• Schedule

Watch all of our Keynotes, Interviews, and Panels

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  • Category

  • Free
  • International
  • Literary
  • Spirituality

From Jamaica: Fruishon

Ann Margaret Lim, Opal Palmer Adisa, Tanya Shirley, Diana McCauley, Earl McKenzie, Millicent A A Graham, Mutabarika, Ella Brodber, and Olive Senior.
Local host: Kwame Dawes

Friday, February 12, 2021


When things come together so beautifully that one cannot imagine a world without it, a word adopted by Rastafarians wisdom speakers comes to mind, “fruition”, or better still, “fru-i-shon”. Calabash has become, by its existence and its persistence, exactly such a fruition – a project which has come to be the enactment of years of creative struggle, of apprenticeship, of labour and invention. Each of the writers celebrated in this event can speak to their emergence as voices carrying on the legacy of liberation, invention and imagination which has been at the core of the Jamaican character and spirit at its best. It is our delight to welcome you to just a hint of the bounty which is our fruition as a festival and as a nation. Meet Ann Margaret Lim, Opal Palmer Adisa, Tanya Shirley, Diana McCauley, Earl McKenzie, Millicent A A Graham, Mutabarika, Ella Brodber and Olive Senior.

Presented by Calabash Festival, Treasure Beach, Jamaica

  • Free
  • International
  • Poetry
  • Race/Identity

Soundtracks & Stanzas: Changing Canada’s Black Future

Jillian Christmas, Tawhida Tanya Evanson, Jayda Marley, and Motion.
Local host: Britta B

Friday, February 12, 2021


Whether it be poetry written for the page, the silver screen, the poetry slam or the melody, every poet plays with language to reveal the inexpressible. The Toronto International Festival of Authors and JAYU present the new generation of Canadian poetry which is pushing the possibilities and playing with the rules. Tune into four distinguished Canadian poets who will take us on a journey through the physical, vocal and material elements of their poems. Featuring Jillian Christmas (Vancouver) Tawhida Tanya Evanson (Montreal), and Motion (Toronto). Emcee for the evening is poet Britta B (Toronto).

Presented by Toronto International Festival of Authors, Canada, in partnership with JAYU

  • Free
  • International
  • Literary
  • Writing & Publishing

Books, magazines, and pirate stores: writing and activism in California and beyond

Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida in conversation with Daniel Gumbiner.
Local host: Cherilyn Parsons

Friday, February 12, 2021


From the Beat poets of the 1950s to Summer of Love musicians and Silicon Valley innovators, California’s San Francisco Bay Area is renowned for bold and often irreverent pioneers. The region’s contemporary literary scene is no exception. Once largely ignored by the East Coast establishment, California authors are now in the vanguard of the nation’s literature – radically shaping aesthetics and redefining who can be an author and what stories can be told. The two featured authors, Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida, are a married couple at the epicentre of this transformation. Their own award-winning literary work ranges from novels to memoirs, children’s books and screenplays, set all over the world. They have also built a thriving literary ecosystem which includes book imprints (such as the San Francisco-based McSweeney’s and its human-rights-focused Voices of Witness series), multiple magazines and journals (such as The Believer, which has also spawned a festival), and the hugely successful 826 National network (the largest youth writing network in the country). Join us to hear their inspiring story, to celebrate Vendela’s just-published sixth novel (We Run the Tides, set in San Francisco), and to discover just how a pirate store fits in.

In conversation with their friend, colleague, and fellow author Daniel Gumbiner, and introduced by host Cherilyn Parsons, founder and executive director of the Bay Area Book Festival.

Presented by the Bay Area Book Festival - yes - that's us 🙂

  • 2016
  • Humor
  • International

Get Me Out of Here: A Swedish Kafka Comes to Berkeley

Sunday, June 5


“The daily grind got you down? Escape into this Swedish dark comedy about a scaldingly contemptuous office drone who discovers a secret room in his workplace,” says O, the Oprah Magazine, about Karlsson’s novel The Room. Publishers Weekly raved, “a reality-bending psychological profile with insights into the nature and importance of personal space.” Escape your day job to see this Kafkaesque Swedish novelist, playwright, and actor before his next book, The Invoice, releases in July.


Watch the full episode


  • 2016
  • International
  • Literary

Freedom to Write, Perchance to Dream

Sunday, June 5


In 2014, Colm Tóibín, author of Nora Webster, The Master, Brooklyn, and many other books, delivered the Arthur Miller “Freedom to Write” address that caps each year’s PEN World Voices Festival. Chancellor Dirks leads a university that launched the Free Speech movement and is ranked the top public university in the world. In this conversation, they explore why intellectual and creative liberty matters so much and where we need to agitate today.


Watch the full episode


  • 2016
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy

The Many Faces of Fantasy

Sunday, June 5


Epic or urban, contemporary or historical, fantasy fiction now attracts a diverse audience of enthusiastic readers around the world. How do writers mix myth, magic, and popular culture to address eternal truths and new possibilities?


Watch the full episode


  • 2016
  • Current Affairs
  • Writing & Publishing

Disruptors: Writing for Social Change

Sunday, June 5


In business, disruption speaks to radical change. Similarly, literary disruptors are those writers whose words and ideas spark radical reactions and create game-changing conversations. In this panel, four change-makers come together in conversation about why and how they disrupt, exploring why this orientation to writing effects tangible change.


Watch the full episode


  • 2016
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy

Daniel Clowes: Patience

Sunday, June 5


Daniel Clowes is a celebrated graphic novelist (Ghost World, Wilson, David Boring), Academy Award-nominated screenwriter, and frequent cover artist for The New Yorker. He has won Eisner, Harvey, and Ignatz awards, the laurels of the graphic storytelling world. Here he talks about his new graphic novel in over a decade—an indescribable psychedelic science-fiction love story—along with his life and work spanning more than thirty years.


Watch the full episode


  • 2016
  • Current Affairs
  • International

Be the Revolution: Mona Eltahawy interviewed by Chinaka Hodge

Sunday, June 5


Assaulted after Tahrir Square, Egyptian feminist and journalist Mona Eltahawy comes to us from Cairo with a call for revolution. That call is not merely for liberation for women in the Middle East—though Eltahaway articulates that—but for all people who are silenced, imprisoned, or shamed. Chinaka Hodge—spoken word poet, screenwriter, and more—embodies speaking truth to power. Witness an amazing conversation between two women of color who are not afraid to say what they think.


Watch the full episode


  • 2016
  • History

The Art of Tough

Saturday, June 4


Sometimes lauded, sometimes vilified, but always standing tough, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer has fought for her convictions even when they have conflicted with her party or the majority rule. Here to launch her new memoir, The Art of Tough, with a live audience, Boxer will share provocative and touching recollections of her service and discuss her commitment to fighting for women, families, quality-of-life issues, environmental protection, and a peaceful world.


Watch the full episode


  • 2016
  • International

Be Obsessed, Be Very Obsessed

Sunday, June 5


Have you been obsessed with something or someone? If so, don’t leave the festival without attending this panel. These four writers from Scandinavia, where nights go on forever and summer light blinds the moon, take us into the heart of the beast with stories of obsession with a mysterious child, a perfect lullaby, religious conversion, and death itself.


