Free and Open to the Public

Oakland City Hall, 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza
Oakland, CA 94612

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The Oakland Book Festival is a one-day, annual literary event. Dedicated to books, ideas, and the pleasures of literacy, it aims to serve the reading public, to encourage debate, and to celebrate the City of Oakland. It will host more than ninety writers in 2017 and is free and open to the public.

The Festival will be held at Oakland’s City Hall. Hearing rooms will be transformed into meeting halls in which journalists, fiction writers, historians, poets, editors, critics, and memoirists will convene on panels to discuss the challenges of gentrification, cosmopolitanism, diversity, tolerance, conflict, education, surveillance and security, labor, libraries, archives, magazine publishing, imprisonment, civil disobedience, whistle-blowing, prayer, food production and consumption, activism, and the future. Panels are moderated by experts and are oriented toward encouraging conversation with the audience. 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.

In front of City Hall, on Frank Ogawa Plaza, there will be live performances for all ages as well as a dedicated children’s area that will feature readings hosted by the Oakland Public Library, book-making projects sponsored by Oakland’s Museum of Children’s Art (MOCHA), and interactive programs courtesy of Fairyland. Book vendors and publishers will have tables with merchandise for sale; food trucks will be parked on adjacent streets to provide nourishment.


Getting There

Oakland City Hall, 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza
Oakland, CA 94612

Clay Street Garage (1414 Clay St, Oakland) is open and available the day of the Festival for a flat fee of $5 for the day.

You can also reach City Hall by the 12th Street/City Center BART station and AC Transit lines at the 14th Street/Broadway stops.

Read what people are saying about the Oakland Book Festival

"Passionate, eclectic, engaging, and invigorating – the inaugural Oakland Book Festival felt a lot like Oakland itself. Judging from the packed rooms and crackling conversations, this vibrant and literate city had been craving an event of this caliber for quite some time. By the end of the day, my mind was overflowing with ideas and my heart was bursting with civic pride." 
Dashka Slater

"Where else can a war reporter share an intense conversation about war and violence with two novelists? A journalist and two novelists exchanging views about writing and war before a packed room of rapt book lovers, and all of us continuing the discussion over bratwursts from the food truck outside in the sunshine afterwards: That's the Oakland Book Festival."
Mark Danner

"A congenial and engaged atmosphere, with full houses at all panels and readings, often standing room only. Beautifully organized by an army of friendly, green-shirted volunteers within the City Hall venue.”
PEN Oakland

"This is the book festival the East Bay has been waiting for. I can't wait for next year!"
Nayomi Munaweera

"The first Oakland Book Festival was not unlike a conclave convened upon a kaleidoscopic aural summit sans the rhetoric of commercial devitalization."
Will Alexander

Panorama of Oakland, California, by Albert H. Wulzen, ca. 1879, showing the vicinity around 14th Street and Broadway. Courtesy of the Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley.

Fred Soderberg. Oakland, California, 1900. San Francisco: 1900. Color lithograph. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress.