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.
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