of this dynamic duo were already acclaimed authors before they joined forces, but as a crime-fiction team, they’ve sold millions of copies in 40 languages. Come for a rare, fascinating look behind the curtain of this powerhouse literary couple’s creative process, as they share the ins and outs of creating ghoulishly razor-sharp fiction as a team, the origins of their most iconic characters and storylines, and the artistic freedom that comes from collaboration. Moderated by Jesse Kellerman, no stranger to collaboration himself, having co-written New York Times bestselling crime novels—praised as “brilliant, page-turning fiction” by Stephen King—with his father, Jonathan Kellerman.

Lars Kepler, The Rabbit Hunter
Jesse Kellerman, Half Moon Bay – forthcoming in July 2020, available now for pre-order

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7:00 PM
  • International
  • Literary
  • Women/Gender

Strange Hotel: Irish Literary Sensation Eimear McBride

Tuesday, June 16th

7:00 PM - 8:15 PM

The trajectory of Eimear McBride’s career is an underdog’s dream: she spent six months writing her debut novel, A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, and nine years trying to sell it, only to take the literary scene by storm when it was finally published in 2013 to an avalanche of acclaim, awards (including the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction), and rapturous comparisons to James Joyce and Samuel Beckett. Now, McBride is joining Women Lit in a live virtual conversation with Brooke Warner, publisher of She Writes Press and SparkPress, in celebration of her eagerly awaited new novel, Strange Hotel, which further cements her singular place in the contemporary canon. As unforgettable as her debut, McBride’s latest book depicts a rootless woman’s exile as she hotel-hops across the globe, seeking to quash her ghosts and escape the dangers that haunt her.

Event airs on Tuesday, June 16th, 7:00 PM PDT

7:00 PM
  • International
  • Literary
  • Women/Gender

Strange Hotel: Irish Literary Sensation Eimear McBride

Tuesday, June 16

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

The trajectory of Eimear McBride’s career is an underdog’s dream: she spent six months writing her debut novel, A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, and nine years trying to sell it, only to take the literary scene by storm when it was finally published in 2013 to an avalanche of acclaim, awards (including the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction), and rapturous comparisons to James Joyce and Samuel Beckett. Now, McBride is joining Women Lit in a live virtual conversation with Brooke Warner, publisher of She Writes Press and SparkPress, in celebration of her eagerly awaited new novel, Strange Hotel, which further cements her singular place in the contemporary canon. As unforgettable as her debut, McBride’s latest book depicts a rootless woman’s exile as she hotel-hops across the globe, seeking to quash her ghosts and escape the dangers that haunt her.

Eimear McBride, Strange Hotel
Brooke Warner, Write On, Sisters!

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners


Watch the full episode


7:00 PM
  • Free
  • Health, Psychology & Spirituality
  • Women/Gender

A Time for Transformation: Redefining Aging with Louise Aronson

Thursday, June 18th

7:00 PM - 8:15 PM

 “Old age” has been defined as beginning between ages 60 and 70, meaning most people spend more of their lives in elderhood than they do in childhood. Despite the fact that we’re beginning to live longer, more fulfilling lives, many of us dread entering our golden years. But what if we had another way of approaching this richly complex phase of life? Louise Aronson, New York Times bestselling author, geriatrician, and Professor of Medicine at UCSF, recently sparked discussion with her necessary, clear-eyed Times essay on the perceived value of elders’ lives in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. This piece is a fitting complement to Elderhood, a finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction. In this illuminating and incisive book, which has drawn comparisons to Oliver Sacks as well as Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal, Aronson uses stories from her own life and experience with patients, as well as history, science, and pop culture, to illustrate a new, realistic, and groundbreaking approach to aging. This conversation between Aronson and KALW host Jeneé Darden promises to be a virtual hour of hope, connection, and frank discussion on what elderhood really is, and what it has the potential to be.

