• 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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.

Sponsored by UC Berkeley Arts + Design


Watch the full episode


Freight & Salvage

10:00 AM
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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.”

Sponsored by the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria


Watch the full episode


The Marsh - Cabaret

10:00 AM
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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.
Sponsored by UC Berkeley Arts + Design


Watch the full episode


Freight & Salvage

11:45 AM
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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.

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


Watch the full episode


Veteran's Memorial Building - Auditorium

12:15 PM
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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.

Sponsored by UC Berkeley Arts + Design


Watch the full episode


Freight & Salvage

1:30 PM
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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.”

With support from the Stephen M. Silberstein Foundation


Watch the full episode


San Francisco Chronicle Stage in the Park

3:00 PM
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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.

Sponsored by the Journal of Alta California


Watch the full episode


Freight & Salvage

3:15 PM
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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!

With support from the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria


Watch the full episode


San Francisco Chronicle Stage in the Park

4:45 PM
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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.


Watch the full episode


Freight & Salvage

5:00 PM
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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.


Watch the full episode


Freight & Salvage

10:00 AM
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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.”

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


Watch the full episode


Freight & Salvage

10:30 AM
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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.

Sponsored by Mother Jones


Watch the full episode


San Francisco Chronicle Stage in the Park

11:15 AM
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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?

Sponsored by UC Berkeley Arts + Design


Watch the full episode


San Francisco Chronicle Stage in the Park

2:45 PM
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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.

Sponsored by Strong Legacy Planning


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San Francisco Chronicle Stage in the Park

4:30 PM
  • 2018
  • 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
  • 2018
  • 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!


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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


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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.)

Sponsored By

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
  • YA (Young Adult)

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
  • YA (Young Adult)

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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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).


Watch the full episode


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

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners


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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


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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.

Sponsored By

bayer.us

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
  • Teen
  • Women/Gender
  • YA (Young Adult)

Our Stories, Our Voices

Wednesday May 13

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

“As a woman I have no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world.” In 1929 England, Virginia Woolf, in “A Room of One’s Own,” expressed a sentiment of subversion, independence, and integrity that is all too pertinent for female writers in contemporary America. Our Stories, Our Voices, a “truthful and empowering” (Booklist) anthology of exciting YA voices, carries Woolf’s torch for a new and diverse generation across the pond, showcasing essays on experiences of injustice, empowerment, and growing up female in America. In this bracing and necessary conversation, Renee Diop, a budding young novelist from Cinnamongirl, Inc, will discuss coming-of-age, rising above bias and obstacles, and fearless creativity with anthology contributors Anna-Marie McLemore, a Latinx virtuoso of magical realism whose books have been lauded in “best of” lists from Kirkus and Booklist and chosen as New York Times Editors’ Choice selections; and #1 New York Times bestselling YA author Ellen Hopkins. Come for a cross-generational conversation filled with solidarity, hope, and inspiration for all young women called to express their best, brightest, and boldest selves.

Ellen Hopkins, Anna-Marie McLemore e.o. – Our Stories, Our Voices: 21 YA Authors Get Real About Injustice, Empowerment, and Growing Up Female in America

Ellen Hopkins – People Kill People
Anna-Marie McLemore – Dark and Deepest Red

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


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10:00 AM
  • Children & Families
  • Picture Book

A Book for Escargot

Saturday May 16

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM

Escargot is the most cultured snail you’ll ever meet: never without his beret and striped shirt, he’s French to the core, and he has a passion for books. Join New York Times bestselling author Dashka Slater and illustrator Sydney Hanson as they guide Escargot through his latest adventure: finding the perfect book to check out from the library. Say bonjour to a charmingly whimsical story and warm, inviting illustrations, and practice your best French accent along with a popular hero who’s “the cuddliest snail ever” (School Library Journal).

Sydney Hanson, Dashka Slater – A Book for Escargot
Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners


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11:00 AM
  • Children & Families
  • Middle Grade
  • Race/Identity

The You You’re Meant to Be

Saturday May 16

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Ten-year-old Naomi Wilson from Cinnamongirl, Inc. and creative engineer/inventor in the making, will interview two leading Middle Grade authors whose books explore the importance of finding what brings you community and purpose, no matter how alone you may feel. Aimee Lucido’s Emmy in the Key of Code is about a middle-school girl, a misfit in her musical family, who finds her passion in learning to code. According to Publishers Weekly, this debut “champions girls in STEM and delivers a positive message about being ‘always exactly yourself.’” Yamile Saied Méndez’ On These Magic Shores is the tale of Minerva, a Latinx teen who is terrified that her mom, after not returning home from work one night, may have been wrongly taken by ICE. Minerva finds a special, mysterious, and magical helper to get to the bottom of her mother’s worrying disappearance. This session promises to be a stirring, moving discussion about finding one’s place in the world.

Aimee Lucido – Emmy in the Key of Code
Yamile Saied Méndez – On These Magic Shores

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners


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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.

Sponsored By

Garth Greenwell, Cleanness
Lidia Yuknavitch, Verge

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners


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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).


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7:00 PM
  • Race/Identity
  • Teen
  • YA (Young Adult)

Beyond Our World: Shifting Identities and Steady Hearts

Wednesday May 20

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Bridging divides and unveiling secrets are the name of the game in two fascinating fantasy novels by YA virtuosos. In Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s fantasy debut, The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea, Florian and Evelyn cross lines of class and identity to fall in love, crossing paths with haunting mythical creatures and double agents along the way to their shared fate. And Rebecca Hanover’s The Pretenders, her thrilling conclusion to The Similars duology, follows troubled, secret-ravaged Emma in her struggle to stop a dangerous vengeful plan, figure out her true identity, and decide between two boys with eerily identical faces. A bracing and magical discussion moderated by brilliant young bookworm Jennifer Leon, junior at Berkeley Highschool and a member of Cinnamongirl, Inc.

Rebecca Hanover – The Pretenders
Maggie Tokuda-Hall – The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea

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10:00 AM
  • Children & Families
  • Picture Book

Everyone’s Awake

Saturday May 23

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM

Bestselling children’s author Colin Meloy, who’s also the lead singer of the rock group The Decemberists, brings us a wildly fun read-aloud book for families, one that makes getting ready for bed feel like a hilarious adventure. He’s joined by illustrator Shawn Harris, whose clever and infectious drawings contain easter eggs and references that kids will take great glee in finding. Join us for the most musically fun going-to-bed routine ever.

Sponsored By

Shawn Harris, Colin Meloy – Everyone’s Awake

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11:00 AM
  • Children & Families
  • Middle Grade
  • Teen
  • YA (Young Adult)

Lemonade and Stuck-at-Home Startups for Kids

Saturday May 23

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Join Brian Weisfeld, author of The Startup Squad book series, as he makes a pitcher of lemonade, while inspiring kids with stories of kidpreneurs who started their own businesses and empowers kids with ideas for startups they can launch while stuck at home. Tune in with six lemons, one cup of sugar, and access to cold water and make lemonade along with him.

Brian Weisfeld – The Startup Squad: Face the Music

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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.

Sponsored By

bayer.us

Pamela Paul and Maria Russo, How to Raise a Reader

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7:00 PM
  • Race/Identity
  • Teen
  • Women/Gender
  • YA (Young Adult)

This Thing Called Love, Part 1

Wednesday May 27

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Laila Butcher, junior at San Leandro High School and member of Cinnamongirl Inc., will have an electrifying conversation with author Rahul Kanakia about self-acceptance, finding love in unconventional places, and deriving confidence from the traits that make you stand out from the crowd. In Rahul Kanakia’s We Are Totally Normal, Nandan, a junior in high school, becomes more than just friends with his longtime bestie, Dave: a journey that leads him to come to terms with his own sexuality and desires. A big-hearted, warmly inclusive session about love, honesty, and courage.

Rahul Kanakia – We Are Totally Normal

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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


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10:00 AM
  • Children & Families
  • Environment/Nature
  • Picture Book

In a Garden

Saturday May 30

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Nature is a miracle if there ever was one! Plants bugs, birds, mice, snakes, and many other organisms come and go in a garden. Throughout the sesaons of the year, plants grow, flourish, die, and start the process over and over again. Join author Tim McCanna and illustrator Aimée Sicuro as they take us on a tour to discover how plants and bugs help each other grow and give life.

Tim McCanna, Aimée Sicuro – In a Garden
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11:00 AM
  • Children & Families
  • Middle Grade
  • Teen

Book Club for Kids podcast with Anne Nesbet and Kitty Felde

Saturday May 30

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

In this virtual episode of the popular Book Club for Kids podcast, host Kitty Felde joins book-loving kids from Albany Middle School in a lively conversation with author Anne Nesbet, whose latest, Daring Darleen, Queen of the Screen, is an edge-of-your-seat adventure that plunges readers into the silent film era. It’s a do-not-miss discussion that cuts out the middleman between this leading middle-grade author and her passionate, opinionated, and inquisitive readers.

Anne Nesbet – Daring Darleen, Queen of the Screen

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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
  • Middle Grade
  • Teen
  • Women/Gender
  • YA (Young Adult)

Girls, Guts and Gadgets

Wednesday June 3

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

This empowering, exhilarating session is for every young woman who wants to live a life of epic adventure and build the world she wants to see. With Girls Garage, Emily Pilloton, founder and director of the groundbreaking and beloved Berkeley organization of the same name, makes everything from carpentry and welding to fixing things around your house accessible, exciting, and fun for girls 14 and up who want to take power—and power tools—into their own hands. The Girls Garage book invites all girls to speak up, stand out, and join a movement of fearless builder girls everywhere. She’s joined by Caroline Paul, one of the first female firefighters in San Francisco, whose ode to fearless adventure and bravery, The Gutsy Girl, was praised by bestselling memoirist Cheryl Strayed (Wild) as “the book of the year for daredevils, doers, and dreamers of all ages.” Once a young scaredy-cat, Caroline overcame her fears and embraced her passions, and The Gutsy Girl shows a new generation how they can do the same. At a time when feelings of fear and powerlessness may be creeping in, every young woman will be inspired by this conversation celebrating confidence, self-reliance, hope, and audacity.

Sponsored By

Caroline Paul – The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure
Emily Pilloton – Girls Garage: How to Use Any Tool, Tackle Any Project, and Build the World You Want to See

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners


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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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10:00 AM
  • Children & Families
  • Picture Book

Two Dogs & A Kitty

Saturday June 6

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Blended families… They’re not always easy, for humans or for pets. Cat and Dog live with their human in a suburban house with a big backyard. Sure, they fight like…. well, cats and dogs, but they’re used to one another. Dog– a different dog– lives a happy only-child life in the city with his dad. He has the bed to himself, he never has to share his toys, and that’s the way he likes it. So what happens when the Dog’s dad and Cat and Dog’s mom move in together? With their laugh-out-loud picture book, Nelly Buchet and illustrator Andrea Zuill take us on quest to find out what it means to settle into a blended family.

Nelly Buchet and Andrea Zuill – Cat Dog Dog: The Story of a Blended Family

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11:00 AM
  • Children & Families
  • History
  • Middle Grade

The First Dinosaur

Saturday June 6

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Dinosaurs existed. That’s a fact that we accept today. But not so long ago, the concept that these giant creatures could have roamed Earth millions of years before humans even existed was unfathomable. People believed that what we now know are dinosaur bones were the bones of giant humans. Or large elephants. Or angels, even. Come join us for a skull-and-bone filled episode with Ian Lendler, author of The First Dinosaur: How Science Solved the Greatest Mystery on Earth, and amazing eleven-year-old Aria Sindledecker. Together, they will unearth Earth’s greatest mystery.

Ian Lendler – The First Dinosaur: How Science Solved the Greatest Mystery on Earth
Aria Sindledecker – Safire & Igneous (Age of Aliens)

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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.

