17th Berkeley Public Library Authors’ Dinner raises over $313,000 for the library

The Berkeley Public Library awaiting guests to the 17th annual Authors Dinner on Feb. 9. Photo: Alexis Silver
The Berkeley Public Library awaiting guests to the 17th annual Authors Dinner on Feb. 9. Photo: Alexis Silver

On Feb. 9, the central Berkeley Public Library in downtown Berkeley was transformed into a fairytale-like setting for the 17th annual Authors Dinner, an elegant reception and dinner put on every year by the Berkeley Public Library Foundation to raise funds for the library. The event exceeded its goal and raised more than $313,000 for the library through “red card” donations, sponsorships, ticket sales, a silent auction, and a challenge grant from Wareham Development.

This year, the event honored a diverse group of nearly 30 Bay Area authors who are seen to enrich and enliven the local community. Ninety-seven-year-old Betty Reid Soskin — the “nation’s oldest park ranger” and co-founder of California’s oldest record store, Reid Records — was recognized for her memoir as an author and as a singer. Other authors honored included Oakland native Tommy Orange, Faith Adiele, Shane Bauer, MK Chavez, Erwin Chemerinsky, Kirstin Chen, Tom Dalzell, Jasmin Darznik, Carolyn Federman, Anna Rabkin, Robin Sloan, Francis Fukuyama, Charlotte Gray, Sands Hall and Greg Sarris and more. (See the full list.)

The hosts for the night were Emmy-award-winning journalist Linda Schacht Gage, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner T.J. Stiles, and San Francisco Chronicle columnist and author Vanessa Hua. The Fred and Pat Cody Award was presented to Helen and John Meyer of Meyer Sound for their many contributions to the Berkeley Library and community.

Berkeley artist Ellen Singer-Vine designed the event and her inspiration was, of course, literature.


Proceeds from the event, tickets for which always sell out fast, help fund library innovations, capital improvements, and literacy projects.

Berkeleyside was a media sponsor of the Authors Dinner.

The Authors Dinner was designed by Ellen Singer-Vine. Photo: Alexis Silver
Betty Reid Soskin, left, was honored at the 17th annual Authors Dinner. Photo: Alexis Silver
The Fred and Pat Cody Award was presented to Helen and John Meyer of Meyer Sound
The Fred and Pat Cody Award was presented to Helen and John Meyer of Meyer Sound (center). Karen Holtermann, president of the Berkeley Public Library Foundation board, is at the far right and Mindy Rex, vice-president of the board, is at the far left. Photo: Alexis Silver
Co-host Vanessa Hua (left) and Halifu Osumare. Photo: Kelly Sullivan
Author Tommy Orange (left) and co-host TJ Stiles. Photo: Kelly Sullivan
The evening exceeded its fundraising goal through “red card” donations, sponsorships, ticket sales, a silent auction, and a challenge grant from Wareham Development. Photo: Kelly Sullivan
TJ Stiles, Linda Schacht Gage, Frederica Drotos and Anne Marxer, the co-chairs of the Authors’ Dinner committee and  Vanessa Hua. Photo: Kelly Sullivan
JK Fowler, the founder of Nomadic Press and MK Chavez, one of the honored authors.  Photo: Alexis Silver
Faith Adiele. Photo: Kelly Sullivan
The Authors Dinner honored 29 Bay Area authors and raised funds for the Berkeley Public Library. Photo: Alexis Silver