Watch the full episode


  • 2016
  • International
  • Literary

The Art of Translation

Sunday, June 5


Translators alchemize foreign masterworks by harnessing the potential of language. This session explores the nuanced art of translation from the point of view of four of its most devoted practitioners: Katrina Dodson, Amara Lakhous, Jung Young-Moon, and Idra Novey. Moderated by Michael Holtmann, director of the Center for the Art of Translation.


Watch the full episode


  • 2016
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy

The Art of Language Invention

Sunday, June 5


Who says linguistics isn’t fun? Ever heard of “conlang”? Join this insiders’ tour through the construction of invented languages. David Peterson created languages for the HBO series Game of Thrones and the Syfy series Defiance. Nick Farmer created the Belter conlang for Syfy’s The Expanse. This conversation may leave you, well, speechless.


Watch the full episode


  • 2016
  • YA (Young Adult)

Gene Luen Yang: Reading Without Walls: Opening Horizons – in conversation with Tim Federle and Jason Reynolds

Saturday, June 4


Gene Luen Yang, recently named the fifth National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, has chosen “Reading without Walls” as the platform for his tenure as ambassador. “I want kids to explore the world through books, to read outside of their comfort zones. Specifically, I want them—and you—to…” Come find out what Gene, Tim, and Jason, all three spectacularly gifted book-makers, have to say.


Watch the full episode


  • 2016
  • Culture

Surfing with the Journalist: A New Yorker Writer Rides the Waves

Saturday, June 4


“I was reluctant to come out as a surfer,” says William Finnegan, about his memoir Barbarian Days. The celebrated New Yorker staff writer, who has made his reputation reporting from some of the most war-torn places on earth, will compare journalism with writing this lyrical, existential book about his secret and abiding passion, surfing. The New York Review of Books delivered a glowing review of Barbarian Days, calling it “an utterly convincing study in the joy of treating seriously an unserious thing.” Barbarian Days was awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for the Biography/Autobiography category.


Watch the full episode


  • 2016
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy

Subversive Speculative Fiction

Saturday, June 4


Science fiction and fantasy have always upset the status quo by presenting alternative visions of the past, present, and future. Meet five fabulous (literally) and subversive writers who deploy stories of science, technology, and magic to turn the way you have been thinking upside-down.


Watch the full episode


  • 2016
  • Food
  • Science

Science in the Kitchen (and Why It Matters!)

Saturday, June 4


Can technical books about cooking and booze also have a soul? J. Kenji López-Alt and Adam Rogers are in conversation with John Birdsall about the expressive possibilities of food science.


Watch the full episode


  • 2016
  • International
  • Literary

May the Road Rise Up to Meet You: Ireland and the Nurturance of Its Writers

Saturday, June 4


For a small country, Ireland has a major impact on world literature, and writing is a laudable endeavor among those green hills. In this session, a well-established author meets with two young but acclaimed novelists to discuss how they became writers and what their homeland had to do with it. This session is a tribute to the Irish students who died or were injured in the Berkeley balcony collapse one year ago. Introduced by Philip Grant, Consul General of Ireland in San Francisco, and Berkeley’s Mayor Tom Bates.


Watch the full episode


  • 2016
  • Current Affairs
  • Technology/Media

Humans Need Not Apply: A Guide to Wealth and Work in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Saturday, June 4


Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to usher in a new age of affluence and leisure—but for whom? From Stanford’s AI Lab, serial entrepreneur and bestselling author Jerry Kaplan introduces AI, proposes concrete measures for equitable distribution, and takes questions. Humans Need Not Apply was named a top ten business book of 2015 by the Economist, which called it “an intriguing, insightful and well-written look at how modern artificial intelligence, powering algorithms and robots, threatens jobs and may increase wealth inequalities.” Jaron Lanier wrote that it’s a “crucial book for understanding the great challenge of our times, which is how people can learn to live wisely with ever-greater technical ability.”


Watch the full episode


  • 2016
  • Poetry

Juan Felipe Herrera, U.S. Poet Laureate

Saturday, June 4


Come listen to a poetry reading featuring one of the most unique and generous figures in contemporary American literature, current U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera. Our first Chicano poet to hold this prestigious post, Herrera is credited by the New York Times as inventing “a new hybrid art, part oral, part written, part English, part something else: an art grounded in ethnic identity, fueled by collective pride, yet irreducibly individual too.”


Watch the full episode


  • 2016
  • Current Affairs

Girls and Sex

Saturday, June 4


In Western societies today, in order to be “liked,” girls as young as middle school feel pressure to “sext” or become sexually active. In the Middle East, adolescent girls are veiled and their freedom restrained so their fathers and future husbands can ensure that they’re virgins. What do these mirrored opposites show? From headscarves to Tinder, hymens to “hot,” how can girls reclaim their own bodies and sexuality?


Watch the full episode


  • 2016
  • Technology/Media
  • Writing & Publishing

Literature Goes Gaming: A New Frontier for Storytelling

Saturday, June 4


It started around the communal fire. It traveled with minstrels. It was penned by monks, printed by Gutenberg. Spoken on radio, made into film. Human beings have been called the storytelling animals. One of the most powerful and engaging forms of storytelling today is—yes, you heard it at a book festival—gaming. Come learn how game makers modify traditional story forms for a new platform and audience.


Watch the full episode


  • 2016
  • Current Affairs
  • History

The World’s Most Wanted Fugitives: Bringing War Criminals to Justice

Saturday, June 4


If you read mysteries, history, or current affairs, or care about justice, this panel is a must-see. The authors, most of them based at Berkeley Law’s renowned Human Rights Center, take readers on a riveting journey—and a true one—in pursuit of Nazi war criminals, the perpetrators in the Balkan and Rwandan genocides, and more, up to the establishment of the International Criminal Court and America’s pursuit of suspected terrorists in the aftermath of 9/11. It is a story fraught with broken promises, backroom politics, ethical dilemmas, and daring escapades—all in the name of international justice and human rights.


Watch the full episode


  • 2016
  • Literary

Nobody’s Fool — Everybody’s Fool: Richard Russo in Conversation with Lori Ostlund

Saturday, June 4


Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Richard Russo writes pitch-perfect descriptions of small-town America. His just-released Everybody’s Fool revisits, after ten years, the hapless cast of Nobody’s Fool with humor and heart. Joining him in conversation is Lori Ostlund, author of the story collection The Bigness of the World and the recent novel After the Parade, about which Russo advised readers, “Be alive to the possibility of wonder.”


Watch the full episode


  • 2016
  • Poetry

California’s Poet Laureate Dana Gioia in Conversation with Kay Ryan

Saturday, June 4


Widely regarded as two of the most original voices of their generation, Kay Ryan (former U.S. Poet Laureate) and Dana Gioia (current California Poet Laureate) will share their views about American poetry from their perspective as outsiders, unconventional stylists, and native Californians. They will also celebrate the arrival of Gioia’s latest poetry collection, 99 Poems: New and Selected.


Watch the full episode


  • 2016
  • International
  • Literary

Confronting the Past: Time and Memory in Contemporary Fiction

Saturday, June 4


It’s human nature — the past is always waiting to ambush us even as time hurtles us toward future unknowns. The four international novelists participating in this discussion will describe how they exploit this universal truth while fleshing out their fictional characters, setting up scenes, and plotting their stories.


Watch the full episode


  • 2016

Chade-Meng Tan: Joy on Demand

Sunday, June 5


Author of the best-selling Search Within Yourself, Meng, as he is known by friends, is a genuine Jolly Good Fellow (his actual job title at Google, where he was employee #107). He’s back with another book that makes ancient spiritual practice possible in today’s fast-paced societies. Don’t have years to meditate? How about 15 seconds to joy? Come find out how.


