Berkeley Public Library Foundation

Featured Authors

In February the Foundation held the 15th Annual Authors Dinner. To mark this very special anniversary double-Pulitzer-Prize winning author T.J. Stiles was this year’s Honorary Chair, and we asked 31 other authors from earlier dinners to return for this Gala Celebration!

T. J. Stiles, AUTHORS DINNER 2017

T. J. Stiles is the Honorary Chairperson for this, the 15th Authors Dinner. He won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for History for his biography Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America, and also awarded the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt. Stiles practices and teaches Japanese Shotokan karate and holds a 5th dan. He lives in Berkeley.

Mac Barnett, AUTHORS DINNER 2017

Mac Barnett has written more than 24 children’s books including two Caldecott-Honor-winning collaborations with illustrator Jon Klassen. He writes two series; the Brixton Brothers mystery novels for which we honored him in 2014 and the Terrible Two series with Jory John. How This Book Was Made is newly published and Noisy Night and Triangle are coming in 2017. Mac lives in Berkeley.

Sam Barry, AUTHORS DINNER 2017

Sam Barry is the author of the humor-inspiration book How to Play the Harmonica and Other Life Lessons. He’s even taught some of us to play the harmonica in his AfterWORDS session! He’s a contributing editor at Zyzzyva, the author series liaison at Book Passage, and he serves on the Litquake board. He plays in and around San Francisco with the all-author rock band the Rock Bottom Remainders and was at the 11th Authors Dinner.

Sylvia Brownrigg, Authors Dinner 2017

Sylvia Brownrigg was a guest at the 8th Authors Dinner where she was honored for her first novel, The Metaphysical Touch. Since that time, she has gone on to write five more works of fiction including the upcoming novel Pages for Her. Her children’s book Kepler’s Dream was recently made into a feature film. Brownrigg has taught at the American University in Paris and has been widely published as reviewer and critic in The New York Times Book Review, The Times Literary Supplement, The Guardian, and in other review sources. She and her family live in Berkeley.

Karima Cammell and Clint Marsh, AUTHORS DINNER 2017

Karima Cammell was honored at the 11th Authors Dinner for her grand illustrated adventure novel, Pirate and Hoopoe. She is an author, painter, book publisher, and Berkeley resident. This year she joins us with Clint Marsh co-author of their new book The Troll Cookbook: A Taste of Something Different. Clint is interested in elements of myth, magic, and folklore and is the editor of Fiddler’s Green Peculiar Parish Magazine. Karima and her staff at Castle in the Air, her shop and atelier on Berkeley’s Fourth Street, created the centerpieces fashioned from paper model reproductions and from books that were the sensation of the Authors Dinner in 2013 and again in 2015.

Jon Carroll, AUTHORS DINNER 2017

Jon Carroll wrote a beloved daily column for the San Francisco Chronicle for over 30 years. His columns were noted for their quirky sense of humor, candor, and curiosity about life in the Bay Area. Carroll was honored at the 3rd Authors Dinner. After his time at the Chronicle, Jon turned his thoughts to creating his always illuminating blog Jon Carroll Prose. He lives in Oakland with his wife, Tracy Johnston, who will also be at this year’s Dinner. Both are loyal Authors Dinner supporters.

Jeff Chang, AUTHORS DINNER 2017

Jeff Chang writes about culture, politics, the arts, and music. His recent works look at the ideas of diversity, roots of student protest, and racial justice. He is the Executive Director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University. He graduated from UC Berkeley and was first honored at the 7th Authors Dinner for his book Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation. His most recent book is We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Segregation.

Belva Davis, AUTHORS DINNER 2017

Belva Davis attended Berkeley High School before going on to become the first black female TV news anchor on the West Coast. She wrote Never in My Wildest Dreams: A Black Woman’s Life in Journalism. In her lengthy career, she reported on Berkeley student protests and the birth of the Black Panthers, among other events, and has won eight Emmy Awards. She was the Honorary Chairperson of the Authors Dinner in 2012.

Dave Eggers, Authors Dinner 2017

Dave Eggers is the author of Heroes of the FrontierThe Circle; and A Hologram for the King, which was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award. Your Fathers, Where are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? was short-listed for the International Dublin Literary Award. He is the founder of McSweeney’s, the publishing house, and cofounder of: Voice of Witness, a series of books using oral history to illuminate human rights crises around the world. He is the cofounder of educational nonprofits 826 National and ScholarMatch, and was the 2015 Amnesty International chair.

David Lance Goines, AUTHORS DINNER 2017

David Lance Goines, honored at the 10th Authors Dinner, he has donated many of his posters to the Authors Dinner. Goines attended UC Berkeley, was expelled because of his participation in the Free Speech Movement, and went on to found Saint Hieronymus Press, publisher of his posters. His style is synonymous with Berkeley.

Alison Gopnik, AUTHORS DINNER 2017

Alison Gopnik is both a professor of psychology and an affiliate professor of philosophy at UC Berkeley. She is an internationally recognized leader in the study of children’s learning and development. Honored at the 8th Authors Dinner for her book The Philosophical Baby: What Children’s Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life, her most recent book is The Gardener and the Carpenter. She lives in Berkeley.

Thacher Hurd, AUTHORS DINNER 2017

Berkeley artist and author Thacher Hurd is the creator of children’s picture books including Mama Don’t Allow, Art Dog, and Cat’s Pajamas. He was honored at the 1st Authors Dinner in 2003 and created the art used in the posters and publicity for that event. He has designed the artwork for this year’s Authors Dinner as well. Bongo Fishing is his most recent book.

Tracy Johnston, AUTHORS DINNER 2017

Photographer and journalist Tracy Johnston was first honored at the 3rd Authors Dinner for her book Shooting the Boh. She is married to retired San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll, who will also be at this year’s Dinner. She and Jon have supported the Authors Dinner and the Foundation by hosting several literary events.

Jesse Kellerman, AUTHORS DINNER 2017

Jesse Kellerman was at the Authors Dinner on 2014 celebrating his thriller novel Potboiler. He’s an award winning playwright and the oldest son of bestselling mystery novelists Faye Kellerman and Jonathan Kellerman. He recently co-authored two books with his father The Golem of Hollywood and The Golem of Paris. Jesse studied psychology at Harvard, was lead guitarist in the indie rock band Don’t Shoot the Dog, and lives in Berkeley with his wife and son.

Dacher Keltner, AUTHORS DINNER 2017

Dacher Keltner is the founding director of the Greater Good Science Center and a professor of psychology at UC Berkeley. He received his doctorate from Stanford University. Recently he collaborated with the directors at Pixar in preparation for making the animated film Inside Out. He was honored at the 8th Authors Dinner for his book Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life. The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence is his new book. He lives in Berkeley.

Maxine Hong Kingston, AUTHORS DINNER 2017

Maxine Hong Kingston has been to three Authors Dinners including the 3rd Authors Dinner when she was the Honorary Chairperson. She is an author, feminist, chronicler of the Asian American experience, and professor emerita at UC Berkeley. She has received the National Humanities Medal and was awarded the 2013 National Medal of Arts by President Obama.

George Lakoff, AUTHORS DINNER 2017

George Lakoff was honored at the 3rd Authors Dinner for Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think, now in its third edition. Recently retired as Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at UC Berkeley, he is the author of more than ten books, including Don’t Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate, Metaphors We Live By, and Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things.

Malcolm Margolin, AUTHORS DINNER 2017

Author Malcolm Margolin was honored at the very first Authors Dinner in 2003. He was awarded the Cody Award at the 8th Authors Dinner as “a linchpin of Berkeley’s literary community and founder of Heyday Press.” He has received countless other awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the San Francisco Bay Area Book Reviewers. Margolin is a generous supporter of all things literary, including the Authors Dinner.

Bharati Mukherjee, AUTHORS DINNER 2017

Bharati Mukherjee, author of Miss New India, an award winning Indian-born American writer and a professor emerita in the English Department at UC Berkeley. She has written novels, essays, short stories, memoirs and nonfiction covering the immigrant experience, her Indian heritage, multiculturalism, and writing theory. She was honored at both the 1st and 10th Authors Dinners. Sadly, Mukherjee passed away a few weeks before this years event. She will be missed greatly.

Richard A. Muller, AUTHORS DINNER 2017

Richard A. Muller is a professor of physics at UC Berkeley and also a senior scientist the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. In 2010 he and his daughter founded Berkeley Earth, a foundation to address issues of climate change. He has attended Burning Man and has received UC Berkeley’s distinguished teaching award for his course “Physics for Future Presidents”. His new work is Now, The Physics of Time. He was previously honored at the 9th Authors Dinner.

Geoffrey Nunberg, AUTHORS DINNER 2017

Geoffrey Nunberg is an American linguist, researcher, and adjunct professor at UC Berkeley. He explores common language and its ever-changing nature in his writings and on National Public Radio’s Fresh Air. Nunberg was honored at the 8th Authors Dinner for his book The Years of Talking Dangerously. He joins us with his new book Ascent of the A-Word.

Ann Packer, AUTHORS DINNER 2017

Ann Packer is a novelist and short story writer. Her book The Dive from Clausen’s Pier received the Kate Chopin Literary Award and was honored at the 2nd Authors Dinner. In addition to fiction, Packer has written for the Washington Post, Vogue, Real Simple, and O, the Oprah Magazine. Her latest book is the much praised The Children’s Crusade.

Cal Peternell, AUTHORS DINNER 2017

Cal Peternell has been cooking at Chez Panisse for more than 20 years, first in the café and now as the chef of the downstairs restaurant. In 2015 we honored him for his book Twelve Recipes and he returns this year with A Recipe for Cooking where he gives you everything you need to know to cook for big get-togethers, for holidays, and for special occasions. He and his wife Kathleen Henderson have three sons and live in the Bay Area.

Leonard Pitt, AUTHORS DINNER 2017

Leonard Pitt studied mime in Paris in the ‘60s, pursued mask theater in Bali in the’70s, became director of a school for physical theater in Berkeley through the ‘80s, and created Eco-Rap, an environmental education program in the ‘90s. An author of three books about Paris, he continues to live and teach in Berkeley. His latest book, a memoir, My Brain On Fire, came out last March.First honored at the 6th Authors Dinner, he has been a consistent Berkeley Public Library supporter.

Ishmael Reed, AUTHORS DINNER 2017

Ishmael Reed is the author of thirty books to date, including his eleventh nonfiction work, The Complete Muhammad Ali (2015). A MacArthur Fellow and San Francisco’s first Jazz Poet Laureate, he is a publisher, songwriter, public media commentator, lecturer, playwright, and founder of the Before Columbus Foundation and PEN Oakland, non-profit organizations run by writers for writers. He has taught at UC Berkeley and the California College of the Arts. He was honored at the 2nd and 10th Authors Dinners for Blues City: A Walk in Oakland and Juice: A Novel.

Robert Reich, AUTHORS DINNER 2017

Robert Reich is returning to the Authors Dinner for the third time. Reich was Secretary of Labor under Clinton and is a former economic advisor to President Obama. He is currently Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. He has also published 14 books, and is a frequent political commentator and columnist. As a dinner host, Reich has supported the Authors Dinner and the Berkeley Public Library Foundation on numerous occasions. His most recent book is Saving Capitalism:For the Many Not the Few.

Elizabeth Rosner, Authors Dinner 2017

Elizabeth Rosner is a bestselling novelist, poet, and essayist living in Berkeley, California. She was honored at the 5th Authors Dinner for her novel Blue Nude. Her third novel, Electric City, was published in Fall 2014 and named among the best books of the year by NPR. Her acclaimed poetry collection, Gravity, was also published in Fall 2014. A graduate of Stanford and former college writing instructor, Rosner now writes full-time.

Joel Selvin, AUTHORS DINNER 2017

Joel Selvin is a San Francisco-based music critic and author. His weekly music column appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle from 1972-2009; he has also written a variety of books on pop music. He was honored at the 5th Authors Dinner for his book The Summer of Love. Altamont is his new book. Selvin was born in Berkeley, attended Berkeley High School, and has performed with the Rock Bottom Remainders, a rock and roll band composed solely of published writers.

Terry Shames, AUTHORS DINNER 2017

Terry Shames grew up in Texas and has an abiding affection for the people she grew up with and the town in which her grandparents lived. That history forms the background for her Samuel Craddock mystery series. We celebrated the third volume in that series at Authors Dinner 13 and she’s now up to the sixth, An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock. She lives in Berkeley with her husband, two rowdy terriers, and a cat.

Gail Tsukiyama, AUTHORS DINNER 2017

Gail Tsukiyama has written seven novels including A Hundred Flowers for which she was honored at the 11th Authors Dinner. She was born in San Francisco, has been a lecturer at San Francisco State University and Mills College. She lives in El Cerrito. Her awards include the Academy of Poets Award, the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award for Literary Excellence, and the Asian Pacific Leadership Award.

Vendela Vida, AUTHORS DINNER 2017

Vendela Vida was at the 2nd and 9th Authors Dinners, honored for her novels And Now You Can Go and The Lovers: A Novel. She has now written or edited six books, is a writing teacher, and is the founding editor of The Believer magazine. With her husband Dave Eggers, she wrote the screenplay for Away We Go the film directed by Sam Mendes. Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty is her most recent book.