Sponsored By

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

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners


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7:00 PM
  • Teen
  • YA (Young Adult)

This Thing Called Love, Part 2

Wednesday June 10

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Love of all kinds–self-love, romantic love, love of family and heritage–takes center stage in this conversation between two renowned YA authors, moderated by Jasmine Edwards, senior of Bentley School in Lafayette and a member of Cinnamongirl, Inc. Misa Sugiura’s This Time Will be Different introduces us to CJ, who discovers a hidden talent for floral arrangement in her family’s flower shop–only to make another discovery that leads her to fight, for the first time in her life, for what’s important to her. In Abigail Hing Wen’s Loveboat, Taipei, Ever Wong has a summer in Taiwan she’ll never forget, on an anything-goes Loveboat where adult supervision is nil and every student–including Ever herself–has a secret. This coming-of-age conversation grapples powerfully with the truths and milestones of growing up and growing into yourself.

Misa Sugiura – This Time Will be Different
Abigail Hing Wen – Love, Taipei

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7:00 PM
  • Literary

A Cursed Blessing: The Hidden Gifts in Times of Trial: A Conversation with David Talbot and Sir Michael Moritz

Thursday June 11

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Bestselling journalist and author David Talbot (Season of the Witch), founder and former editor-in-chief of Salon, is known for his out-of-the-box, headline-making insights on everything from current events to popular culture to hidden history, so it’s not surprising that he wrote an illness memoir with a twist. His lauded Between Heaven and Hell: The Story of My Stroke intimately chronicles the life-changing year following his massive stroke — a year he writes that “saved” him, and not just in a medical sense. In a moving account praised by Dave Eggers as “a deeply affecting examination of mortality, ambition and the priorities of a man who dodged death to live better days,” Talbot details a process of deeply personal and social transformation.

From the remarkable care he received on the stroke ward of Davies Hospital to daily life in recovery, this Type-A journalist was forced to slow down radically, depend on the kindness of others, and learn the day-to-day value of what truly matters. Toward that end, he is launching a new venture, a podcasting network powered by Bay Area talent and based on progressive “San Francisco values.” David will share his experience and new plans in conversation with Sir Michael Moritz, a journalist, author, and venture capitalist who helped launch some of the world’s most significant tech companies of the past 30 years. If you’ve ever wondered what good can come of hardship, or how resilience and humility can work together to move mountains, you won’t want to miss this fascinating, life-affirming conversation.

David Talbot, Between Heaven and Hell: The Story of My Stroke
Sir Michael Mortiz, Return to the Little Kingdom: How Apple and Steve Jobs Changed the World


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10:00 AM
  • Children & Families
  • International
  • Picture Book

Here Comes Ocean

Saturday June 13

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM

Stir-craziness doesn’t stand a chance against a day at the beach–no sunscreen needed! Let award-winning children’s book author Meg Fleming and illustrator Paola Zakimi whisk you away on an adventure of shell-collecting, shoreline-exploring, and sand-castle-building, in English and Spanish. The exuberant rhymes and sun-drenched, animal-filled illustrations of this picture-book are exactly what you need to bring a sense of discovery, rejuvenation, and playfulness into the sameness of the day-to-day, with the bonus of picking up some fun beach-speak in a different language! Come play, laugh, and learn with this lovely session that’s as invigorating as a sea breeze.

Meg Fleming & Paola Zakimi – Here Comes Ocean

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11:00 AM
  • Middle Grade
  • Teen

What Winning Really Means

Saturday June 13

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Get fired up for this inspiring and rabble-rousing conversation, perfect for kids who love rooting for the underdog and discovering the power of teamwork, inner strength, and what’s really important in life. San Francisco Chronicle sports columnist Scott Ostler is the author of Bouncing Back (“a sports story that’s as heartwarming as it is action-packed” – Kirkus), which introduces us to Carlos, the star player in his old basketball league, who, after a shocking incident changes his life, discovers a new definition of “winning” as a member of a wheelchair basketball team. Author Mae Respicio‘s Any Day with You explores the real meaning of “winning” as well, taking us on aspiring California filmmaker Kaia’s quest to win a filmmaking contest as a way of convincing her great-grandfather not to move back to the Philippines. Said Booklist, “this book will leave readers with smiles on their faces and tears in their eyes.” This conversation, moderated by local book-lover and middle-grade student Quinn Boyd-Roberts, will get you inspired, moved, and ready to take on the world.

Scott Ostler – Bouncing Back
Mae Respicio – Any Day With You

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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!

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7:00 PM
  • Current Affairs
  • Voting Rights
  • YA (Young Adult)

The Future is Ours: Restoring Democracy with Young Adult Voting Rights

Wednesday June 17

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

This empowering, informative program, moderated by Khepera Lyons-Clark, senior of Bentley School and a member of Cinnamongirl, Inc, is the young-adult complement to BABF’s robust Voting Rights Program, a centerpiece of our 2020 virtual programming in response to this year’s hugely consequential election and the challenges posed to voting rights due to COVID-19. Aimed at teens who will be first-time voters in 2020, this panel features bestselling National Book Critics Circle Award winner Carol Anderson with the YA edition of her seminal book One Person, No Vote; award-winning author Liz Rusch with You Call This Democracy?, and author and journalist Jeff Fleischer with Votes of Confidence: A Young Person’s Guide to American 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).

Carol Anderson – One Person, No Vote (YA Edition): How Not All Voters Are Treated Equally
Elizabeth Rusch – You Call This Democracy?
Jeff Fleischer – Votes of Confidence: A Young Person’s Guide to American Elections

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.

Sponsored By

bayer.us

Louise Aronson, Elderhood

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners


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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!

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

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners


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11:00 AM
  • Children & Families
  • Free
  • Middle Grade
  • Teen

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.

Kitty Felde, Welcome to Washington, Fina Mendoza

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7:00 PM
  • Free
  • Teen
  • Writing & Publishing
  • YA (Young Adult)

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.

Maggie Tokuda-Hall, The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea
Mitali Perkins, Between Us and Abuela

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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.

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

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10:00 AM
  • Children & Families
  • Free
  • Picture Book

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.

Jim Averbeck, Yasmeen Ismail, Love by Sophia

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11:00 AM
  • Current Affairs
  • History
  • Teen
  • YA (Young Adult)

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.

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.”

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

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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!