 Event Airs: Thursday, June 18th, 7:00 PM PDT

Sponsored By

bayer.us


Louise Aronson, Elderhood

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10:00 AM
  • Children & Families
  • Free
  • Poetry

Night and Day

Saturday June 20th

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM

Magic happens when we close our eyes at night–and again when we open them in the morning. We dream when we sleep, but did you know that zebra finches rehearse their songs while dreaming? Or that otters sleep while holding hands? Or that frigate birds sleep while flying? Join Kate Hosford with A Songbird Dreams of Singing: Poems about Sleeping Animals, which pairs poetry with child-friendly science. And don’t forget about waking up! Discover new facts about familiar creatures with Keely Parrack‘s Good Morning, Sunshine. In haikus, Keely shows us the fascinating morning routines of fluttering moths and scurrying beetles, shy foxes and humming bees. In the city, the countryside, and the suburbs, nature’s rhythms and cycles are beautiful to behold–if we know how to look for them. With these marvelous books, we don’t have to look far!

Program will air Saturday June 20th, 10:00 AM PDT

Kate Hosford, A Songbird Dreams of Singing: Poems about Sleeping Animals,
Keely Parrack,Good Morning, Sunshine.

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Watch the full episode

11:00 AM
  • Children & Families
  • Free
  • Teen
  • Youth

Book to Podcast: The Fina Mendoza Mysteries

Saturday, June 20

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Do you want to turn your favorite book into a podcast? This is your chance to learn how to do it! Even how to play a… dog! Legend has it whoever sees the Demon Cat of Capitol Hill is cursed; Fina Mendoza, the daughter of a congressman , just saw it, but can she save her family from “cat”astrophe? Join public radio veteran Kitty Felde and a host of talented actors to talk about turning the award-winning book “Welcome to Washington, Fina Mendoza” into the episodic podcast THE FINA MENDOZA MYSTERIES.

Event Airs: Saturday, June 20th, 11 am PDT

Kitty Felde, Welcome to Washington, Fina Mendoza

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7:00 PM
  • Free
  • Teen
  • Writing & Publishing
  • Youth

Ready, Set, Write: NaNoWriMo Middle Grade & Young Adult Challenge with the Bay Area Book Festival

Wednesday June 24th

7:00 PM - 8:15 PM

The Bay Area Book Festival is joining up with the hugely popular, community-building writing initiative National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short) for a special virtual “write-in” for middle-grade and high school writers, led by two popular YA guest authors, Mitali Perkins and Maggie Tokuda-Hall, who will provide writing tips and interactive prompts for participants. In this time of social isolation, NaNoWriMo has reported great demand for this communal, interactive “writing lab” that takes the self-consciousness and “inner editor” out of writing, sparks a spirit of playfulness and adventure, and includes options for participants to chat and build a sense of community.

Event Airs: Wednesday June 24th, 7:00 PM PDT

7:00 PM
  • Current Affairs
  • Free

No Place to Shelter: What COVID-19 Reveals About Inequality: A Conversation with Leading Journalists and Activists

Thursday, June 25th

7:00 PM - 8:15 PM

Homelessness, income inequality, mass incarceration, wage stagnation, housing shortages: COVID-19 didn’t create any of these things, but it did drag them blatantly and unmistakably into the light. With millions of Americans unemployed, uninsured, unable to pay rent, and at disproportionate risk of contracting COVID-19, it’s become impossible to avoid the fact that our social safety net has long been full of holes. Can this crisis be an opportunity to remake some of the structural inequities that have divided and stratified us for so long?

Experts on the front lines of these issues will delve deep into the context, history, and reality of some of our most entrenched ills, in “normal” times and extraordinary ones, and will discuss what we need to do to create a fairer future. Zach Norris, Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, makes a strong case for the importance of collective accountability with We Keep Us Safe: Building Secure, Just, and Inclusive Communities, which Just Mercy‘s Bryan Stevenson called “an enormous contribution in the effort to advance human rights in this country.” He’s joined by New York Times reporter and housing expert Conor Doughtery, author of Golden Gates, praised by The Washington Post as “a compelling and accessible overview of California’s housing crisis.”  Because no examination of inequality is complete without addressing one of California’s most deep-rooted issues—homelessness—we also welcome Joe Wilson, Executive Director of San Francisco’s Hospitality House, whose work on the front lines to protect unhoused people from the threat of COVID-19 has been shaped indelibly by his own past experiences living on the street. Discussion moderated by journalist Heather Knight, who regularly covers these issues for The San Francisco Chronicle.

