Some 50,000 book lovers turned out for the Bay Area’s very first book festival earlier this month, an event three years in the planning and spearheaded by Berkeley writer Cherilyn Parsons. The two-day Bay Area Book Festival, a fiscally sponsored project of Community Partners, featured 300 local, national and international authors in 145 keynotes, interviews, panels and performances on indoor and outdoor stages throughout a 10-block radius of downtown Berkeley. A unique book ‘sculpture’, pictured here, drew book lovers who were invited to take the installation’s free books home with them.
“It was really hard to get something new off the ground for the first time, to encourage people to invest in something they hadn't seen,” says Parsons. “In the end it was a very small staff and dozens of committed volunteers who made the festival into the huge success it became. Community Partners believed in this project early on, before anyone else did, and helped realize it along the way."