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

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


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11:00 AM
  • History
  • International
  • Teen
  • YA (Young Adult)

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.

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


Watch the full episode here


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?

Obi Kaufmann, The California Field Atlas and The State of Water
John Muir Laws, How To Teach Nature Journaling
Emilie Lygren, How To Teach Nature Journaling
Josie Iselin, The Curious World of Seaweed

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


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7:00 PM
  • Literary
  • Middle Grade
  • Writing & Publishing
  • YA (Young Adult)

2020 Bay Area Book Festival Writing Contest Showcase

Wednesday, July 15

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

The Bay Area Book Festival’s Writing Contest aims to encourage people to engage with the craft of writing. This year’s prompt was centered around the theme of expectations, and submissions were judged in three categories: Adult (18+), High School, and Middle School. There was a first, second, and third place winner in each category, and we’re excited to showcase many of them here. To read their full pieces, visit this page: https://www.baybookfest.org/2020-writing-contest/.

To read their full pieces, visit this page: https://www.baybookfest.org/2020-writing-contest/.


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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.

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

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

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

Wednesday August 5

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

When this compelling all-star event aired live as a ticketed fundraiser in May 2020, the response was powerfully moving. “Incredible,” “fascinating,” and “you’re helping me to feel less isolated” were just a few of the comments from attendees. We’re thrilled to make this nourishing event available to everyone, at a time when its lessons and takeaways are more relevant than ever. Best-selling novelist R.O. Kwon’s New York Times essay about grief in times of uncertainty—an all-too-pertinent theme in our current moment—was the inspiration for this conversation. In a raw, emotionally profound exchange not without its moments of levity and transcendence, she was joined by Pulitzer Prize winners 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. These literary luminaries share an uncanny gift for describing the indescribable, and that’s exactly what they do in a conversation that has made many of us feel seen and understood in all our complexity. Moderated by award-winning author Danielle Evans, whose beautiful Sewanee Review essay about sheltering-in-place, “How to Be Alone,” was recently adapted and updated for an episode of NPR’s “This American Life.”

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

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7:00 PM
  • Free
  • Native American
  • Teen
  • Writing & Publishing

Native Voices – featuring the Essayists of the 2020 Graton Writing Project

Friday, August 14th

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

The Graton Writing Project is a series of writing workshops open to middle- and high-school Native students from Sonoma, California, that culminates in a published youth anthology. This year, students were asked to write on the theme of environmental issues. Come hear the students read excerpts from their pieces and share their insights. Presented by the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria.

7:00 PM
  • Environment/Nature
  • Food
  • Health, Psychology & Spirituality

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

Wednesday August 26

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

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 this conversation, which originally aired as a sold-out ticketed event and is now being made available to the public, Merlin and bestselling nature and culture writer Michael Pollan (How to Change Your Mind, The Omnivore’s Dilemma) delve into “The Wood Wide Web”: an enchanting “superorganism” whose secrets just might save the world. Their conversation had attendees on the edge of their seats, giving everyone a peek behind the curtain of a hidden world’s magic. “[Pollan and Sheldrake had] fantastic chemistry…It was a joy to witness” and “I am now obsessed with mushrooms,” were just a couple post-event reactions. We invite you to get obsessed, too. 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.

Thank you to our program sponsors: Fantastic Fungi, Back to the Roots, MAPS, Mycological Society of San Francisco, Chacruna, Tam Integration, MUD/WTR, and 11th Hour Project.


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Merlin Sheldrake, Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures
Michael Pollan, How to Change Your Mind

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners

Program Sponsors


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

Women Lit #UNBOUND: Alexandra Roxo, Carol Queen: Rewrite Your Story: Embracing the Divine Feminine

Wednesday, September 16

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

This video includes passages that are sexually explicit and may not be appropriate for all viewers.

Why is it so hard for so many of us to feel comfortable in our own skin and claim our own power? “Because,” writes transformational healer Alexandra Roxo in her magnetic debut, F*ck Like a Goddess, “each of us has been conditioned, programmed, and literally brainwashed into thinking we are not enough.” According to Alexandra, the solution to disempowerment, insecurity and sexual dissatisfaction is to rewrite the story we’ve been told about our own worth and value. And that’s exactly what F*ck Like a Goddess shows us how to do. This electrifying, earthy, fearlessly honest guide to personal liberation has been praised by bestselling inspirational author Emma Mildon as “the ultimate read for those ready to step into their whole damn self.” Alexandra’s in-person retreats for women are legendary for their transformational magic, and F*ck Like a Goddess showcases their greatest lessons, insights, and methods. As Harper’s Bazaar raved, “Simply being around Roxo’s exhilarating, vivacious presence is a revitalizing retreat in and of itself.” Joining Alexandra is staff sexologist at Good Vibrations and award winning author, activist, and sex educator, Dr. Carol Queen. Awaken to the power to rewrite your story, in conversation with two visionaries whose warmth and charisma is truly infectious.

Alexandra Roxo, F*ck Like a Goddess

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7:00 PM

Politics, Race, and the State of Play in our Nation

Saturday, October 3

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

It’s 2020, the year of all hell breaking loose—so why not let it break loose in friendly (and hilarious) company? Good friends and headline-makers W. Kamau Bell, an Emmy-winner for CNN’s United Shades of America (Robin Williams called him “ferociously funny”), and Steve Kerr, outspoken head coach of the three-time NBA champs Golden State Warriors, are teaming up to raise the good kind of hell, talking all things race, power, dissent, the intersection of sports and activism, and comedy as coping mechanism and vehicle for truth. In a free-wheeling conversation refereed by yet a third friend of theirs, Dacher Keltner, founding director of UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, the comedian and the coach will hold nothing back, and you’ve got (virtual) courtside seats. Berkeley might have been famous in the 1960s for its free speech movement, but this 21st century version—as uncensored and envelope-pushing as 2020 demands—might just teach us new ways of speaking truth to power. Laugh, cheer, reflect, and get fired up (and maybe a little out of bounds) with this totally unique conversation, only in Berkeley #UNBOUND.

Featuring

Sociopolitical comedian W. Kamau Bell is the host and executive producer of the Emmy Award-winning CNN docuseries United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell. His Netflix special, Private School Negro, was praised by TIME for “finding the comic absurdity in darkness,” and he is the author of The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6’4”, African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama’s Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian. Full bio.

Currently in his sixth season as head coach of the Golden State Warriors, Steve Kerr has guided the club through four of the most prolific seasons in NBA history, with a list of accomplishments that includes three NBA championships and four of the five most victorious seasons in franchise history. He is also the first to win three NBA titles as a player and three as a coach. He’s also an outspoken activist for racial justice who the Guardian has called “an essential voice of reason in a world in which reason dies on cable news,” a vocal supporter of Black Lives Matter, a proponent of gun control, and a persistent thorn in the President’s side. Full bio.

A professor of psychology at UC Berkeley and faculty director of the Greater Good Science Center, Dacher Keltner has consulted for the Center for Constitutional Rights to help end solitary confinement, as well as for Google, Facebook, the Sierra Club, and Pixar’s blockbuster film Inside Out. He is the co-author of Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life, The Compassionate Instinct, and The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence. Full bio.

Ticket purchase required for entry.

We will send all ticket buyers a Zoom Webinar link and password the day before the event.

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Main Stream

11:00 AM

The Radical Necessity of Nonviolence

Sunday, October 4

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

“The choice today,” said Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1960, “is no longer between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence.” Six decades later, there has never been a more important time to understand what nonviolence really means, and what it’s not. Our nation is rocked by protests, with more uprisings on the horizon; and on a global stage, nuclear-armed countries flirt with mutually assured destruction. What is the path forward? Eminent theorist Judith Butler overturns common assumptions about nonviolence, offering a profound definition that can help us achieve a world where peace and equality arise from the recognition of “living interdependency.” In conversation with scholar Stephen Best (None Like Us: Blackness, Belonging, Aesthetic Life), Butler will illuminate a path of resistance by showing us how “the significance of nonviolence is not to be found in our most pacific moments, but precisely when revenge makes perfect sense.” Get ready to discover what it means to practice “rageful love, militant pacifism, aggressive nonviolence, [and] radical persistence.”

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Featuring

Heralded as one of the most pioneering and influential thinkers of our age, for the past thirty years celebrity theorist and political activist Judith Butler has overturned fundamental assumptions that undergird human relations. Professor Butler is best known for Gender Trouble (1990), which became a founding text of queer theory and has radically shaped today’s social norms. Butler’s thirteen other sole-authored books have continued to rethink gender, sexuality, feminism, identity, ethics, political speech, and violence with titles such as Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence and Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable? Butler’s latest, The Force of Nonviolence: The Ethical in the Political, unpacks a vision of social action led by nonviolence “as a shrewd and even aggressive collective political tactic” (New York Times). Butler is Maxine Elliot Professor in the Departments of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. Full bio.

Stephen Best, Professor of English at UC Berkeley, is the author of two books examining facets of black subjectivity, law and rhetoric, and the nexus between slavery and historiography, The Fugitive’s Properties: Law and the Poetics of Possession and None Like Us: Blackness, Belonging, Aesthetic Life. Best’s work has been supported by the Mellon Foundation, the Hellman Foundation, the Humanities Research Institute (University of California), and the Ford Foundation. Full bio.

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Main Stream

11:00 AM

Protest + Print: Girls Using Words and Pictures for Activism

Sunday, October 4

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Presented on our YA Stream

At Girls Garage in Berkeley, girls use power tools to build the world they want to see. But a different kind of world-building also takes place at Girls Garage: the kind that creates a vision for a better and more equitable future. Proving that words and pictures can be just as transformative as power tools, a class called Protest + Print empowers girls to translate their hopes, dreams, fears, and anger into activism around the issues they care about most. Led by instructor HyeYoon Song and Executive Director Emily Pilloton, Protest + Print is a cohort of high school girls channeling the legacy of printmaking to make art that’s visually arresting, powerfully participatory, and unapologetically activist. Also featuring teen Protest + Print participant and recent high school graduate Malaya Conui (Oakland School For The Arts, 2020), this conversation will center on how art and writing can amplify activist voices, particularly in a political moment charged with racial and gender inequity.

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Featuring

As a young designer, Emily Pilloton was frustrated by the design world’s scarcity of meaningful work: work that incorporated a human factor. Unable to find a model that spoke to her, she built her own. Fast forward to Berkeley, where Pilloton founded Girls Garage, a nonprofit design and building program and dedicated workspace for girls ages 9-18. Their motto? “Fear Less. Build More.” Pilloton has taught thousands of young girls in Berkeley how to use power tools, weld, and build projects for their communities. Her latest book, Girls Garage: How to Use Any Tool, Tackle Any Project, and Build the World You Want to See, was released in June 2020. Full bio.

Artist and arts educator HyeYoon Song is the lead instructor for Girls Garage’s PROTEST + PRINT program, a venue for girls to explore and express the complex personal and political issues that impact their daily lives. Born in South Korea and with experiences of migration to New Zealand and, eventually, Berkeley, Song explores landscape, identity and narrative in her work by exploring the vocabularies of print and the multiple in an unconventional and multi-disciplinary context and her practice extends into designing project-based curriculum integrating technical skills to equip youth to exercise their voices and power. Full bio.

Malaya Conui is a young visual artist and student from Oakland, California. Her work, both in art and community organizing, focuses on Asian American identity, representation, education, social justice, and community building. Conui’s primary mediums are painting, screen printing, and digital design. She has recently graduated from Oakland School for the Arts and is currently attending UCLA. Full bio.

This program is brought to you by Wareham Development

YA Stream

12:00 PM

Unleash Your Creative Superpowers with National Novel Writing Month

Sunday, October 4

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Presented on our YA Stream

This conversation comes with an artistic advisory: prepare to dive deep into your imagination and be surprised by what you might find. You’re about to enter the place where dreams (and stories) begin. National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo), founded in Berkeley in 1999, has grown into the largest writing event in the world, boasting 500,000 annual participants, including 100,000 kids and teens in its Young Writers Program. Everyone has a story to tell, and everyone’s story matters. NaNoWriMo is all about getting that story on the page. If something has been holding you back—whether it’s lack of time or knowledge, or the idea that writing novels is something only adults can do—then let teen author Meridith Lackey, middle grade author Shanthi Sekaran, and YA author R.C. Barnes help you get your creative juices flowing, banish your inner critic, and take the creative risks to write the novel of your dreams.

