Festival Newsletter: September 2017

Next Festival: April 28-29, 2018!


We know you’ve been staring longingly at your 2017 Bay Area Book Festival program since June. We appreciate the love, but we’re here to tell you to snap out of it because we’re back with a BIG announcement — our 2018 festival will take place April 28-29. Be sure to mark your calendar now because you won’t want to miss it!

This Spring date is a bit of a departure from our early June tradition, we know. But now your book lust will be satisfied much sooner! Mostly we made the switch to reflect a much stronger partnership with UC Berkeley. In late April, the spring semester will still be underway, and we expect tens of thousands of students as well as many more faculty to join you at the festival.

Don’t worry, as a newsletter subscriber you’ll hear immediately when tickets are available. We expect that to be around the Ides of March (that’s March 15, for those who have forgotten their Roman history or Shakespeare… for shame! Or maybe you thought it referred merely to a George Clooney movie?)

Want to relive your favorite moments from this past June’s festival? Our two-minute video (click the photo above!) can take you down literary-memory lane — and inspire you afresh. Sneak peek: Roxane Gay on hunger, Paul Hawkenon coming together, Cory Doctorow on why he writes. Transforming fear, radical hope, laughter, and an emphatic “yes” from a Pulitzer Prize winner. YES!

Wish you could experience more than just a few seconds of your favorite sessions from last summer’s festival? Your wish is our command. Find full-length recordings of some of our most enthralling sessions, from an hour with Denmark’s #1 crime writer to a panel on race and resistance in the Trump era, on our site under “Program”.

And to come: We have hours and hours of audio from last year’s festival that we’re planning to put in podcast form. More info coming soon!

Noteworthy: 10 Lit Links Worth Reading

1. John Green, one of the biggest names in Young Adult fiction, has thrown us a bone. You can check out an excerpt from his upcoming novelTurtles All the Way Downnow. 2. No one wants their messy drafts read by others, but the English fantasy author Terry Pratchett was insistent: His last wish was that his unfinished books be steamrolled. Literally, hard drives and pages crushed by a steamroller.  3. Love parties? Plugging the new book The Party, Elizabeth Day writes on the party as literary device4. Don’t like parties, or just prefer them in books? When books are your best friends. 5. In a sea of “fake news,” you can trust us on this one: the terrifying truth about journalists6. Santino Hassell is here to shake up a genre with his wildly popular queer romance novels. 7.Remember “Reading Rainbow,” the ubiquitous children’s show starring LeVar Burton? He’s back with a new podcast billed as “Reading Rainbow” for adults 8. Our reality may be just as strange as fiction, according to this analysis of Trump through the lens of an author creating an acutely insecure character. 9. The tragic story of Willie Grimes, who spent 24 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, finally gets a book. 10. The Parthenon of Banned Books is made with 100,000 copies of 170 banned books, built on a site where Nazis burned books.

Remember the Alta Stage at the book festival? That was just a tease.

Alta itself is an actual publication — a beautiful, oversized print magazine (think New York Review of Books size), robust website, and event series — and it will debut October 3. Top writers and artists will contribute insightful stories and breathtaking visuals to each quarterly issue, a gorgeous whirlwind of news, culture, literature, art, history, lifestyle, and everything else that is quintessentially California. A sort of The New Yorker for the West,Alta offers rich and witty viewpoints from across our state.

Alta has offered Bay Area Book Festival subscribers a free copy! Get yours at AltaOnline.com. (By the way, we mean an honest-to-God complimentary issue. No sneaky recurring credit card charge for your first issue, because that’s no gift at all.) This limited-time offer ends Sept. 22!

Mark your calendars before you get too booked!

When it comes to books — and opportunities to delve into fulfilling conversations about them — we’re insatiable. Here are some ways to feed that hunger in the coming months:

The intellectual extravaganza that is the Berkeleyside Uncharted Festival of Ideas is back! From October 27-28, the Uncharted Berkeley Festival of Ideas will transform Downtown Berkeley into a destination for all who want to explore the most intriguing ideas and solutions to today’s big challenges with some of the edgiest, most creative thinkers out there. Put on by award-winning local news site Berkeleyside, the Fall festival promises to engage attendees in one-of-a-kind conversations between big thinkers from all walks of life (including Christian Picciolini on deradicalizing neo-Nazis, Allyson Hobbs on the history of racial passing, and Bandak Lul on the refugee experience).

The Los Gatos Irish Writers’ Festival, October 5-8, brings illustrious published authors and big thinkers from the hills of Ireland to our very own. The festival promises fascinating speakers, workshops, writing contests, Irish dancing lessons for the kids, and more. Explore topics like the representation of Jewish people in Irish literature, Irish fighters in South American bids for independence and their long-lasting influence on the region, and the Irish diaspora to and through the United States. (Also, the chance to win free tickets to Dublin? Yes, please!)

Here’s what we’re reading:

“An American Sickness” by Elisabeth Rosenthal
A New York Times medical reporter reveals every aspect of the health careless industry (whoops, typo — health care industry) and then gets super practical, down to checklists that just may save your life (but certainly your pocketbook). Get the book now; trust us, you’ll use it. See what the Washington Post and theNew York Times had to say about Rosenthal’s revelations.


“Fierce Kingdom” by Gin Phillips
A mother and young kid trapped in a zoo by two shooters: that’s the situation in Gin Phillips’ “Fierce Kingdom”. Yikes. But what blew us away was how she described the bond between a mother and child: like one body.

Hear Phillips talk about her novel and writing process here!


“Survivor Cafe: The Legacy of Trauma and the Labyrinth of Memory” by Elizabeth Rosner
“Never forget,” said the world about the Holocaust and other atrocities. But what happens when survivors pass away? Berkeley’s own Elizabeth Rosner takes us on an unforgettable journey through multi-generational trauma and healing. Reading it is a responsibility and privilege; thank you, Liz!

Are you ready to help build a beautiful festival?

Lots of people have been emailing about exhibiting or speaking at the next festival. Exhibitor applications will be available on our website on Nov. 1, but for a reminder, sign up by email on our website to receive the application once it’s live. The speaker nominations form is already available.

A Poem for You Right Now

“She Would Untitle This” by Tongo Eisen-Martin

Order Tongo Eisen Martin’s new book Heaven is All Goodbyes, coming out this very week from City Lights Publishers. Enjoy this selection, used with permission.

She Would Untitle This

Rooftops were not for chasers

But rather for

a rusty small pistol in her purse

Next to his cigarettes

She made her own dresses

He is not her type

It is never Friday night in her apartment

Sleepy luck

Cigarette sleeping on his lip

A man with no future 

Kick drum only 

Solo in brick

Love survives the summer

Read on!

Bay Area Book Festival

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