Watch the full episode


  • 2016
  • International
  • Mystery, Crime & Thrillers

Nordic Noir: A Continuing Attraction

Jørgen Brekke, Agnete Friis, Kati Hiekkapelto, and Lene Kaaberbøl, moderated by Mal Warwick

Sunday, June 5


Murder and mayhem in cold climes continue to fascinate readers like little else. Join this celebration of four exceptional writers from Norway, Denmark, and Finland, and their captivating stories that draw us deeply in.


Watch the full episode


  • 2016
  • Culture
  • History
  • Travel

The Untold Story of Route 66: The Negro Motorist Green Book — Traveling the Mother Road in the Jim Crow Era

Candacy Taylor, Caille Millner

Sunday, June 5


Fans of Route 66 will enjoy listening to historian and travel writer Candacy Taylor share stories and anecdotes about the historic byway. She will also dive into the relatively unknown story of “The Green Book,” which, during the Jim Crow era, listed Route 66 restaurants, hotels, salons, barbershops, nightclubs, tailors, garages, and real estate offices amenable to serving African American travelers.


Watch the full episode


  • 2016
  • Culture
  • Current Affairs

Rebecca Solnit and John Freeman: A Conversation

Rebecca Solnit and John Freeman

Sunday, June 5


Welcome to a conversation about income inequality and the power of storytelling. In 2014, award-winning cultural critic Rebecca Solnit published an essay defining the moment when San Francisco (and the world) turned on Silicon Valley (as represented by Google buses). On the East Coast, acclaimed author and critic John Freeman edited Tale of Two Cities, a collection of essays contrasting the lives of New York City’s haves and have-nots (including Freeman’s own homeless brother).


Watch the full episode


Power of Protest: Lessons from Hong Kong

Sunday, November 15


Produced by Bay Area Book Festival in collaboration with literary festivals worldwide

After a tumultuous year of protest, Hong Kong’s streets are quiet again following the adoption of the national security law on June 30. Join four experts for this indispensable analysis of the protest movement and its broader significance for freedom globally. In City on Fire: The Fight for Hong Kong, Hong Kong-based lawyer and writer Antony Dapiran takes readers to the frontlines of the protests and reveals the protesters’ unique tactics. In Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink, Jeffrey Wasserstrom, one of America’s leading China specialists, draws on his knowledge of the history of repression and resistance, to help us understand the deep roots and the broad significance of the events of 2019. These authors are joined by Financial Times news researcher Nicolle Liu, who reported from the streets throughout the protests. Conversation moderated by Orville Schell, author of several books on China, and Arthur Ross, Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at Asia Society in New York.

Watch the full episode


Presented in partnership with: Literary Arts, Pen America, Human Rights Watch, AJC Decatur Book Festival, Virginia Festival of the Book, Brooklyn Book Festival

  • 2018
  • Current Affairs
  • Women/Gender

Rebecca Traister: Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger

October 10, 2018


Leading feminist journalist and thinker Rebecca Traister will discuss her new book, Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger. This event is part of the book festival’s Women Lit series. The event kicks off our partnership with Inflection Point, the nationally syndicated radio show and podcast on how women rise up. Host Lauren Schiller will interview Traister in what’s going to be one amazing evening.

We’ll have an extra surprise at the Rebecca Traister event, thanks to our sponsor Hello!Lucky.


Watch the full episode


  • 2019
  • Environment/Nature
  • Women/Gender

Rapture, Grief, Beauty: Terry Tempest Williams introducing Erosion

October 17, 2019


“Terry Tempest Williams is our great activist laureate. Working out of the lineage of Dickinson, O’Keeffe, D. H. Lawrence, and, later, Abbey and Peacock, she is nonetheless singular and extraordinarily original. She is rooted as juniper yet ephemeral as a sand dune. The forces that have eroded her are rapture and grief. What remains is elemental beauty.”—Rick Bass, author of For a Little While

Terry Tempest Williams is a naturalist, an activist, and an introspective presence whose every word is authentic. Her new book, Erosion, explores the concept of erosion and its opposite, becoming, in the context of land, self, belief, and fear. She looks at the current state of American politics, implications of choices to gut wilderness and sacred lands, endangered species, drought, extraction, and contamination — along with transcendent moments of relief and refuge, solace and spirituality. Rebecca Solnit wrote of Erosion, “Terry Tempest Williams’s voice in the clamor is like a hot desert wind blowing away the litter in a crowded room and leaving behind only what has weight, what is essential. These are essays about the courage to face what is most brutal and monstrous, by finding what is most beautiful and merciful.”


Watch the full episode


  • 2019
  • Women/Gender

Candace Bushnell Discussing Is There Still Sex in the City?

October 1, 2019


Remember Sex and the City? The author of that seminal work, Candace Bushnell, is back two decades later with a new book, Is There Still Sex in the City? — for women 50+. Put on a great pair of shoes and come on out. Join Women Lit at The Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco on the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 1, to hear the trailblazing creator of Sex and the City discuss the new book with Lauren Schiller of Inflection Point. The iconic Sex and the City broke down major barriers in cultural representations of single women and reshaped the landscape of pop culture. Bushnell now guides us through a new and entangled dating scene. Is There Still Sex in the City? follows a whole new cohort of female friends, Sassy, Kitty, Queenie, Tilda Tia, Marilyn and Candace, as they face the modern-day sex arena as middle aged women, including younger partners, dating apps, divorce, children, and the pressure to maintain a youthful appearance. Equal parts hilarious and heart-wrenching, and filled with Bushnell’s signature short, sharp social commentary, Is There Still Sex in the City? not only provides a colorful look into love after 50, but also asks audiences to take a more nuanced look into the lives of women.


Watch the full episode


  • 2019
  • Women/Gender

Girls’ Saturday Night Out: An Evening with Jennifer Weiner

June 22, 2019


Women Lit has a fun treat in store for you at the high point of summer! On Saturday night, June 22 in Berkeley, we’re bringing you Girls’ Saturday Night Out: An Evening with Jennifer Weiner, who will discuss her new novel, Mrs. Everything. We read an early copy of Mrs. Everything and didn’t want to put it down. No surprise: Jen is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of sixteen other books too, including In Her Shoes. As for seeing Jen in person, get ready for both insights and laughs. She’s renowned for her whip-smart, feminist, fearless, generous style (and fabulous Twitter account) that embraces all women and their stories. She’s a bit infamous for altercations with self-important males. She’s very, very funny.

More about the event:

From Jennifer Weiner, the #1 New York Times bestselling author, comes a smart, thoughtful, and timely exploration of two sisters’ lives from the 1950s to the present as they struggle to find their places—and be true to themselves—in a rapidly evolving world. Mrs. Everything is an ambitious, richly textured journey through history—and herstory—as these two sisters navigate a changing America over the course of their lives.

Jo and Bethie Kaufman were born into a world full of promise. Growing up in 1950s Detroit, they live in a perfect “Dick and Jane” house, where their roles in the family are clearly defined. But the world ends up being quite different from what the girls imagined. As their lives unfold against the background of free love and Vietnam, Woodstock and women’s lib, Bethie dives headlong into the counterculture and is up for anything (except settling down). Meanwhile, Jo becomes a proper young mother in Connecticut, a witness to the changing world instead of a participant. Neither woman inhabits the world she dreams of, nor has a life that feels authentic or brings her joy. Is it too late for the women to finally stake a claim on happily ever after? In her most ambitious novel yet, Jennifer Weiner tells a story of two sisters who, with their different dreams and different paths, offer answers to the question: How should a woman be in the world?


