Bay Area Book Festival

Deputy Director

Deputy Director, Bay Area Book Festival

Offered By: Bay Area Book Festival

Duration: Full-time

Location: Berkeley, CA (Bay Area residence required)


The Bay Area Book Festival, one of the nation’s premier literary festivals with over 25,000 annual attendees, is growing! Having weathered the pandemic by pivoting successfully to virtual programming—a move that expanded our reach and grew our audience base—we’re currently planning a hybrid (both virtual and in-person) festival for 2022, as well as year-round hybrid events for our membership-based Women Lit series. With new growth comes a new opportunity to expand our senior staff, and we’re seeking a full-time Deputy Director. This is an ideal role for a passionate, entrepreneurial-minded strategic thinker and organizational whiz with literary industry experience (particularly in events), superb writing chops, demonstrated commitment to equity and diversity, deep familiarity with contemporary literature, and connections within today’s publishing world. Reporting to the Executive Director, the Deputy Director will focus on planning programming, generating related revenue (tickets, sponsorships, donors), brainstorming around marketing with our consultants, and facilitating strategic partnerships, with a particular focus on expanding the festival’s relationships with local communities of color.

Essential job responsibilities include:

  • Program planning: With the ED, curate, develop, schedule, and deliver world-class literary programs. Handle most front-line author pitching. Serve as the primary and daily interface with publishers, publicists, speakers, and collaborating bookstores in producing (a) more than 70 programs for adults with 150-200 speakers (authors, moderators) over the Festival weekend in 8-10 venues in downtown Berkeley; (b) approximately monthly Women Lit events; and (c) periodic #UNBOUND events (our series, virtual and/or in-person, outside the festival and Women Lit).
  • Program-related revenue generation: Also with the ED, creatively frame festival assets for different types of funders, identify potential supporters, and design attractive, feasible opportunities for major donor/sponsor engagement with distinct programs, tracks, and festival stages, as well as for our Women Lit series. Also maximize earned revenue from tickets, passes, and other events.
  • Promotion, relationship-building, and audience engagement: Expand existing community partnerships and build new ones, particularly with underserved communities, to further grow the diversity of our literary programs and our reach/audience. Pursue cross-promotional opportunities and attract new revenue streams. Collaborate with our many partners in the literary and cultural spheres, locally to globally, and expand such partnerships. Contribute to our overall media strategy.


  • Thorough knowledge of book publishing, ideally personal relationships with book
    publicists and publishers nationally.
  • Experience in event curation and production, ideally at conferences, festivals, or other settings of multiple simultaneous events.
  • Flawless writing skills, demonstrated in various formats.
  • Literary sensibility that spans genres and topic areas, including well-established authors and emerging talent; commitment to unrepresented voices.
  • Ideally, familiarity with the Bay Area literary, philanthropic, and business spheres.
  • Entrepreneurial mindset balanced with the ability to create practical strategies for implementation amid inevitable constraints.
  • Experience or strong aptitude in business development, donor cultivation, and/or sponsorships; sales-type skills (and the versatility to adapt them for different constituencies); ability to be a dynamic, persuasive ambassador.
  • Ability to be productive, highly organized and self-directed in a work-from-home capacity.

About our Company

Based in Berkeley, California, the Bay Area Book Festival, founded in 2015, has for the past seven years featured more than 1,250 notable writers from the Bay Area and across the world—winners of the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Booker Prize, Booker International Prize, National Book Award, NBCC Award, PEN awards, and many more—as well as leading journalists, publishing professionals, and other intellectual and creative pathbreakers. Attracting 25,000 attendees annually—book-lovers of all backgrounds, ages, and walks of life—we’re especially known for our attention to fiction, poetry, and nonfiction concerned with social justice. Well over half of festival speakers come from backgrounds underrepresented in traditional publishing: a percentage we intend to continue growing. Literary Hub has called us “the best Fest in the West...affirming the power of words to create a better world.” For more background and information, visit us at

All Festival staff and consultants work from home but connect constantly through digital communications and meet regularly in Berkeley, health restrictions permitting.

The Bay Area Book Festival is an equal opportunity employer. We especially encourage applications from women, LGBTQI, disabled, and BIPOC candidates.

Special Instructions:  First, please visit for a much more detailed description of the position, its responsibilities, and required application materials. To apply, email and include “Deputy Director” in the subject line. We’re accepting applications through October 8, 2021 and hope to fill the position ASAP.

Contact Information

Cherilyn Parsons, Founder/Executive Director
1569 Solano Ave
Contact Phone: 
(310) 435-5365
Contact e-mail: