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Authors Luncheon 2017

Join us for our 26th annual Authors Luncheon!

Meet four fabulous authors at the annual Abilities United Authors Luncheon. Over 600 book lovers gather to hear renowned authors discuss their latest works and share their literary inspiration. Hear for yourself what has made this one of the most anticipated and beloved fundraising events.

The Authors Luncheon sells out each year! You won’t want to miss this entertaining and dynamic fundraiser for Abilities United!

Saturday, November 4
10:30 am – 3 pm
Crowne Plaza Cabaña Hotel
4290 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA

Proceeds from sponsorship, ticket, and book sales benefit the thousands of individuals and families who receive therapeutic, educational, and support services at Abilities United. To learn more about the benefits you, your company or book club will receive as a sponsor of the event, or to purchase tickets, contact us via email or call 650-618-3304.

Your contributions ensure that we have a very successful and record-breaking 26th Annual Authors Luncheon.


Event Schedule

10:30 am Book sales, espresso and no-host drinks, live music, art silent auction
11:00 am Author Signing
11:30 am Ballroom seating opens
12:00 pm Welcome and luncheon
12:30 pm Abilities United presentation
12:45 pm Fund-a-future
1:00 pm Author presentations
2:00 pm Book sales, signing, and art silent auction continue


Thank you to our 2016 sponsors

“25th Anniversary” Sponsors ($25,000)
  • Anonymous Friends
“Award Winner” Sponsors ($20,000)
  • Anonymous Foundation
“Best Seller” Sponsors ($10,000 – $19,999)
  • Carrie Anderson
  • Laurie T. Jarrett
  • Chris Kenrick
  • Rachel and Simon Segars
  • Sereno Group – Palo Alto
  • Carol and Mike Shealy
  • Anonymous Friends


“First Edition” Sponsors ($5,000 – $9,999)
  • Breaking Glass Forums
  • Nancy Drapkin
  • Ellen and Tom Ehrlich
  • El Camino Hospital
  • Ellen Jones
  • Mary and David Kabakov
  • Sandi and John Thompson
  • Wilson Sonsini, Goodrich and Rosati Foundation
  • Bill and Brenda Younger




“Choice Chapter” Sponsors ($3,000 – $4,999)
      • Leslie and Doug Ballinger
      • Frank Berry, Jr.
      • Bolton & Company
      • Carolyn Brennan
      • Tom and Wallace Brunner
      • Claudia Claussen
      • Alex Hua and Timothy Coogan
      • Julie Davis
      • Rosemary and Alain Enthoven
      • Goldman Sachs
      • John and Jennifer Wagstaff Hinton
      • Wende and Tom Hutton
      • Iris and Hal Korol in Honor of Susan Korol Pey
      • Ginger and Doug Levick, III
      • Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford
      • Microsoft Corporation
      • Karen Moore and Peter Watkins
      • Judith and David Richardson
      • Suzy and Robert Redfern-West
      • Mary Weersing
      • Elizabeth Wolf


Friends ($1,500 – $2,999)
      • Sara and Mike Hammond
      • Ishrag Khababa
      • Richard and Carol Doup Muller
      • David Ritson
      • Dianne Schilling
      • Michael and Margie Scott Tucker
Supporters ($500 – $1,499)
      • Laura Barton-Holding
      • Shirley K. Bob
      • Diana and Barrett Bryan
      • The Honorable Alden and Ann Danner
      • Thomas Dunlop
      • First Republic Bank – Gigi Kubursi
      • Michele and Michael Greenfield, M.D.
      • Leannah Hunt
      • Dorothy Lazier
      • Helen and Leopold Pivk, Jr.
      • Presidio Bank
      • Progressive Benefit Group
      • Gina and Michael Rayfield
      • Allene Sieling
      • Anne Vitullo
Media Sponsor
      • Full Color Vector 7 Flatened
      • photo1515
      • photo1130

Book Sales Sponsor

Book sales benefit Abilities United and are managed by Books Inc.
All book purchases made from this Books Inc. link will benefit Abilities United all year long.


Accomodations Sponsor


Print Sponsor


Art Showcase Sponsor


Wine Sponsors

Friends of Abilities United

Travel Arrangements



2016 Authors

Mark Kurlansky

Mark Kurlansky

New York Times bestselling author and journalist

Featured Book
Paper: Paging through History,a definitive history of paper and the astonishing ways it has shaped today’s world.

Playwright… journalist … author… college lecturer… Mark Kurlansky’s varied career reflects a deep and continuing fascination with the world around us.  He turned to journalism in the 1970s after an early career in the theater and spent nearly 15 years as a foreign correspondent for theInternational Herald Tribune, Chicago Tribune and Philadelphia Inquirer. He’s a prolific writer – and has published nearly 30 books including fiction, non-fiction and children’s books.

His most recent titles include City Beasts: Fourteen Stories of Uninvited Wildlife and International Night: A Father and Daughter Cook Their Way Around the World, written with his daughter Talia Kurlansky.

Erin Gleeson

Erin Gleeson

New York Times bestselling author and food blogger

After several years of working as a food photographer in New York City, Erin Gleeson moved to a cabin in the woods in Northern California, where she created The Forest Feast food blog and cookbook series, which fuse her love of cooking with her own photography and watercolor paintings. Inspired by local, seasonal ingredients, Erin creates simple, mostly-vegetarian recipes that are full of fruits and vegetables. Her recipes are presented as simple visual diagrams that are easy enough for a weeknight meal, yet impressive enough for a party.

The Forest Feast Gatherings is Erin’s third book in the series. Her work has been featured in several publications including the New York Times, Country Living, Better Homes and Gardens and Bon Appetit. When not creating and illustrating her recipes, Erin teaches photography at Stanford’s Continuing Studies program and works as a freelance food photographer and illustrator.


Dan Santat

Dan Santat

Author/illustrator of several children’s books and winner of last year’s Caldecott Medal

Featured Book: Are We There Yet? which takes readers on the road trip of a lifetime.

A graduate of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, where he focused on illustration, Dan Santat is the author and illustrator of several children’s books, including The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, which won the 2015 Caldecott Medal for distinguished illustration.  He also wrote The Guild of Geniuses and created the Disney Channel animated series The Replacements.  He has illustrated books for a number of other authors including Mac Barnett, Dan Gutman, Barbara Jean Hicks and Anne Isaacs.

Santat is also a commercial illustrator with clients such as the Wall Street Journal and Esquire magazine. His work has appeared at gallery shows, including the I Am 8 Bit art show.

Maria Semple

Maria Semple

Novelist and screenwriter for movies and television

Featured Book
Today Will Be Different, a brilliant novel about a day in the life of a woman forced to abandon her small ambitions.

Maria Semple’s writing career began in Los Angeles, writing for television shows like Arrested Development, Ellen, and Mad About You, as well as bad shows that, according to the bio on her web site, you’ll have to look elsewhere to find. She left television to try her hand at fiction; her first novel, This One Is Mine, about a woman who has it all, was set in Los Angeles.

She moved to Seattle where her second novel, national bestseller Where’d You Go, Bernadette, took place.  Bernadette was named one of the 10 Best Books of 2012 by The New York Times and featured on many other best-of-the-year lists, including The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post, Time,  Entertainment Weekly, andPeople.

She is active in the Seattle literary community and is a founding member of the Seattle 7 Writers.