Watch the full episode


  • 2019
  • Women/Gender

A Conversation with Eve Ensler Discussing The Apology

June 13, 2019


Like millions of women, Eve Ensler—author of The Vagina Monologues, one of the most influential works of the twentieth century—has been waiting much of her life for an apology. Sexually and physically abused by her father as a girl, Eve has grappled with her father’s betrayal and its effects for her whole life, longing for an honest reckoning from a man who is long dead. After years of work as an artist and an activist in the movement to end violence against women, Eve decided she would not wait any longer; she could imagine an apology for herself. The Apology is written by Eve from her father’s point of view in the words she has always needed to hear to be freed from the trauma. At this cultural moment of public reckoning with violence against women, Eve’s message has the power to prompt real transformation and healing, not only in those who have been abused but also in the ones who have hurt them—a step toward change that is necessary and long overdue.
For this event, Women Lit has chosen a safe, nurturing environment, literally a sanctuary (of an ecumenical community church). Our speaker may discuss emotionally traumatic experiences. All attendees and their experiences will be held with care within our supportive Women Lit community.


Watch the full episode


  • 2019
  • Women/Gender

Rachel Cusk in Conversation with Brooke Warner

April 7, 2019


This Sunday, one of today’s most dazzling fiction writers is coming to Women Lit. Rachel Cusk is a “stark, modern, adamantine new skyscraper on the literary horizon,” writes The New York Times, which also states that Cusk “has that ability, unique to the great performers in every art form, to hold one rapt from the moment she appears.” Cusk will be interviewed by Brooke Warner, publisher at She Writes Press and former executive editor at Seal Press, a leading feminist publishing house.


Watch the full episode


  • 2019
  • Women/Gender

An Evening with Gloria Steinem: More Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions

February 21, 2019


Women Lit is one year old! To celebrate our first birthday, we are bringing feminist icon Gloria Steinem to The Castro Theatre on February 21 to discuss the third edition of her seminal work Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions. Steinem will discuss intersectionality and the #MeToo era. She’ll ponder what today’s young feminists can learn from their predecessors, and vice versa. She’ll discuss the newest iteration of Outrageous Acts, which includes the classics readers know – satires, tributes, confessions (yes, the Playboy bunny essay is in here) and analyses — along with brand new material.


Watch the full episode


  • 2018
  • International
  • Women/Gender

Courage, Honor and Hope: An Evening with Khalida Brohi

December 13, 2018


Not even thirty years old, Khalida Brohi already has a globe-spanning career as an activist, from empowering and educating Pakistani men and women to speaking on some of the most prestigious world stages. She has been lauded by Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai and by TED leader Chris Anderson, who said, “Her story…is beyond belief. It’s incredible that someone so young could achieve this much through passion and ingenuity.”

On Thursday evening, December 13, Khalida will share her new memoir, I Should Have Honor, interviewed by Lauren Schiller of Inflection Point at one the most amazing venues in the the Bay Area, The Women’s Building in San Francisco.

When Brohi was sixteen, her cousin was murdered by her uncle in an honor killing. From a tiny cement-roofed single room home in Karachi, Pakistan where she was allowed ten minutes of computer use per day, she created a viral Facebook campaign, leading her on a global quest to speak up for women and speak out against cultural practices that keep women down. She’s now been named one of Newsweek magazine’s 25 Under 25 Women of Impact and Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs.


Watch the full episode


  • 2016
  • International
  • Literary
  • Travel

The Beautiful Island: Taiwan in the Literary Imagination

Saturday, June 4


An island nation, Taiwan has famous night markets, adventurous terrain, hot spring resorts, a bamboo skyscraper—and one of the world’s most beautiful bookstores. These four authors, of Taiwanese descent or writing about Taiwan, include two very different novelists, a photographer/poet, and one of Asia’s best guidebook writers. They talk about how “place” becomes character in their writing. (And yes, they will take questions about travel tips.)


Watch the full episode


  • 2016
  • History
  • Writing & Publishing

T. J. Stiles on the Art of Biography

T. J. Stiles, interviewed by Porter Shreve

Sunday, June 5


T.J. Stiles has won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography and the National Book Award for Nonfiction—but those are just the facts. As Stiles shows in his books and will discuss in this session, biographies are so much more than mere facts. How does he bring characters to life? Why, in his most recent biography, Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of America, did he spend relatively little time on the “last stand”?


Watch the full episode


  • 2016
  • Literary

Is Fiction “Truer than Truth”? The Historical Novel

Christian Kracht, Shawna Yang Ryan, Steve Sem-Sandberg, and Naomi J. Williams, moderated by Janis Cooke Newman

Sunday, June 5


Historical novels take us inside the minds and hearts of characters from the past—some real, some made-up, but all coming to life in our imaginations. How do real events inspire fictional ones? These extraordinary writers bring us through tumultuous 20th-century Taiwan, the Łódź ghetto in Nazi-occupied Poland, an ill-fated French maritime expedition in the late 18th century, and a made-up coconut colony visited by a real German emigre in the early 20th century—with the discussion led by master historical novelist Janis Cooke Newman, who takes us to WWII-era New York and Germany.


Watch the full episode


  • 2016
  • YA (Young Adult)

Love…and Loss

Julie Buxbaum, Alyson Noël, and Nicola Yoon, moderated by Andrea Mullarkey

Saturday, June 4


“The sweetest honey is loathsome in its own deliciousness, and in the taste destroys the appetite. Therefore, love moderately,” says Friar Laurence to Romeo. True? Listen to four young adult authors talk about the trials and tribulations of teen romance in their books.


Watch the full episode


  • 2015
  • Fiction

A Very Special Evening with the Remarkable Judy Blume

Judy Blume interviewed by Walter Mayes

Saturday, June 6


Judy Blume is one of America’s most beloved authors. Her twenty-eight titles include Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret; Forever; and Summer Sisters. It’s a huge pleasure to welcome her to Berkeley, for a wide-ranging and spirited conversation, touching on her life, her books, her continuing championship of intellectual freedom for children and adults alike, and especially her brand-new book, In the Unlikely Event.


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  • 2015
  • Technology/Media

Google’s Laszlo Bock: Work Rules!

Laszlo Bock

Saturday, June 6


The head of People Operations at Google — which handles over 2 million resumes a year — Laszlo Bock pioneered a new way of analysing, attracting, developing and retaining talent. He offers a counterintuitive look behind the metrics of 21st-century hiring, showing how to strike a balance between creativity and structure to build a better company from within.


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  • 2015
  • Environment/Nature
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy

Futurism, Fatalism and Climate Change

Paolo Bacigalupi, Edan Lepucki, John Scalzi, Antti Tuomainen, moderated by Mike Berry

Saturday, June 6


Call it “cli-fi,” “eco-fiction” or even “eco-fabulism,” there’s a movement afoot to address climate change through storytelling. What can literature reveal about how we will cope with dramatic alterations to the environment? A dynamic discussion moderated by San Francisco Chronicle science fiction and fantasy columnist Michael Berry.


