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“By the end of the day, my mind was overflowing with ideas and my heart was bursting with civic pride.” —Dashka Slater, journalist
“By the end of the day, my mind was overflowing with ideas and my heart was bursting with civic pride.” —Dashka Slater, journalist
58 backers pledged $15,096 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

$15,096

58

The Oakland Book Festival

“This is the book festival the East Bay has been waiting for!”—Nayomi Munaweera, novelist

“Where can a war reporter share an intense conversation about war and violence—with two novelists—and continue the discussion in the sunshine over bratwursts from the food truck outside? Only at the Oakland Book Festival.”—Mark Danner, journalist

“A conclave convened upon a kaleidoscopic aural summit sans the rhetoric of commercial devitalization.”—Will Alexander, poet 

Free. Open. Public.

Audience, Hearing Room 2, City Hall, OBF 2015.
Audience, Hearing Room 2, City Hall, OBF 2015.

The third annual Oakland Book Festival will take place at Oakland City Hall on Sunday, May 21, 2017, with more than 90 journalists, novelists, historians, poets, editors, critics, artists, philosophers, and memoirists in over 50 discussions, debates, and readings on free press, social justice, labor, immigration, wealth and inequality, education, civil disobedience, altruism, activism, and freedom. 

More than a literary trade show or a series of readings, the festival asks authors to discuss ideas, to bring their expertise to bear, to share their experience: to challenge, elevate, and inspire one another and those in attendance.

This year’s Oakland Book Festival surrounds the theme of Equality and Inequality, and will feature panels on “Equity in the Arts,” “Universal Income,” "The Free Press,” “Inequality in Academia,” “The Commodification of Feminism,” “Public Health and Private Profit,” “Identity and Class,” “Standing Rock and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights,” “Racial Profiling,” and of course multiple panels on the election of 2016 and the future of American Democracy. 

Among many others, Angela Davis, Jeff Chang, Donte Clark, Judith Butler, Ishmael Reed, Chris Jackson, Mark Greif, Danielle Allen, Wendy Brown, Quincy Troupe, Sadie and Rodney Barnett, Guillermo Galindo, Sheryl Oring, Alia Sharrief, and Mistah Fab. 

This is your festival: help us realize it, then come and join it.

2015 OBF Attendees, City Hall
2015 OBF Attendees, City Hall

2015’s and 2016’s Oakland Book Festival was voted Best Cultural Event by the readers of the East Bay Express

The Oakland Book Festival has featured the Bay Area’s own Elaine Brown, Vikram Chandra, Anna Lappé, Khafre James, Gary Kamiya, and Anthony Marra. It also brought to Oakland national and international authors such as Edwidge Danticat, Héctor Tobar, Tracy K. Smith, Lewis Lapham, Paul Beatty, Michael Eric Dyson, and Astra Taylor. 

Partnering publications and organizations included the Oakland Public Library, PEN Oakland, The Nation, Mother Jones, ZYZZYVA, UC Press, Children’s Fairyland, Litquake, and Chapter 510 & the Dept. of Make Believe, all of whom curated panels and readings featuring their authors and editors. 

 This year’s Festival is even more ambitious. Support the OBF in 2017. 

OPL librarian reading at the Children’s Stage, OBF 2015.
OPL librarian reading at the Children’s Stage, OBF 2015.

The Oakland Book Festival needs your help to return to City Hall and to expand its program in 2017.

In addition to general operating costs, our goal of $15,000 will fund:

• Travel and accommodations for our visiting authors. We want to show Oakland off to a world of writers—and to feed and house them while they are visiting us.

• A children’s stage at the Festival. Dedicated entirely to young people and their interests, the OBF Children’s Stage will feature readings, events, games, and crafts in partnership with the Oakland Public Library, Children’s Fairyland, MOCHA, Kidquake, and Chapter 510 & the Dept. of Make Believe.

• The building and maintenance of a robust Festival website. Apart from providing Festival information and details, our website will host a video archive of interviews, readings, and discussions that will become a resource for educators, researchers, and writers—as well as a means to share the Festival’s activities with a wider audience. 

Edwidge Danticat, City Hall Council Chambers, OBF 2015.
Edwidge Danticat, City Hall Council Chambers, OBF 2015.

 

Jelani Cobb at the end of the day on Frank Ogawa Plaza, 2016. Cobb is an American writer, author and educator.
Jelani Cobb at the end of the day on Frank Ogawa Plaza, 2016. Cobb is an American writer, author and educator.

 

"Race, Politics, and the Obama Presidency," presented by Slate magazine, Council Chambers, with Jelani Cobb, Jamelle Bouie, and Isaac Chotiner.
"Race, Politics, and the Obama Presidency," presented by Slate magazine, Council Chambers, with Jelani Cobb, Jamelle Bouie, and Isaac Chotiner.

 

Oakland Book Festival, 2016.
Oakland Book Festival, 2016.

Please make our plans for OBF2017 possible by donating to the Oakland Book Festival. No amount is too small, and every dollar you give goes toward bringing people together from throughout the Bay Area and across the world to discuss important topics on the 2017 Festival's theme: "Equality & Inequality.”

Risks and challenges

This is a large festival with many moving parts. At every turn, we encounter problems that need solutions. At the same time, these very challenges have given us opportunities to approach the Oakland Book Festival in creative ways and with a new point of view.

With more than 100 speakers and performers something can always go wrong but we have staff in place to help with any issue that might come up. If a speaker does not arrive (as has happened in the past) we have been able to make due by moving speaker around. Also, no panel has only one speaker.

With the tremendous energy from our cohort of volunteers and with the backing of various community members and organizations we're confident this festival can be a tremendous success.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    HOUSE OF PRIDE

    Thank you for your contribution! We'll keep you posted about the Oakland Book Festival.

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    THE CALL OF THE WILD

    Thank you for your support! Look for your name in the festival program.

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    The White Fang

    Thank you for your support! Look for your name in the festival program and grab an OBF tote bag at the OBF booth the day of the Festival or we can ship it to you if you can't make it.

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    Hearts of Three

    Thank you for your support! Look for your name in the program and grab an OBF tote bag and t-shirt!

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    THE FAITH OF MEN

    Thank you for your support! Please join us for the Festival’s opening gala at the Starline Social Club on Saturday, May 20th. You are invited to a VIP pre-party soirée where you will get to meet our staff and participating authors. Your support will be acknowledged in the Festival's printed program, and you'll get an OBF tote bag.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    THE STRENGTH OF THE STRONG

    Thank you! Enjoy the opening gala VIP with a plus one. You will also receive the program mention, tote, and t-shirt.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    THE GOLD

    Thank you for your support! Take all of the above plus two additional tickets (four total) and a private booth for your group at the opening gala.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    THE STAR ROVER

    Thank you for your support! We’d like to treat you to all of the above and a private dinner with the OBF creators. Eat, drink, and philosophize!

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    THE GIFT OF GOD

    Wow. We are speechless. You get all of the above and one of the discussion rooms at City Hall will be named in your honor on the day of the Festival. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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Funding period

- (45 days)