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Featuring

It’s a love letter to her adolescent years in Berkeley, R.C. Barnes’s first book in her YA Tattoo Teller series Ink for the Beloved, featuring a fearless teenage detective who possesses a unique psychic talent involving tattoos. R.C. (also known as Robin Claire) was a long-time executive at Walt Disney Studios and has published many short stories in sci-fi/mystery and dystopian anthologies. Barnes works as a writing coach and is a college essay reader at Berkeley High. Full bio.

Shanthi Sekaran is a novelist who lives in Berkeley. Her first middle grade novel, The Samosa Rebellion, will be out in the fall of 2021, and her last novel for adults is Lucky Boy. When Sekaran isn’t writing novels, she is part of the writing team for New Amsterdam, an NBC television series. She plays soccer and the ukulele and has two sons and a cat. Full bio.

This year will be high school sophomore Meridith Lackey’s first year of officially participating in NaNoWriMo, having never done so before due to school. She has completed three co-authored manuscripts in the past four years and is presently beginning work on what she hopes will be her first complete solo project. In addition to writing, Meridith also plays tuba, is an advocate for proper representation of asexuals in the media and, now that she is stuck at home, is finally getting those extra 2-3 hours of sleep she needed. Full bio.

Marya Brennan is NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Programs Director. She believes that writing fiction is a transformative experience, and she loves helping people (young and old) discover the magic of this process. She taught middle-school English for five years, has written several beautiful, messy novels (one still in progress), and traveled Europe as part of a two-person street circus. She loves revising words she’s already written and making herself laugh. She’s less fond of writing third-person bios. Full bio.

This program is brought to you by Wareham Development

YA Stream

12:00 PM

BOLD VISIONS: 12 – 12:30pm

Sunday, October 4

12:00 PM - 12:30 PM

Jesse Arreguín, Mayor of Berkeley – How the City is creating positive change through policy

Rafael Jesús González, Berkeley Poet Laureate – Speaking out for truth and compassion

Laurie Rich, Brower Center – How the Brower creates opportunities for the community

Donald Frazier, Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency – Better solutions for supporting the homeless

Reiko Redmonde, Revolution Books – Supporting revolutionary ideas for change

Grant Faulkner, NaNoWriMo – In one month, write your own novel

Main Stream

12:30 PM

Writing a New World Into Existence: Lessons from Literary Futurism

Sunday, October 4

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM

It’s been demonstrated that reading fiction increases empathy. Can it also unlock a blueprint for our future, at a moment when we need new ways of defining what’s possible? Four of Berkeley’s most visionary novelists, known for their ability to conjure exciting “future histories” with words, come together to discuss how literature and the imagination can light a bold path to progress.

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Featuring:

Aya de Leon teaches creative writing at UC Berkeley, where she directs the Poetry for the People program founded by the legendary June Jordan. She first came to national attention as a slam poetry champion, and went on to attract a following with her Justice Hustlers feminist heist novels, which have won first place International Latino Book Awards and Independent Publisher Awards. Her 2019 novel Side Chick Nation was the first novel to be published about Puerto Rico’s devastating Hurricane Maria. Her work, which she describes as “fiction of empathy,” hits a sweet (and subversive) spot where forward-thinking consciousness and breathtaking suspense collide. Full bio.

Annalee Newitz has a lot to say about the future. A science journalist and lecturer in American studies at UC Berkeley, Newitz is an award-winning author of speculative and science fiction, praised by actor and sci-fi tastemaker Wil Wheaton as “leading the vanguard” of a new revolution in the genre. The New York Times called A Future of Another Timeline, Newitz’s feminist time-travel novel, “breathtakingly brilliant.” Their newest book, Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age, animates the erased inhabitants of four ancient settlements from Europe to Asia to the American Midwest, in a past-to-future journey that, according to N.K. Jemison, “sees to the heart of complex systems and breaks them down with poetic ferocity.” Newitz also founded io9, a website that covers the sci-fi world. Full bio.

One of America’s most significant literary figures, Ishmael Reed has created an indelible legacy with more than thirty books of poetry, prose, essays, and plays marked by surrealism, satire, and razor-sharp political commentary. His work, raved about by cultural icons from Tupac Shakur to Thomas Pynchon, has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, among other honors, and he has received a MacArthur Foundation “genius” award. His before-its-time satire Mumbo Jumbo, reissued in 2017 as a Penguin Modern Classic, is hailed for its prescient vision of race in America. Reed’s creative futurism finds expression not only in his formidable body of work, but in his long history championing the full spectrum of American literary voices, including those traditionally marginalized, as evidenced by his founding of the Before Columbus Foundation. He taught at the University of California, Berkeley, for 35 years. Full bio.

Shanthi Sekaran is a celebrated writer and educator based in Berkeley. Her work, which takes a subversive, gripping approach to exploring motherhood, class, immigration, and privilege, has appeared in venues such as The New York Times, Huffington Post, and Los Angeles Review of Books. Most recently, she’s joined the writers’ room of the NBC drama New Amsterdam. Her latest novel, Lucky Boy, was named an NPR Best Book of 2017, and her debut middle grade book, The Samosa Rebellion, is forthcoming. Full bio.

This program is brought to you by Literary Hub

Main Stream

1:30 PM

BOLD VISIONS: 1:30 – 2:00pm

Sunday, October 4

1:30 PM - 2:00 PM

Rafael Jesús González, Berkeley Poet Laureate – On being a Poet Laureate

Dee Williams-Ridley, Berkeley City Manager – How the City is creating justice and equity

Emily Pilloton, Girls Garage – Empowering girls and raising their voices to create change

Boona Cheema, Past Chair, Berkeley Albany Mental Health Commission – On mental health solutions and homelessness

Steve Wasserman, Heyday – How books can support big ideas and create change

Sharon Dolan and Natalia Neira, Berkeley Cultural Trust – How arts organizations work together as one voice

Main Stream

2:00 PM

LIVE! Embracing the Other

Sunday, October 4

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Late Congressman John Lewis called the coming election “the most important ever.” The national schisms that led to the election of Donald Trump have become even deeper over the past four years. How can we address the anger and divisiveness, the “othering” that fuels persistent racism, political dysfunction, raging culture wars, and rises in violence? At this major inflection point in our society, can the nation be healed?

