Cherilyn Parsons

This week’s show is a love letter to book festivals—and a conversation about why they matter, how authors can pitch themselves and get involved in local festivals, and what the considerations entail for those people who are behind the scenes organizing such festivals. This week’s guest, Cherilyn Parsons, is the founder and executive director of the Bay Area Book Festival based in Berkeley, California, and she’s interviewed by Brooke while Grant is away, who’s been a longtime board member and is the current Chairperson of the festival. Enjoy!


Cherilyn Parsons is the founder and executive director of the Bay Area Book Festival, which has presented more than 1,250 notable authors — including winners of virtually every major literary award, including the Nobel Prize — and 600 programs over the past eight years. Parsons also created Women Lit, which elevates women’s voices through events featuring influential female authors and nurtures literary community among women. Previously, she helped build the field of non-profit journalism, most notably at the Center for Investigative Reporting, and has worked as a fundraiser, travel writer, and book reviewer. She has a master’s in professional writing from the University of Southern California.

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