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  • 2015
  • Culture

So Many Roads: 50 Years of the Grateful Dead

Blair Jackson, Dennis McNally, Peter Richardson, moderated by Nicholas Meriwether

Saturday, June 6


It wouldn’t be a Bay Area Book Festival without a panel on the quintessential Bay Area band. Four of the leading experts and insiders on all things Dead gather today to share their experiences, their knowledge and their appreciation for the band once known as the Warlocks.


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  • 2015
  • Current Affairs

How We Die: Making Sense of Modern Death

Louise Aronson, Katy Butler, Monica Wesolowska, Jessica Nutik Zitter, MD, moderated by Zoe FitzGerald Carter

Saturday, June 6


Many of us are living longer than ever but are we living any better? Are we dying any better? In this panel, doctors, writers and caregivers will challenge our society’s current approach to death and dying and discuss how telling our stories can be a catalyst for change.


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  • 2015
  • Culture

Wendy Lesser: Why I Read

Wendy Lesser in conversation with Erik Tarloff

Saturday, June 6


The New York Times writes, “Wendy Lesser is a serious reader — a quality reader — and this book is a serious pleasure,” referring to her recent Why I Read. Don’t miss this conversation in which Lesser, editor of the arts journal The Threepenny Review discusses what it means to read great books, why books and reading matter, and how to enhance your own reading pleasure.


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  • 2015
  • Writing & Publishing

Exquisite Insanity: Moms Who Write

Katrina Alcorn, Aya de Leon, Carolina De Robertis, Kate Schatz, moderated by Michelle Tea

Saturday, June 6


We live in an era where women are pitted against each other based on parenting decisions. We hear narratives of “childless by choice” vs. mothers, and those who do parent are conscripted into mommy wars: working mothers vs. stay-at-home moms. This panel will include reports from one particular front of working motherhood: the writer mom. Why and how do they do it? Reports may take the form of coded messages, sleep-deprived scribblings, cries for help and/or reports of victory.


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  • 2015
  • Technology/Media
  • Writing & Publishing

New Views of Narrative: How Technology Interfaces with Story

Lise Quintana, Eli Horowitz, Russell Quinn, moderated by Robin Sloan

Saturday, June 6


Narrative Technologies founder and CEO Lise Quintana, digital author Eli Horowitz, digital polymath Russell Quinn and media inventor and novelist Robin Sloan share a free-flowing discussion illuminating the platforms, purposes, joys and pitfalls as tech innovations breathe new life into storytelling forms and formats.


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  • 2015
  • Environment/Nature

Ocean Planet

Wallace J. Nichols, David Helvarg, Steve Palumbi, John Weller, moderated by Michael McGinniss

Saturday, June 6


We, inhabitants of the islands of Earth, are surrounded by oceans. This panel of scientists, environmental activists, explorers and photographers examines the centrality of the oceans to our ecosystem, our psyche and our economy and considers the rising threats — and global response — to the environmental challenges facing our marine-waters.


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  • 2015
  • Current Affairs

Behind the Headlines in Palestine

Sandy Tolan, Mateo Hoke, moderated by Khalil Barhoum

Saturday, June 6


Buried far within headline news and political controversies are human stories. A veteran journalist and a younger journalist help tell the unforgettable, real stories of the people caught inside the conflict over Palestine.


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  • 2015
  • Writing & Publishing

The Business of Publishing, 2015 Edition

Ethan Nosowsky, David Streitfeld, Mark Tauber, Steve Wasserman, moderated by Mark Ouimet

Saturday, June 6


The publishing industry has brought us every book at this festival, but this industry has undergone massive change in response to the digital revolution and faces pressure from companies such as Amazon. How does the publishing industry work today? What are the challenges for new authors? Smaller independent publishers are thriving; how is this happening despite the consolidation of the “Big 5” publishing houses? The experts offer facts, observations, and opinions.


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  • 2015
  • Memoir

Finding Samuel Lowe: China, Jamaica, Harlem

Paula Williams Madison in conversation with Belva Davis

Saturday, June 6


Spanning four generations and moving between New York, Jamaica, and China, Paula Madison’s powerful memoir is a universal story of one woman’s search for her maternal grandfather and the key to her self-identity. It is a story about love and devotion that transcends time and race, and a beautiful reflection of the power of family and the interconnectedness of our world.


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  • 2015
  • Current Affairs

Transforming Terror

Mark Danner, Claudia Bernardi, Rebecca Solnit, moderated by Susan Griffin

Saturday, June 6


Terrorism hurts us all, if not with direct violence, injury or death then by eroding peace, community life and civil liberties. But public discourse around it is often shallow and manipulative. It’s time for a deeper look at this issue: what is terrorism and what should we do about it?


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  • 2015
  • Culture

On Acting

David Thomson in conversation with Steve Wasserman

Saturday, June 6


Does acting matter? David Thomson, one of our most respected and insightful writers on movies and theater, answers this question with intelligence and wit. Thomson tackles this most elusive of subjects, examining the allure of the performing arts for both the artist and the audience member while addressing the paradoxes inherent in acting itself. He reflects on the casting process, on stage versus film acting, and on the cult of celebrity.


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  • 2015
  • Culture
  • Current Affairs

Uncharted at the Bay Area Book Festival

Rob Forbes, Wallace Nichols, Ben Parr, moderated by Lance Knobel

Saturday, June 6


Get a taste of Berkeleyside’s stimulating, annual Uncharted Festival of Ideas (every October). See your surroundings afresh, understand the neurobiological benefits of being around water, and learn how to captivate your own audiences—all in twenty-minute, TED-style bites.


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  • 2015
  • Culture

Welcome to the Jungle: A Brief History of the Music Business

Dennis McNally, Joel Selvin, moderated by Peter Richardson

Saturday, June 6


Working with and writing about some of the key and most influential artists in American music history, these writers will be sharing the story of American rock from the inside out, including how it intersects with the vagaries of politics, publicity and power.


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  • 2015
  • Current Affairs

Roots of Violence

Åsne Seierstad, Mac McClelland, Lars Fredrik Svendsen, moderated by Adam Hochschild

Saturday, June 6


Few other species turn on their own members with the ferocity that human beings demonstrate. Our historical path is strewn with warfare, torture, mass murder and the abuse of women and children. Is it inherent our genes? Our souls? In the shapes of our societies? And is there any promise of improvement?


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  • 2015
  • Spirituality

Matthieu Ricard on Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World

Matthieu Ricard in conversation with Pico Iyer

Sunday, June 7


Presenting a global vision based on decades of personal experience and insight, cellular geneticist-turned Buddhist monk Ricard’s masterwork, Altruism, reveals that altruism is not an abstract ideal, but an essential dimension of our nature which can resolve the main challenges of our time: economic inequality, environmental sustainability, and life satisfaction.


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  • 2015
  • Environment/Nature
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy

Paolo Bacigalupi in the Spotlight | The Water Knife

Paolo Bacigalupi

Sunday, June 7


Water is power. In the near future, a severe drought in the southwest has demolished Texas, and Phoenix is ravaged and desolate, on the verge of total breakdown. While the wealthy stay wet, the poor get the dust, buying water by the ($6-plus) gallon and struggle to find ways north through militarized borders at state lines. Welcome to The Water Knife by National Book Award winner Paolo Bacigalupi — and to a world that seems terrifyingly possible given the ongoing drought plaguing the west and southwest.