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Featuring

One of the most influential sociologists of our time, Arlie Russell Hochschild is author of nine books, including the National Book Award Finalist and New York Times bestseller Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right, which became a guide and balm for a country struggling to understand the election of Donald Trump. Full bio.

john a. powell is the Director of the Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley, holds the Robert D. Haas Chancellor’s Chair in Equity and Inclusion and is a Professor of Law, African American Studies, and Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley. john is the author of several books, including his most recent work, Racing to Justice: Transforming our Concepts of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society. Full bio.

This program is brought to you by North Berkeley Wealth Management and Literary Hub

   

Main Stream

3:00 PM

BOLD VISIONS: 3:00 – 3:30pm

Sunday, October 4

3:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Carol Christ, Chancellor, University of California, Berkeley – On higher education for all

Ka’Dijah Brown, Berkeley Unified School District – Equity and opportunity in public education

Tess Mayer, Berkeley Public Library – How the Public Library can play a central role

Alfred Twu and Greg Magofña, East Bay For Everyone – Get involved and create the change you seek

Doris Moskowitz, Moe’s Books – How local bookstores create community

Johanna Pfaelzer, Berkeley Repertory Theatre – How provocative theatre can inspire change

Main Stream

3:30 PM
  • Current Affairs
  • Food
  • Free

Food Is Fundamental

Sunday, October 4

3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Even before COVID-19 shined a light on the precarity faced by food servers, farm laborers, and meat processing workers—and how their working conditions impact us all—it was clear that we were desperately in need of a food revolution. From the environmental toll of factory farming to the health dangers stemming from corporate control of food and water, our current food system is failing us, our kids, and the planet. Where can we turn for a scalable vision of a sustainable, equitable, and delicious future?

Look no further than two culinary iconoclasts: Chez Panisse founder Alice Waters, legendary maven of the “slow food movement,” and firecracker food labor activist Saru Jayaraman. Their ideas, advocacy, and leadership have helped change the way we think about growing and consuming food, from seed to soil to serving platter. Now they’re coming together, in a time of climate change, pandemics, and global hunger, to examine how we got here, and cook up a bold recipe for implementing transformative changes to our food system. You’ll savor this forward-thinking conversation, moderated by Davia Nelson of NPR’s The Kitchen Sisters, about creating a revolution that sticks—to our principles, and our ribs.

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Featuring

Food activist Saru Jayaraman is no stranger to the bright light of recognition: she’s appeared on CNN and NBC Nightly News, was named a Champion of Change by the Obama White House, and was Amy Poehler’s date to the Golden Globes in 2018 to shine awareness on harassment in the restaurant industry. But as Director of the UC Berkeley’s Food Labor Research Center and President of One Fair Wage, she organizes on behalf of an often-invisible workforce: tipped workers, many of them women of color and immigrants, who are struggling to survive. The author of books—including her latest, Bite Back: People Taking on Corporate Food and Winning, with Kathryn De Master—that map out a long-overdue food-industry revolution, Saru is the co-founder of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United), a restaurant-worker-powered nonprofit that now has tens of thousands of members nationwide. Full bio.

Called “the maven of the slow-food movement” by PBS NewsHour, author and food activist Alice Waters is the founder and owner of Berkeley’s legendary Chez Panisse Restaurant, where she spearheaded an organic and locally-grown revolution that has indelibly transformed the food landscape. “The Alice Waters Effect,” as her legacy is known, is powered by the belief that good food should be available to everyone. This simple-but-profound credo has left its mark on everything from agriculture to fine dining to education. The Edible Schoolyard Project, which Alice founded in Berkeley in 1995, now exists in 33 countries; and she received the National Humanities Medal from President Obama for her visionary commitment to food as a moral and social issue. With fifteen books under her belt, including the New York Times bestsellers The Art of Simple Food I & II and Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook, Alice continues to pioneer new visions of sustenance in an era that needs them more than ever. Full bio.

Davia Nelson, along with co-producer Nikki Silva, is one half of NPR’s dynamic duo The Kitchen Sisters, whose Hidden Kitchens on Morning Edition has uncovered culinary revelations ranging from the immigrant story behind Rice-a-Roni to the dramatic birth of the Frito.  Praised by The New Yorker for “producing immersive, beautifully observed, historically relevant stories for public radio since 1979,” The Kitchen Sisters have won two Peabody Awards and a James Beard Award, as well as trained a new generation of voices for public media at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Davia is also a screenwriter and casting director who has worked on such films as The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Rock. She and Nikki are working on their second book, Show the Girls the Snakes, as well as their first Broadway musical. Full bio.

This program is brought to you by the 11th Hour project

Main Stream

4:30 PM

BOLD VISIONS: 4:30 – 5pm

Sunday, October 4

4:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Kate Harrison, Berkeley Councilmember – How the City Council and downtown can support inclusion

Tracey Taylor, Cityside – On local press and digital media transforming local communities

Trisha Low, Small Press Distribution – Creating equity and accessibility in literature

Eric Fenster, Gather Restaurant – On the loss of gathering, restaurants, and creating community

Deborah Lewis, Berkeley Food Network – On accessible food for everyone

Hisae Matsuda, Parallax Press – Bringing spirit and wisdom through literature

Rafael Jesús González, Berkeley Poet Laureate – It’s time to awaken to the call of Justice

Main Stream

5:00 PM

How the Constitution Can Save Us

Sunday, October 4

5:00 PM - 5:45 PM


It’s not an exaggeration to say that the future of the American republic hangs in the balance. There are few levers as powerful in tipping that balance as interpretations of the U.S. Constitution by the Supreme Court. One of the nation’s preeminent constitutional law scholars, Erwin Cherminsky, asserts that there has never been a more important time to adopt a progressive vision of the U.S. Constitution, a living blueprint that can ensure justice, equality, and opportunity for all.

