Cherilyn Parsons is executive director of the Bay Area Book Festival, which she founded out of a lifelong passion for literature. Previously she helped to build the field of nonprofit journalism; during her tenure at the Center for Investigative Reporting, the group was awarded the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, dubbed the “genius grant” for organizations. She has traveled extensively around the world, often solo, to places as far flung as Tibet, Zanzibar, and Russia via the Trans-Siberian Express. Holding an MFA in writing from USC, she has published features and reviews in publications such as The Los Angeles Times and The San Francisco Chronicle. She lives in Berkeley, California.