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  • 2015
  • Culture
  • Spirituality

An Hour With Peter Coyote

Peter Coyote in conversation with Gary Kamiya

Sunday, June 7


The guiding metaphor in Peter Coyote’s new spiritual biography is drawn from a line in a famous Bob Dylan song. For Coyote, the twin forces Dylan identifies as Texas Medicine and Railroad Gin represent the competing forces of the transcendental, inclusive, and ecstatic world of love and the competitive, status-seeking world of wealth and power. The Rainman’s Third Cure: An Irregular Education is the tale of a young man caught between these options and the journey that leads him through Greenwich Village jazz bars, government service, and success on stage and screen, and ultimately deep into Zen.


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  • 2015
  • Fiction
  • Literary

Talking About Writing & All the What-Not: Daniel Handler and Rabih Alameddine Carry On

Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) and Rabih Alameddine

Sunday, June 7


They both live in San Francisco. One is a native San Franciscan, the other a Lebanese American born in Jordan. What could they possibly have in common? Come and see! From The Basic Eight to Lemony Snicket and the new We Are Pirates, Daniel Handler’s books entertain young, old, and in-between. Rabih Alameddine’s most recent book, An Unnecessary Woman, is a nuanced rendering of one woman’s life in the Middle East; it is a love letter to literature and its power to define who we are.


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  • 2015
  • Fiction
  • Memoir
  • Race/Identity

Writing the New Neighborhood: Narratives of the Shifting Cities

Lorna Dee Cervantes, Karen Tei Yamashita, Odilia Galván Rodríguez, moderated by Elmaz Abinader

Sunday, June 7


A lively roster of multi-genre writers discuss how to document the changing face of the Bay Area and embody our new multicultural, multilingual story. Arab American writer/performer/activist/teacher Elmaz Abinader will announce a new series of regional workshops led by VONA/Voices of Our Nations Arts, for writers of color. One of the major voices in Chicana literature, poet Lorna Dee Cervantes explores the cultural differences between natives and waves of immigrants in her native Bay Area. Karen Tei Yamashita’s polyphonic epic novel, I Hotel, documents Bay Area historical politics through ordinary and immigrant voices. Odilia Galván Rodríguez, eco-poet, writer, editor, and activist, is the author of four volumes of poetry, including Red Earth Calling.


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  • 2015
  • Current Affairs

The NFL and Its Discontents

Steve Fainaru, David Meggyesy, Dave Zirin, moderated by Peter Richardson

Sunday, June 7


As more critics weigh in on the dehumanizing aspects of professional football, tough questions about this most American of sports are entering mainstream conversation. These thorough and thoughtful journalists and writers offer their insiders’ views, observations and predictions.


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  • 2015
  • Poetry

How Poems Change the World

Jane Hirshfield, John Shoptaw, giovanni singleton

Sunday, June 7


Is world-changing inherent in poetry? Are there poems that change the world for the worse? These working poets share a concern for the environmental crisis and for issues around societal agreement. They’ll discuss the premise behind Hirshfield’s title: not only how great poems transform the world, but whether poems should do that and if, in fact, these poets think that they do.


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  • 2015
  • Food

The Science of Booze

Amy Stewart, Adam Rogers

Sunday, June 7


There are no better guides to the magic, mystery, lore, and, yes, science of alcohol and the drinks that are made with it. Expect a very spirited discussion, one from which you’ll learn a treasure trove of very useful information!


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  • 2015
  • Current Affairs

The Secret State: The Rise of National Surveillance and the Conflict Between Freedom and Security

Mark Danner, Karen Paget, Robert Scheer, moderated by Edward Wasserman

Sunday, June 7


Moderated by the dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, our experts will assess the extent of threats to American liberty presented by today’s alarmingly shrouded surveillance state, and the precarious yet critical role of journalists in this context.


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  • 2015
  • Current Affairs

The Future of Sportswriting

John Branch, Mark Fainaru-Wada, Dave Zirin, moderated by Gary Pomerantz

Sunday, June 7


With issues ranging from physical safety to performance enhancing drug use, the world of sports has been undergoing major upheavals and self-reflection. This panel — moderated by Gary Pomerantz (​Their Life’s Work: the Brotherhood of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers, Then and Now) — addresses the changing challenges of covering a money-spinning industry in some of its darkest hours.


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  • 2015
  • Fiction
  • Writing & Publishing

Up Close with Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman

Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman, in conversation with Kelly Corrigan

Sunday, June 7


Marriage, writing. Writing and marriage! With kids! How in the world do they make it work? Get an insiders’ view as this well-known and much-loved literary couple talk with author and host of Medium’s digital series “Foreword.”


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  • 2015
  • International
  • Mystery, Crime & Thrillers

Nordic Noir: Crime in Cold Climes

Thomas Enger, Yrsa Sigurdardóttir, Antti Tuomainen, moderated by Cara Black

Sunday, June 7


Led by Bay Area-based Cara Black, author of the popular Aimee Leduc mystery series set in Paris, three Scandinavian masters of murder and mayhem discuss their work — from popular series to standalone stories — and our ongoing fascination with chilling thrillers set in Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden.


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  • Culture
  • International

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

Wednesday, October 14


Join us for an amazing conversation that we guarantee will lift you up! Two-time Grammy winner and Oakland native Fantastic Negrito (blues and black roots music) meets multiracial, eight-time Swedish Grammy-winning rapper (and debut author) Timbuktu — and each discovers a brother. In a highly personal conversation, these two extraordinary artists, each with a huge fan base, share their experiences of racism, fatherhood, ancestors, and what it means to be an “elder.” They talk especially about gratitude, joy, and of course the power of music. The hour includes a riveting performance clip of a full song by each of them, which they discuss.

Raised in an Orthodox Muslim household (which he left at twelve, running away into the streets of Oakland), Fantastic Negrito describes himself as “the incarnation of a musician who is reborn after going through a lot of awful s**t.” His latest album, “Have You Lost Your Mind Yet?’”, came out this past August. Fans call his music “medicine for the soul” and state, “This is the art the world should be experiencing right now” (YouTube comments).

Timbuktu’s most recent creative work was literary: the award-winning memoir A Drop of Midnight (published under his real name, Jason Diakité), which was a major bestseller in Sweden and was recently translated into English. Born to interracial American parents in Sweden, Timbuktu is part Swedish, American, black, white, Cherokee, Slovak, and German. The memoir describes his journey, both physical and emotional, into understanding his own identity — from South Carolina slavery to twenty-first-century Sweden. Readers call the memoir “heartfelt, vivid, raw and superbly written” and “magnificent” (quotes from Amazon, where the book is rated 4.4/5).

Come catch a bit of music history being made as these two renowned artists connect for the first time.


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Timbuktu (aka Jason Diakité), A Drop of Midnight

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This program is brought to you by Consulate General of Sweden, San Francisco

How the Constitution Can Save Us

Sunday, October 4



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.

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.


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  • Current Affairs
  • Food
  • Free

Food Is Fundamental

Sunday, October 4


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.

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.


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This program is brought to you by the Schmidt Family Foundation

  • Current Affairs

LIVE! Embracing the Other

Sunday, October 4


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?

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

   


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  • Culture
  • Current Affairs
  • Race/Identity
  • Women/Gender

The Radical Necessity of Nonviolence

Sunday, October 4


“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.”

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.

This program is brought to you by Literary Hub


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  • Current Affairs
  • Environment/Nature
  • Literary
  • Race/Identity
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Women/Gender

Writing a New World Into Existence: Lessons from Literary Futurism

Sunday, October 4


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.