 Event Airs: Thursday, June 25th 7 PM PDT

Conor Dougherty, Golden Gates
Zach Norris, We Keep Us Safe: Building Secure, Just, and Inclusive Communities
 

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners

10:00 AM
  • Children & Families
  • Free

Love By Sophia

Saturday June 27th

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM

A precocious girl and her best friend, a giraffe, learn how to look at life, love, and art in this latest installment of the series that Kirkus Reviews calls “fun, clever, and empowering.” Sophia loves her family and her wonderful pet giraffe, Noodle, so when she gets an assignment to draw something she loves, she wants to make it extra special. Taking her teacher’s advice, Sophia uses a little perspective and creates a work she calls Love. Before she can place her masterpiece on the refrigerator, her whole family has to approve of the painting. But this is the Whitney, the Guggenheim, the Louvre of refrigerators. Can Sophia persuade them to take a chance on a new perspective, so they can see love from her point of view? Join award-winning author Jim Averbeck and award-winning animator and illustrator Yasmeen Ismail, who joins us from the UK, in their quest for love and art.

Event Airs: Saturday, June 27th, 10 am PDT

Jim Averbeck, Yasmeen Ismail, Love by Sophia

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11:00 AM
  • Current Affairs
  • History
  • Teen
  • Youth

The Kids Are Alright: History Lights the Way Forward

Saturday June 27

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

They say history is written by the winners. But when important stories and facts are suppressed, disguised, or forgotten, the worst patterns of history are doomed to repeat themselves–and no one wins. Kate Schatz and illustrator Miriam Stahl’s Rad American History A-Z: Movements & Moments that Demonstrate the Power of the People, uncovers the hiding-in-plain-sight histories they don’t teach you in school. In this conversation, which touches on Black Lives Matter, the Women’s March, the Stonewall riots, and Trump’s recent trouncing at the hands of teen Tiktok users, moderator Sammy Destin–member of Gender Sexuality Alliance, burgeoning activist, and eighth-grade wunderkind–steals the show, and shows us exactly how bright the future can be when we truly understand our history.

Event Aired: Saturday June 27, 11:00 AM PDT

Kate Schatz, Miriam Klein Stahl, Rad American History A-Z: Movements & Moments That Demonstrate the Power of the People


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7:00 PM
  • Free
  • Writing & Publishing

Ready, Set, Publish with Courtney Maum

Tuesday, June 30th

7:00 PM - 8:15 PM

Catch it here first! Come see hosts Brooke Warner of She Writes and Grant Faulkner of NaNoWriMo interview Courtney Maum about her indispensable new book, Before and After the Book Deal, for the popular Write-minded podcast. This conversation delves into everything aspiring authors want and need to know but might be afraid to ask, and doesn’t shy away from scary and taboo topics like rejection, money, and how much you really need to be on social media if you want to be successful. Forget the conventional wisdom you may have heard: this session is a myth-buster, setting the record straight about the world of book publishing. It’s sure to empower any writer to tackle the important journey to publication, and to sort out the expectations of what you can, should, and shouldn’t do to maximize success along the way.

Event Airs: Tuesday, June 30th, 7 pm PDT

Courtney Maum, Before and After the Book Deal
Brooke Warner, Write On, Sisters!

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7:00 PM
  • Current Affairs
  • Food
  • Free

Food for Thought: Will Restaurants Survive?

