Festival of Women Authors

Festival of Women Authors

Saturday February 6, 2021; All Day
Due to the COVID-19 crisis and because of our concern for the well being and safety of all attendees, the next in-person YWCA Berkeley/Oakland Festival of Women Authors event has been postponed to February 5, 2022. In place of an in-person event in 2021, we would like to offer a virtual presentation online until we are able to safely bring the Festival back. We appreciate hearing from our guests. Please complete the following questions to help guide us in the right direction:

Feel free to send this link to any potential Festival guests in order to fill out.

We appreciate if you can submit your responses by June 30, 2020.

Authors from last year’s festival:


Elizabeth Farnsworth is a filmmaker and former chief correspondent and principal substitute anchor of the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer (PBS). Her 2017 memoir, A Train Through Time: A Life Real and Imagined, explores what compelled her to report from conflict zones in Iraq, Cambodia, and other countries around the world. She has written for many publications, including Mother Jones, Foreign Policy, and the literary journal, Brick. Her 2008 documentary, The Judge and the General, co-directed with Patricio Lanfranco, aired on television around the world, winning many awards. She grew up in Topeka, Kansas, where her ancestors were pioneers. She has a B.A. from Middlebury College and an M.A. in history from Stanford University. She and her husband, Charles E. Farnsworth, have two children and six grandchildren.




Lauren Markham is a fiction writer, essayist and journalist based in Northern California whose work most often concerns issues related to youth, migration, the environment and her home state.  Markham is the author of The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life. The Far Away Brothers was the winner of the 2018 Ridenhour Book Prize, the Northern California Book Award, a California Book Award Silver Prize, and a New York Times Book Critics’ Top Book of 2017.  Her writing has also appeared in VQR, Harper’s, the Guardian, the New Republic, Guernica, VICE, Mother Jones, Orion, the Atlantic, Lithub, California Sunday, Narrative Magazine, Pacific Standard, and on This American Life. Markham works as an administrator at a high school for immigrant youth in Oakland, California and teaches writing at the Ashland University, Left Margin Lit, and the University of San Francisco.


Paulette Boudreaux is a Mississippi native who lives in California. Her debut novel, Mulberry, won the first Lee Smith Novel Prize at Carolina Wren Press, an Independent Publisher Book Award Silver medal for Best Southern Fiction, was a finalist for the Crook’s Corner Book Prize, and a finalist for Silicon Valley Reads. Mulberry has been described as “Faulknerian in its themes of place and the past, Dickensian in its scope,” by NYT bestselling author, Lee Smith, and “a charmer and a heartbreaker,” by acclaimed novelist, Tayari Jones. Short fiction by Boudreaux has appeared in national and international literary journals. She has a BA from Northeastern University and an MFA from Mills College. She is tenured English faculty at West Valley College and adjunct faculty in the MFA program at the Mississippi University for Women.


Yangsze Choo is the NYTimes bestselling author of The Ghost Bride (soon to be a Netflix Original series) and The Night Tiger, Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club Pick, Amazon’s Spotlight Pick, and one of USA Today’s best books of the year. Set in 1930s Malaya, The Night Tiger is a sweeping historical novel about a dancehall girl and an orphan boy, whose fates entangle over an old Chinese superstition of men who turn into tigers.

 With a big thanks to this year’s sponsors:



Authors in Past Years:

Bebe Moore Campbell
Anne Lamott
Joanne Meschery
Belle Yang
Octavia Butler
Ursula Hegi
Adair Lara
Marcia Muller
Marybeth Bond
Dorothy Bryant
Terris Grimes
Gail Tsukiyama
Chitra Divakaruni
Regina Marler
Frances Mayes
Sister Carol Anne O’Marie
Margaret Cuthbert
Ruthanne Lum McCunn
Caroline Paul
Judith Merkle Riley
Ella Leffland
Emmy Werner
Terry McMillan
Laurie King
Dorothy Allison
Liza Dalby
Elizabeth Kim
April Sinclair
Marion Cunningham
Terry Ryan
Rebecca Walker
Ayelet Waldman
Wendy Lesser
Ruth Ozeki
Susanne Pari
Lalita Tademy
Iris Chang
Elizabeth Fishel
Jane Juska
Joyce Carol Thomas 
J. California Cooper
Debra Ginsberg
Tess Uriza Holthe
Regina Louise
Carol Field
Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston
Linda Peterson
Karen Joy Fowler

Grace Caroll
Elizabeth Rosner
Lisa See
Joanne Weir

Opal Palmer Adisa
Firoozeh Dumas
Cara Black
Emily Rapp
Helen Zia
Marta Acosta
Clair Hope Cummings
Marie Simmons
Dorothy Clemens
Bonnie Tsui
Michelle Richmond
Vivienne Sosnowski
Dana Whitaker
Carolina De Robertis
Sara Houghteling
Vicki Ward
Jacqueline Winspear
Bo Caldwell
Belva Davis
Nafisa Haji
Peggy Orenstein
Patricia Powell
Susan Snyder
Sonia Taitz
Penny Warner
Patricia Bracewell
Kelly Corrigan
Anjuelle Ford
Liz Jasper
Katie Hafner
Yang Huang
Yiyun Li
Ann Parker
Julia Flynn Siler
Adrienne McDonnell
Renee Swindle
Gail Tsukiyama
Frances Dinkelspiel
Caille Millner
Terry Gooch Ross
Canyon Sam
Faith Adiele
Dr. Arlie Russell Hochschild
Shanthi Sekaran
Mary Volmer
Julie Lythcott-Haims
Vanessa Hua
Joyce Maynard
Anna Rabkin