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


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  • Current Affairs
  • Women/Gender
  • YA (Young Adult)

Protest + Print: Girls Using Words and Pictures for Activism

Sunday, October 4


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.

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


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  • Teen
  • Writing & Publishing
  • YA (Young Adult)

Unleash Your Creative Superpowers with National Novel Writing Month

Sunday, October 4


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.

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


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  • Health, Psychology & Spirituality
  • Women/Gender

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

Wednesday, September 16


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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  • Environment/Nature
  • Women/Gender

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

Tuesday, November 24


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.


This is a public rebroadcast of a live event for Women Lit members. To join Women Lit or to learn more, click here.

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Presented in partnership with: Environmental Action Committee of West Marin (EAC), Bay Nature, and the Golden Gate Audubon Society

The Last Taboo: How Wealth Changes Everything

Wednesday, October 28


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.

This is a re-broadcast of a Women Lit  member-only LIVE webinar. To be able to participate in upcoming LIVE webinars,  join Women Lit!

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

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

Wednesday, October 21


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.

This is a re-broadcast of a Women Lit  member-only LIVE webinar. To be able to participate in upcoming LIVE webinars, join Women Lit!

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

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“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”


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  • 2015
  • Current Affairs
  • Technology/Media

The Internet Is Not the Answer

Kristen V. Brown, Andrew Keen

Saturday, June 6


The Internet Is Not the Answer claims that the only real best friend today’s tech titans have is money, and until policymakers intervene, or until the ‘digital elite’ adopt a more altruistic posture, the Internet will remain a winner-take-all marketplace that’s widening a yawning gulf between society’s haves and have-nots.” (San Francisco Chronicle). Kristen V. Brown, tech reporter, seeks what is the answer.


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  • 2015
  • Culture
  • Current Affairs

Rebecca Solnit

Rebecca Solnit, Christian Frock

Saturday, June 6


She writes on topics from art to eviction, geography to feminism, environment to politics — all with impeccable, gorgeous prose. Rebecca Solnit is a Bay Area treasure, and here she is joined by Christian Frock, independent curator and author of Unexpected Art, for a free-wheeling hour of inspired conversation.


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  • Free
  • Native American
  • Teen
  • Writing & Publishing

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

Friday, August 14th


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.

  • 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


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

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Program Sponsors


  • Current Affairs
  • Health, Psychology & Spirituality
  • Literary

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

Wednesday August 5


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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  • Current Affairs
  • Voting Rights
  • YA (Young Adult)

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

Wednesday June 17


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

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  • Literary

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

Thursday June 11


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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  • Children & Families
  • International
  • Picture Book

Here Comes Ocean

Saturday June 13


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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  • Literary
  • Middle Grade
  • Writing & Publishing
  • YA (Young Adult)

2020 Bay Area Book Festival Writing Contest Showcase

Wednesday, July 15


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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  • Teen
  • YA (Young Adult)

This Thing Called Love, Part 2

Wednesday June 10


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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  • Children & Families
  • History
  • Middle Grade

The First Dinosaur

Saturday June 6


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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  • Children & Families
  • Picture Book

Two Dogs & A Kitty

Saturday June 6


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

Girls, Guts and Gadgets

Wednesday June 3


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

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  • Children & Families
  • Middle Grade
  • Teen

Book Club for Kids podcast with Anne Nesbet and Kitty Felde

Saturday May 30


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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  • Children & Families
  • Environment/Nature
  • Picture Book

In a Garden

Saturday May 30


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

This Thing Called Love, Part 1

Wednesday May 27


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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  • Children & Families
  • Picture Book

Everyone’s Awake

Saturday May 23


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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  • Race/Identity
  • Teen
  • YA (Young Adult)

Beyond Our World: Shifting Identities and Steady Hearts

Wednesday May 20


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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  • Children & Families
  • Middle Grade
  • Race/Identity

The You You’re Meant to Be

Saturday May 16


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

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  • Children & Families
  • Picture Book

A Book for Escargot

Saturday May 16


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

Our Stories, Our Voices

Wednesday May 13


“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

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  • Children & Families
  • Middle Grade

Justice for All

Saturday May 9


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

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  • Children & Families
  • History
  • Picture Book

The Fabled Life of Aesop

Saturday May 9



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

Ian Lendler, Pamela Zagarenski – The Fabled Life of Aesop

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  • Teen
  • YA (Young Adult)

Of Violence and Hope

Wednesday May 6


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

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  • Middle Grade
  • Teen
  • YA (Young Adult)

Courage and Heart in Adversity

Sunday May 3


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

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  • Children & Families
  • Culture
  • Picture Book

Music Makes a Family

Sunday May 3


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

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  • Children & Families
  • Middle Grade

Ivy and Bean Shelter in Place

Saturday May 2


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

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  • Children & Families
  • Picture Book

We’re All Part of Outside


Celebrated author Deborah Underwood (author of the New York Times best-seller The Quiet Book) and illustrator Cindy Derby collaborate with Outside In, a beautiful, imagination-sparking love letter between the inside and outside worlds. This is the perfect session for kids in the sheltering-in-place era, with its tender message of how we are all connected and part of a larger universe, even if we’re separated from it, and from each other. The School Library Journal called Outside In “a stirring invitation to play.”

Deborah Underwood & Cindy Derby – Outside In

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  • International
  • Literary
  • Women/Gender

Strange Hotel: Irish Literary Sensation Eimear McBride

Tuesday, June 16


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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  • International
  • Literary
  • Mystery, Crime & Thrillers

International Thrills: #1 Scandinavian Bestseller Lars Kepler

Tuesday, June 9


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

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  • Current Affairs
  • Health, Psychology & Spirituality
  • Literary
  • Race/Identity

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

Friday, June 5


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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  • Health, Psychology & Spirituality

Unplugging in a Virtual World: Tiffany Shlain on 24/6


At a time when we all rely on technology more than ever to work, connect, and even relax, filmmaker and author Tiffany Shlain instituted a “Tech Shabbat” for her family, and it changed their lives. What began as an experiment turned into a time-honored tradition. Each Sunday for nearly a decade, the Shlain family has let every screen in the house go dark, an act that has relit their connections with each other and made them more productive individually. In 24/6, Shlain shares the story of how her family tuned out in order to tune in, and offers lessons for how you can follow their example, delving into fascinating neurosciencintific, philosophical, and psychological justifications for the benefits of logging off one day a week. Shlain will be joined by KQED reporter Chloe Veltman, whose interactive audio project, “The VoiceBot Chronicles,” just received a Webby nomination.

Tiffany Shlain, 24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week

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  • Current Affairs
  • Race/Identity
  • Voting Rights

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

Thursday May 28


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

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  • Children & Families
  • Literary

How to Raise a Reader

Tuesday May 26


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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  • Voting Rights

SUPPRESSED: THE FIGHT TO VOTE Screening and Talkback

Tuesday May 19


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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  • Literary

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

Tuesday May 19


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

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  • Children & Families

Yes, I Can Listen

Saturday, July 11


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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  • Current Affairs
  • Voting Rights

Courts, COVID-19 & Voter Suppression

Thursday May 14


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)

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  • Children & Families
  • Current Affairs
  • Health, Psychology & Spirituality

Parenting in a Time of Crisis

Tuesday May 12


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

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  • Literary
  • Women/Gender

Sacred and Profane: Debut Novelist Chelsea Bieker on Godshot

Sunday May 10


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!

