Former U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins, beloved Bay Area novelist Isabel Allende and decorated U.S. Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster – the second of Donald Trump’s four national security advisers so far – are among some 30 participants in the upcoming Sonoma Valley Authors Festival, a third annual event being held for the first time, by necessity, online.
The free series of conversations and interviews launches at noon July 13 with author Julia Flynn Siler in a discussion with Min Jin Lee, whose epic novel “Pachinko” is a heart-rending tale about abused Koreans living under Japanese domination in the first half of the 20th century. Siler, whose “The White Devil’s Daughters” is a gripping nonfiction account of a struggle to liberate Chinese young girls and women from the sex trade in early 20th-century San Francisco, will be a featured author herself at 2 p.m. the following day.
The festival continues through July 27, with multiple events taking place only on weekdays. Other participants include law professor and historian Jeffrey Rosen, whose seventh work of nonfiction is “Conversations with RGB: Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life, Love, Liberty and the Law” (noon on July 15); Sonoma’s Readers’ Books owner Andy Weinberger, whose Amos Parisman mystery series continues with the upcoming “Reason to Kill” (2 p.m. July 15); and Berkeley journalist and historian Adam Hochschild, author of “Rebel Cinderella: From Rags to Riches to Radical, the Epic Journey of Rose Pastor Stokes,” who will be interviewed by Allende at 2 p.m. July 20. (Allende will have her own conversation with travel writer Don George about her new book, “The Long Petal of the Sea,” at 2 p.m. on the festival’s opening day.
Collins, author of 12 poetry collections, including “The Rain in Portugal” and “Sailing Alone Around the Room,” will be featured at noon on July 16; McMaster will speak about “Battlegrounds,” which will publish in September and cover his 34 years of Army service and his yearlong stint in the White House, at 3:30 p.m. July 17.
One author who will be appearing twice is the National Geographic Society’s celebrated explorer, photographer and filmmaker Wade Davis. At noon July 20, he will talk about his upcoming work, “Magdalena: River of Dreams, a Story of Colombia.”
His discussion at 2 p.m. July 24 will be focused on his 2011 Samuel Johnson Prize-winner “Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest,” about the British veterans of World War I who heroically but tragically began an expedition up the fearsome peak’s North face in 1924.
As a convenience for the audience, registering for the festival is required once for admission to all events.