Thursday, July 2nd

7:00 PM - 8:15 PM


Our neighborhood eateries and watering holes are more than places to gather and break bread. For patrons, they’re cornerstones of community life. And for staff, they’re a second home and a labor of love. But the public health risk from COVID-19 is radically reshaping the dining-out landscape in America, with thousands of restaurants forced to close permanently. And those that stay open face a devastating new normal in an industry that’s always been notoriously tough. In a new world of takeout-only and meal delivery, employees who were already living paycheck-to-paycheck are risking their health in order to serve customers. Immigrant and undocumented industry workers–a significant portion of the restaurant workforce–face an especially precarious reality. How do we support the people who keep us fed?

Saru Jayaraman is president of One Fair Wage, an organization fighting for higher wages for tipped workers, many of them women of color. She’s joined by Caleb Zigas of La Cocina, an organization dedicated to creating equity in business ownership for women, immigrants, and people of color in the restaurant industry, and Soleil Ho, Restaurant Critic at the San Francisco Chronicle and former co-host of the Racist Sandwich podcast. Moderated by Davia Nelson, half (with her sister Nikki Silva) of the Peabody Award-winning public radio producer duo The Kitchen Sisters, whose series include NPR’s “Hidden Kitchens.”

Event Airs: Thursday, July 2nd, 7 pm PDT

Saru Jayaraman, Bite Back
Caleb Zigas, We Are La Cocina: Recipes in Pursuit of the American Dream

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12:00 PM
  • Environment/Nature
  • Food
  • Health, Psychology & Spirituality

LIVE! Merlin Sheldrake and Michael Pollan on Entangled Life: What the Secret Social Networks of Fungi Reveal About Nature’s Genius and Being Human

Tuesday, July 7th

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Introduction by award-winning filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg, the creator and director of the blockbuster documentary Fantastic Fungi. Plus, a brief montage of mind-blowing fungi images to open the event!

In 2016, a New Yorker profile by famed naturalist Robert Macfarlane introduced the world to one of the most important young thinkers of our age: Merlin Sheldrake. Moving from the labs of Cambridge to the jungles of Central America, this revolutionary plant scientist had a hunch that fungi possess superpowers far beyond the mushrooms we know, however mind-blowing their culinary or psychedelic varieties might be. He discovered that fungi are an ancient underground communication network that undergirds the natural world and offers inspiration for rethinking human society. Merlin’s riveting first book, Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures, has become an instant classic of nature and philosophy — a work of rigorous science and poetic expression, drawing us into the mystery and meaning of this most magical life form.

In our live conversation, Merlin and bestselling nature and culture writer Michael Pollan (How to Change Your Mind, The Omnivore’s Dilemma) will delve into “The Wood Wide Web”: an enchanting “superorganism” whose secrets just might save the world. This event is for everyone who believes that wonder still exists and hope can be found in the unlikeliest places: around us, under us, even inside us. You’ll come away with a sense of awe for “life’s labyrinths,” in Merlin’s words, where “some of the vexed hierarchies that underpin modern thought start to soften.”

Event requires book purchase or ticket ($20).
Free perks and special offers for ticket purchasers only,
such as a Back to the Roots Organic Mushroom Grow Kit! Info on ticketing page.

Tickets

NOTE TO THOSE WHO WANT TO WATCH BUT CAN’T MAKE THE LIVE PROGRAM AT NOON: No worries! You can still see this amazing conversation and get the perks below. We’ll make an exclusive link available that same night to ticket-buyers who select that option instead of seeing the live event. Just buy the ticket of your choice, and, in the checkout window, click the box that states you would prefer to watch the event later. You’ll get the usual confirmation materials and perks, but instead of the noontime webinar link you’ll receive an email by 7pm that evening with a private link. Email ticketing@baybookfest.org  with any questions.

Merlin Sheldrake, Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures

Michael Pollan, How to Change Your Mind

Event Partners

10:00 AM
  • Children & Families

Yes, I Can Listen

Saturday, July 11

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

In a world that’s rarely quiet, listening is an underrated skill–and, for little ones living lives full of distractions, it can be the toughest skill to master.  With Yes, I can Listen!, author Steve Metzger and illustrator Susan Szecsi make the art of listening fun and easy, with playful rhymes and warm illustrations that’ll help kids excel at school, follow safety rules, and show others that they care. Tune in with your kids, and learn how to turn listening into a game they’ll want to play again and again!

