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.