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  • Current Affairs
  • Voting Rights

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

Thursday May 7


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

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

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

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


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  • Literary
  • Mystery, Crime & Thrillers

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

Tuesday May 5


“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

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  • Health, Psychology & Spirituality

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

Sunday May 3


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

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  • Current Affairs
  • Voting Rights

Vote At Home with Amber McReynolds and Jesse Wegman

Friday May 1st



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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  • History
  • International
  • Teen
  • YA (Young Adult)

Heroism in the Face of Tragedy

Saturday July 11


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

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners

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


Watch the full episode here


  • Current Affairs
  • History
  • Teen
  • YA (Young Adult)

The Kids Are Alright: History Lights the Way Forward

Saturday June 27


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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  • Literary
  • Women/Gender

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

Thursday, July 16th


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

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners


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  • Children & Families
  • Free
  • Middle Grade
  • Teen

Book to Podcast: The Fina Mendoza Mysteries

Saturday, June 20


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

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners


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  • 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


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

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners


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  • Free
  • Writing & Publishing

Ready, Set, Publish with Courtney Maum

Tuesday, June 30th


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!

Order your copies from one of our independent bookstore partners


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  • Free
  • Health, Psychology & Spirituality
  • Women/Gender

A Time for Transformation: Redefining Aging with Louise Aronson

Thursday, June 18th


 “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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  • Current Affairs
  • Food
  • Free

Food for Thought: Will Restaurants Survive?

Thursday, July 2nd



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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  • 2019
  • Current Affairs
  • Race/Identity

The Unbreakable Human Spirit: Albert Woodfox on Survival in Solitary

Albert Woodfox interviewed by Shane Bauer

Sunday, May 5


One of the “Angola 3,” Albert Woodfox endured four decades of solitary confinement for a crime he did not commit. While his story has been profiled by many publications, today we have an opportunity to hear from him directly. From the epilogue of his just-published memoir, “Solitary,” come these powerful words: “To those of you who are just entering the world of social struggle, welcome. To those of you who have spent years struggling for human rights and social justice, don’t give up. Look at me and see how the strength and determination of the human spirit defies all evil.” In our closing keynote session, Woodfox will be interviewed by Mother Jones reporter Shane Bauer, author of “American Prison” and himself a survivor of solitary confinement when he was arrested in Iran and held for two years in the notorious Evin Prison.

Introduced by Kate Harrison, Berkeley City Council Member (Downtown).


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  • 2019
  • Literary
  • Race/Identity

A Conversation with Tayari Jones

Tayari Jones interviewed by Brooke Warner

Sunday, May 5


Few writers have captured the spirit of the American South—its heart, its small-town intimacy, its scars from centuries of institutional racism—like Tayari Jones. Jones has the power to “touch us soul to soul with her words,” said Oprah, who dubbed Jones’ newest book, “An American Marriage,” a Book Club pick for 2018. In her novels, Jones takes these scars, including traumas around wrongful incarceration, and rubs them raw, creating masterful works of fiction with the power to transform a reader. She is interviewed by Brooke Warner of She Writes Press.

This program will have ASL interpreters.

Sponsored by She Writes Press; also with the support of Women Lit members


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  • 2019
  • ASL Interpreted programming
  • Current Affairs
  • History
  • Race/Identity

The Business of Brutality: Slavery and the Foundations of Capitalism

2019 Pulitzer Prize winner David Blight, Stephanie Jones-Rogers, Caitlin Rosenthal, moderated by Jennifer D. King

Sunday, May 5


Look around. How much of our infrastructure—from roads and bridges to factories and food supplies—was built on the backs of American slaves? Three writer-researchers examine how the brutal history of slavery laid the foundation of American capitalism and shaped today’s racial and economic inequality. In “They Were Her Property,” Stephanie Jones-Rogers reveals the active role that white women played in the American slave economy. In “Accounting for Slavery,” Caitlin Rosenthal examines how elite planters turned their power over enslaved people into a productivity advantage. In “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom,” which just won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for history, David Blight investigates the legacy of the escaped slave and abolitionist, who wrote, “The white man’s happiness cannot be purchased by the black man’s misery.”

Sponsored by the Stephen M. Silberstein Foundation


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  • 2019
  • Free
  • Native American
  • YA (Young Adult)

Rattlesnake Wins Hummingbird’s Heart: A Word for Word Performance

Greg Sarris and Native youth of Sonoma County

Sunday, May 5


FREE — Experience indigenous legends the way they were passed down—through oral tradition. Word for Word Performing Arts Company is an ensemble whose mission is to tell great stories with elegant theatricality, staging performances of classic and contemporary fiction. Today’s performance features Native youth from Sonoma County presenting an adaptation of the story “Rattlesnake Wins Hummingbird’s Heart” from Greg Sarris’s collection “How a Mountain Was Made,” indigenous stories from Sonoma Mountain. How does a creature as lowly as Rattlesnake win the beautiful Hummingbird? What key does Rattlesnake possess? Come find out. Performance is 45 minutes, followed by discussion.

Sponsored by the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria


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  • 2019
  • International
  • Literary

Literary Bravery: Sleepwalkers, Ghosts, and Radical Storytelling from Three International Luminaries

Dorothee Elmiger, Laura Lindstedt, Mike McCormack, moderated by Anita Felicelli

Sunday, May 5


Seven women meet in a white void immediately after death…. A man, not realizing he’s dead, narrates his entire life in a single, riveting sentence…. Voices mingle in a shadowy forest, talking of borders, illegal crossings, and the market value of human beings. Take a liminal literary journey with three writers, who will describe how they created such brave, rule-breaking works of the imagination. Winners of the Finlandia Prize, the Goldsmiths Prize, and the Swiss Literature Award respectively, these international voices are taking the literary world by storm.

With the support of FILI – Finnish Literature Exchange; the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation; Culture Ireland; the initiative “Wunderbar Together,“ initiated by the German Federal Foreign Office, the Goethe Institut, and supported by the Federation of German Industries (BDI); Goethe-Institut’s translation support program “Books First”; the Consulate General of Switzerland in San Francisco; and Pro Helvetia


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  • 2019
  • ASL Interpreted programming
  • Current Affairs
  • Literary
  • Writing & Publishing

Courage in Publishing in an Age of Political Polarization

Kwame Anthony Appiah, Jane Ciabattari, John Freeman, Carlos Lozada, Michael Naumann, Emily Nemens, moderated by Cherilyn Parsons

Sunday, May 5


This roundtable brings together some of the leading lights in publishing to discuss the industry and the state of literature. Kwame Anthony Appiah is the weekly Ethicist columnist for The New York Times and author of “The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity.” Jane Ciabattari is former president of the National Book Critics Circle and books columnist for BBC Culture and Literary Hub. John Freeman is a poet, author, former editor of Granta, and editor of Freeman’s literary journal. Carlos Lozada is the nonfiction book critic for The Washington Post and just won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for criticism. Michael Naumann has been the German secretary of culture, publisher of Die Zeit, and publisher at Rowohlt Verlag; at Henry Holt & Company in the 1990s he was involved in publishing Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses.” Emily Nemens is a writer and editor of The Paris Review. Moderator Cherilyn Parsons is the founder and director of the Bay Area Book Festival.

This program will have ASL interpreters.


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With support from the initiative "Wunderbar Together,“ initiated by the German Federal Foreign Office and the Goethe Institut, and supported by the Federation of German Industries (BDI)