Find Your Favorite Authors at the 2016 Bay Area Book Festival

Ronnie's Awesome List presents a guest article from Tara Taylor, founder of Bring Them Along, an alternative parenting website for Bay Area parents. Tara shares her top tips for this years exciting Bay Area Book Festival.



On June 4 & 5, Berkeley celebrates the book with the second annual Bay Area Book Festival. Launched last year, the festival celebrated books with author talks, free book giveaways, and street vendors selling everything from book-themed artwork to bookmarks and shelving. 

This year there are nearly double the amount of vendors and the writer talks are selling out fast ($5 for reserved seating.) The festival takes place along Center Street and Milvia Street and includes Shattuck Avenue and Oxford Street (making use of the new BAMPFA building) with an entertainment stage featuring music and spoken word. 

Make sure you stop by Civic Center Park on Center Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Way to view and interact with the Lacuna Art Installation, a unique art piece that features flying books and shelves of free books for attendees to take home.

After receiving feedback from last year, the festival has spaced out the author talks so that book lovers are not running all over town trying to make it from one venue to the next. Priority seating tickets for author discussions are already selling out, but if you are short on cash there will still be free seats for those who wait in line. This year’s main event is an evening with Saul Williams (unfortunately it's already sold out), but there are tons of author readings and discussions you won’t want to miss. 

📚 Children & Teens 📚

Photo by Richard Friedman

Photo by Richard Friedman

Similar to last year’s event, majority of the kids’ stuff will be at Civic Center Park. Children can catch performances by the Oakland Youth Chorus, Frisco Fred (juggling), or watch a puppet show. Award-winning author Sherman Alexie introduces his first picture book “Thunder Boy Jr.” on Sunday. 

Author talks include Megan McDonald (author of Stink and Judy Moody), Gutsy Girls: Roadmaps to Adventure with Caroline Paul and Wendy MacNaughton; Inshallah! A Celebration of Muslims in Children’s Literature with Hena Khan, Zahra Noorbakhsh, and N.H. Senzai

Kids can also stock up on books from Mr. Mopps’ Children’s Books, Moonview Press or Chronicle Books. The East Bay Children’s Book Project will be handing out free books to kids and teens. 

Saturday’s discussion with “American Born Chinese” author and National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature, Gene Luen Yang is a must if you are comic book fan. 

📚 Grownups 📚

If you were one of the few who were able to score Saul Williams tickets bravo! But those who didn’t the Bay Area Book Festival lineup is thick with amazing writers. There are still tickets available to Saturday’s Shipwrecked, an erotic fan fiction presentation of Sherlock Holmes. Six authors will pick apart one of the most beloved fictional detectives of all time, adding in some saucy details and tons of flamboyant language. The event is ages 21 and up. 


📕 Girls and Sex: Mona Eltahway and Peggy Orenstein, interviewed by Sylvia Brownrigg

📙 Writers on Motherhood: Rivka Galchen and Sarah Manguso, moderated by Rachel Richardson

📒 The Future of Publishing: Mark Coker, Christin Evans, Jack Jensen, and Lise Quintana, moderated by Brook Warner

📗 Juan Felipe Herrera, U.S. Poet Laureate


📘 A History of Violence: KALW’s “Your Call” with Oscar Martinez and Rose Aguilar

📗 “The Emperor of Lies” A Masterwork of Holocaust Fiction: Steve Sem-Sandberg interviewed by Daniel Schifrin

📒True Stories, Told Exceedingly Well: Frances Dinkelspiel, Frances Stroh, and Stefan Thunberg, moderated by Monica Wesolowska

📙 Good Girls Write Bad: Cara Black, Lisa Brackmann, Kati Hiekkapelto, and Terry Shames, moderated by M.P Cooley

The Bay Area Book Festival takes place June 4 & June 5, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., downtown Berkeley. Saturday the farmer’s market on Center Street will be open from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. and parking will be sparse. The Festival is a short walk from BART and public transportation is strongly encouraged. For general festival news and updates, follow #Baybookfest on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Tara Taylor is the founder of Bring Them Along, an alternative parenting website for Bay Area parents. For over ten years, Tara has been sharing her "secrets" of how to have a good time with the kids in tow. Her articles have been featured in Parents' Press, Oakland Magazine, BerkeleySide and YourBerkeley. Learn more about the Bring Them Along visit the website or on Twitter

Tara Taylor