Event Airs: Saturday July 11, 10:00 AM PDT

Steve Metzger & Susan Szecs, Yes, I can Listen!

11:00 AM
  • History
  • International
  • Teen
  • Youth

Heroism in the Face of Tragedy

Saturday July 11

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

One war, three continents, and a quartet of necessary voices in conversation. Seventh-graders Quinn Boyd-Roberts and Tej Wong interview bestselling authors Lois Lowry and Jan Terlouw in a fascinating look at war, heroism, and humanity that transcends geography, nationality, and time. With On the Horizon, two-time Newbery Award medalist Lowry draws from her own childhood memories of Hawaii and Japan in an honest and empathetic account of lives lost and forever altered by the twin tragedies of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. Jan Terlouw’s Winter in Wartime has been in print for almost fifty years, for good reason: this beloved novel, based on Terlouw’s own boyhood in wartime Holland, is a young-adult classic with the suspenseful pacing of a thriller. Heroism, not war, takes center stage in this conversation: the everyday heroism of young people in extraordinary times, drawn from a well of universal humanity.

Event Airs: Saturday July 11, 11:00 AM PDT

On the Horizon by Lois Lowry, illustrated by Kenard Pak
Winter in Wartime by Jan Terlouw and translated by Laura Watkinson

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7:00 PM
  • Environment/Nature
  • Free

What Comes Naturally: The Science and Soul of Nature Writing

Tuesday, July 14th

7:00 PM - 8:15 PM

The natural world is full of mysteries, ones that writers and artists are uniquely equipped to unlock.  In this panel sponsored by Heyday Books, four authors meet at a literary crossroads between hard science, lyrical prose, and visual sumptuousness. Naturalist, writer and illustrator Obi Kaufmann turns his scientific acumen and artist’s palette on California’s most contested natural resource, water; while Josie Iselin wades into the deep end with an in-depth look at the magic of seaweed. John Muir Laws and Emilie Lygren take us into the revelatory practice of nature journaling.

Together, they’ll get into the weeds with a conversation that raises, and answers, the thorniest questions. How do these multifaceted artists learn the ecological nitty gritty of their subjects? How does science inspire not only the research that makes these books so fascinating, but also the artwork that makes them beautiful to behold? How does nature writing, as a literary genre, inform and deepen the impact of scientific research?

 Event Airs: Tuesday, July 14th, 7 pm PDT

7:00 PM
  • Literary
  • Women/Gender

Braving Deep Waters: Female Fearlessness and Friendship with Sue Monk Kidd and Lisa See

Thursday, July 16th

7:00 PM - 8:15 PM

Dive into an exploration of female power and brilliance like you’ve never seen before with bestselling authors Sue Monk Kidd (The Secret Life of Bees, The Invention of Wings) and Lisa See (The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane) moderated by Aimee Phan (The Reeducation of Cherry Truong). Lisa’s latest novel, the multi-generational saga The Island of Sea Women, unforgettably brings us into the lives and adventures of Mi-ja and Young-sook, two best friends on the Korean island of Jeju, who join their village’s all-female diving collective at a tender age. Sue’s newest novel, The Book of Longings, praised by the New York Journal of Books as “a practically perfect historical novel…from a writer at the top of her game,” puts us in the skin of Ana, a gifted Galilee rebel whose chance encounter with Jesus Christ changes her life forever. Meet these phenomenal authors at the fascinating intersection between tradition and bold self-realization, where the roles of friend, daughter, iconoclast, and artist converge.

Event Airs: Thursday, July 16th, 7 pm PDT

Sue Monk Kidd, The Book of Longings
Lisa See, The Island of Sea Women
Aimee Phan, The Reeducation of Cherry Truong

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners