Palo Alto author Meg Waite Clayton plus Jim Averbeck, Vanessa Hua, and Fox Butterfield at Authors Luncheon Fundraiser on November 3

Abilities United’s historically successful fundraiser, Authors Luncheon, returns for its 27th year on Saturday, November 3 and features another panel of renowned, best-selling authors, Jim Averbeck, Fox Butterfield, Meg Waite Clayton, and Vanessa Hua

They will be joined by KGO-AM 810 radio personality and comedian, Maureen Langan, who will entertain us with her wit and humor as this year’s Mistress of Ceremonies.

 This popular annual event raises nearly $400,000 for Abilities United award-winning services for children and adults with developmental and physical disabilities.  Funds are raised through sponsorships, ticket sales, and the “fund a future” auction. Co-chairs of the 27th Annual Abilities United Authors Luncheon are Mary Kabakov of Palo Alto and Paula Rini of Los Altos.

The Authors Luncheon details are as follows:

Saturday, November 3, 2018
Crowne Plaza Cabana Hotel
4290 El Camino Real, Palo Alto

Tickets are available for $165

Call 650-494-0550 or email

Author Presentations

  • Jim Averbeck is an author and illustrator of children’s picture books.

His featured book Trevoran elegantly told, truly unique tale of a canary who befriends a lemon and finds that you don’t have to be two of a kind to form a meaningful and lasting friendship.

  • Fox Butterfield, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, spent much of his 30-year career reporting for The New York Times, and served as a bureau chief for the Times in Boston

His featured book is In My Father’s House: A New View of How Crime Runs in Families, a hard-hitting examination of our nation’s crime and incarceration problem that looks at the influence of the family

  • Meg Waite Clayton, The New York Times bestselling author and book club favorite, resides in Palo Alto. .

Her featured book is Beautiful Exiles, based on the volatile, real-life love affair of Martha Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway.

  • Vanessa Hua is an award-winning author and San Francisco Chronicle columnist.

Her featured book is A River of Stars, her powerful and entertaining debut novel about a pregnant Chinese woman’s life as an undocumented California immigrant.

Each year, this popular literary and social event draws a sold-out audience of over 500 book lovers from throughout the Bay Area.  During its 27-year history, the Authors Luncheon has raised over $4 million.  These funds are used to provide services to people with developmental and physical challenges through Abilities United’s services including Children and Family Services, Adult and Family Services as well as services for all ages and abilities.  Since it’s inception in 1992, the Authors Luncheon has grown from 325 attendees to today’s dedicated audience of over 500 attendees.

The Abilities United art exhibit and silent auction, now in its 13th year as part of the luncheon and sponsored by Great American Framing Company of Palo Alto, will showcase original works of art by artists of Abilities United.

Since 2005, Abilities United has partnered with Books Inc., which sponsors the bookstore for the event and consults with the Authors Selection committee to select the four authors to present and sign books at the luncheon.

Official sponsors of the Abilities United Authors Luncheon include Palo Alto businesses Books Inc., Crowne Plaza Cabana Hotel, Palo Alto Weekly and Palo Alto Online, Great American Framing Company, Ladera Travel of Menlo Park, Prodigy Press of Sunnyvale, and ABC7 TV of San Francisco.


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