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Featuring

Erwin Chemerinsky is the dean of Berkeley Law, one of the top-cited legal experts in the nation, and author of numerous books, including the core text on constitutional law for law schools nationwide, the popular bestseller We the People: A Progressive Reading of the Constitution for the Twenty-First Century, and The Religion Clauses: The Case for Separating Church and State, published in September 2020. Full bio.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee is the highest ranking African American woman — and forceful, progressive voice — in the United States Congress where she has served with distinction since 1998. Full bio.

*Program details subject to change. Please check back for updates.

Main Stream

2:00 PM

Women Lit #UNBOUND: Poised to Soar: Nature-Writing Sensation Helen Macdonald with Vesper Flights

Tuesday, October 6 at 2:00 PM

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Helen Macdonald’s bestselling memoir H is For Hawk, a transcendent meditation on grief, relationships, and falconry, established her as one of the world’s foremost nature and culture writers. She’s setting our imaginations soaring again with Vesper Flights, a collection of her best-loved essays, illuminating everything from mushroom-hunting to the poignant particulars of birds’ nests. As Helen wrote, “animals don’t exist in order to teach us things,” but her live conversation with American Book Award-winning poet Camille T. Dungy will show us how much we can learn by letting nature keep its secrets.

Due to evacuation orders in West Marin, book shipments for this event have been delayed. We will get your books to you as quickly and safely as we can. Thank you for your patience.

In association with the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin (EAC) the Golden Gate Audubon Society, and Bay Nature.

7:00 PM

Women Lit #UNBOUND: Extraordinary Dreamer: Musical and Literary Icon Patti Smith’s Year of The Monkey

Thursday, October 8 at 7:00 PM

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

She redefined rock and roll for a generation, defied conventional expectations at every turn, and created enough zeitgeist-shaping art for more than one lifetime. Now Patti Smith has something new and beautiful to share: a “beautiful, elegant, and poetic” (NPR) memoir chronicling a transformational year of personal loss, cross-country travel, and political upheaval. Year of the Monkey reprises the spellbinding storytelling we all fell in love with in her National Book Award-winning Just Kids and bestselling M Train, conjuring the complexity and magic of an extraordinary dreamer’s inner life. In this unique experience, Patti will play a few songs with longtime band mate Tony Shanahan and share passages from Year of the Monkey.


Event Admission: $35
Includes a paperback copy of Year of the Monkey from our partner, City Lights Booksellers.

Due to the ongoing public health situation, book orders may be delayed. Please contact City Lights if you have a specific question about your book. Book orders will begin shipping on October 8th.

7:00 PM
  • Culture
  • International

Meaning in the Music: A Conversational Duet with Fantastic Negrito and Timbuktu

Wednesday, October 14

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Music is one of our greatest universal languages. Few have demonstrated this more boldly than gate-crashing rappers Fantastic Negrito and Timbuktu, whose respective journeys from Oakland’s mural-filled streets and Sweden’s inlets now bring them together for an unprecedented #UNBOUND “duet.” A Grammy winner raised in an Orthodox Muslim household, Fantastic Negrito describes himself as “the incarnation of a musician who is reborn after going through a lot of awful s**t.” (The Guardian, for its part, describes him as “extraordinary” and “Bernie Sanders’ favorite bluesman”). He’ll be discussing the meaning behind the rhythm with politically incisive Swedish crossover artist Timbuktu, known as “the rapper even your grandma knows” and the author of the “vibrant, thoughtful” (Kirkus) memoir A Drop of Midnight.  These two incendiary wordsmiths will sound off, in a conversational matchup as unforgettable and exciting as their music.

Timbuktu (aka Jason Diakité), A Drop of Midnight

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners

7:00 PM

Women Lit #UNBOUND: Experience Real Change with Mindfulness Teacher Sharon Salzberg

Wednesday, October 21

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Author of Real Happiness and columnist for the Peabody Award-winning On Being, Sharon Salzberg has built a devoted fanbase and major excitement for her latest book, Real Change. A renowned figure in the world of meditation, Salzberg offers us a guide for harnessing mindfulness in ways that benefit ourselves, our loved ones, and the world around us. She dispenses her invaluable wisdom, expertise, and counsel for vanquishing fear and anxiety at a time when awareness of mental health and emotional well-being is more important and necessary than ever.

Join Women Lit, Sharon Salzberg, and her fellow On Being columnist, Courtney E. Martin, for a dazzling night of transformation that is sure to deepen your understanding of your own inner power in the face of struggle.

Sharon Salzberg, Real Change: Mindfulness to Heal Ourselves and the World
Courtney E. Martin, The New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners

“Inspiring, loving, and empowering. The perfect medicine for these difficult times.”

– Jack Kornfield, author of A Path With Heart

“No matter what troubles have befallen you or what difficulties you have caused yourself or others, with love for yourself you can change, grow, make amends, and learn. Real love is not about letting yourself off the hook. Real love does not encourage you to ignore your problems or deny your mistakes and imperfections. You see them clearly and still opt to love.”

– Sharon Salzberg from her monthly column titled “Self-Love is an Adventure, Not a Destination”

7:00 PM

The Last Taboo: How Wealth Changes Everything

Wednesday, October 28

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

As a genre, memoir has never shied away from tough topics, but the subject of Jennifer Risher’s new book candidly grapples with what may be one of the last lingering taboos: money. Risher and her husband started working for Microsoft in the 90s, and found themselves unexpectedly millionaires in the thick of the dot-com boom. We Need to Talk: A Memoir About Wealth sensitively and introspectively examines the impact of personal wealth on everything from relationships to self-image to a sense of place in the world, within a framework of acute awareness of the dramatic income inequality in today’s America. In a frank and fearless conversation with Robin Richards Donohoe, whose venture philanthropy firm, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, tackles innovative solutions to social problems, Risher will get refreshingly real about a subject as discomfiting as it is necessary.

Jennifer Risher, A We Need to Talk: A Memoir About Wealth

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners