Book lovers of the Bay Area, rejoice — the 8th annual Bay Area Book Festival, in partnership with the San Francisco Chronicle, announced its lineup of speakers and events on Friday. Following two years of virtual programming because of the coronavirus pandemic, Northern California’s biggest literary festival will return to its Downtown Berkeley grounds for an in-person celebration of literature on May 7 and 8.
This year, the festival will be offering 70 indoor programs and 27 programs on the outdoor stages at Berkeley’s Civic Center Park from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. each day. For those who are outside of the Bay Area or who otherwise cannot physically be there, virtual passes to access livestreams of the in-person events are available for purchase on the festival website, along with the regular admission tickets and weekend passes for attendees in Berkeley.
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Author Kim Stanley Robinson, heralded as one of the greatest living science-fiction writers, will showcase his upcoming new book, “The High Sierra: A Love Story,” in a multimedia presentation with photography and video footage. Similarly, famed author and cultural critic Rebecca Solnit will discuss her latest book “Orwell’s Roses,” which asserts that true justice and equity require resources not only for the body, but also for the mind and soul.
With support from the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria and the Canadian Consulate General of San Francisco/Silicon Valley, the festival will offer a wider range of discussions about Native American issues, stories and characters this year. The program will be kicked off by naturalist, writer and illustrator Obi Kaufmann, who authored the bestselling “California Field Atlas,” and Greg Sarris, chairman of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria and author of the forthcoming memoir “Becoming Story: A Journey Among Seasons, Places, Trees and Ancestors,” with a conversation about the past, present and future of California and Indigenous practices for protecting its natural treasures.
The festival program also includes speaker events featuring the likes of Jasmine Guillory, the Oakland-based author of the New York Times bestselling novel “The Proposal”; Grant Faulkner, the founder of the National Novel Writing Month (commonly known as NaNoWriMo); Booker Prize winner Jokha Alharthi, who is the first Omani woman whose literary work has been translated into English; as well as National Book Award finalists Hanif Abdurraqib and Douglas Kearney, who will turn all preexisting notions of poetry upside down to uncover hidden meaning; among many other brilliant writers in conversation with journalists from the Chronicle.
The festival additionally promises to deliver events geared toward drawing in younger audiences, with programming extending to children, teens and young adults. Bestselling authors Dhonielle Clayton (“The Belles”) and E. Lockhart (“We Were Liars”) will engage readers in a conversation about suspense fiction, while a young adult romance panel featuring authors Casey McQuiston (“Red, White & Royal Blue”) and Suzanne Park (“The Perfect Escape”) will dive into diverse love stories. Alphabet Rockers, Oakland’s two-time Grammy-nominated hip-hop children’s music collective, will present a dynamic reading of their first published book “You Are Not Alone.”
The 2022 Bay Area Book Festival takes place 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 7 and 8 at various locations in Downtown Berkeley. The outdoor book fair is free, while tickets to the indoor literary programs are $15 for a weekend pass and $12 for a single event. Tickets to stream individual events online are $5 each. To view the full weekend schedule, learn more about the speakers and COVID-19 precautions and purchase tickets, visit the festival website at http://baybookfest.org.