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Random Musings

San Francisco Authors Luncheon - 25th Anniversary Best Yet!

Yesterday we celebrated our 25th Anniversary of the National Kidney Foundation San Francisco Authors Luncheon. And what a fabulous event it was!

About 1200 patrons came to hear and personally meet seven highly acclaimed authors.
• Amy Tan, one of the event founders, came back to tell us about her latest book, due out in November. THE VALLEY OF AMAZEMENT is a family saga (her own family, perhaps?) that moves from the parlors of Shanghai courtesans to the fog-shrouded mountains of a remote Chinese village. Sounds delicious!
• Jess Walter entertained the audience with a self-deprecating talk about his blue-collar upbringing. Very fun. He signed copies of his latest NYT best-selling novel, BEAUTIFUL RUINS. (I hear there’s a movie in the works.)
• Simon Winchester, author of the widely successful, THE PROFESSOR AND THE MADMAN, is on tour with his latest book, THE MEN WHO UNITED THE STATES. He fascinated the audience with a talk about the people who developed the national medium of radio. (I smiled when he mentioned that the first true radio station was in Madison, WI, dear to my heart.)
• Anne Lamott, author of BIRD BY BIRD, that book on every writer’s shelf, provided a richly amusing talk about reaching out to help people in need. Her new book is STITCHES: A HANDBOOK ON MEANING, HOPE AND REPAIR.
• Sherri Duskey Rinker, our children’s author this year, gave a very fun talk about how her family’s life has become consumed with the desires of her six-year-old boy who loves trucks more than stories. To help him get to sleep, she wrote the NYT best-selling GOODNIGHT, GOODNIGHT, CONSTRUCTION SITE.
• Daniel Boulud, world-renowned French chef and James Beard award winner, presented a short, humorous, film that gave us a quick, behind-the-scenes peek into the kitchen of one of his many restaurants. He signed copies of his gorgeous, DANIEL: MY FRENCH CUISINE.
• Lidia Bastianich, award-winning television host and restaurateur, spoke of her escape to a refugee camp during WWII, her coming to the US, and the emergence of Italian-American cooking when immigrants had to make do with completely different ingredients. Her latest book is LIDIA’S COMMONSENSE ITALIAN COOKING.

As always, Elaine Petrocelli and her fabulous staff from Book Passage in Corte Madera, CA, provided the books (stacks and stacks of books moved quickly!). A portion of book sales benefits NKF programs in the Bay Area.

This is the largest annual literary event in the Bay Area and the greatest fundraiser for the National Kidney Foundation of Northern California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. (Corporate sponsors pay upwards of $50K/table.)

As both author and mother of a kidney transplant recipient, I find great joy in serving on the Executive Planning Committee. This was my tenth year. We typically hold the event in late October/early November, with an eye toward holiday shopping. I encourage all book lovers to be on the watch for next year’s NKF San Francisco Authors Luncheon. You wont’ be disappointed!
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