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Authors Luncheon 2018

Join us for our 27th Annual Authors Luncheon!

Meet four fabulous authors at the annual Abilities United Authors Luncheon. Over 500 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 3
10:30 am – 3 pm
Crowne Plaza Cabaña Hotel
4290 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA

Get the best ticket price available. Buy before June 30!

  • $150 through June 30
  • $165 July 1 through October 25
  • $195 beginning October 26

Purchase your seats or tables now   Benefits of sponsorship

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 650-494-0550.

Your contributions ensure that we have a very successful and record-breaking 27th Annual Authors Luncheon.

Can’t attend?  You can still support the Authors Luncheon by making a donation.

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 continues

*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.

Our lineup of 2018 authors will be announced soon!

2017 Authors

Donia Bijan

Donia Bijan

Acclaimed Bay Area chef and memoirist

Featured book: The Last Days of Café Leila, her celebrated debut novel, which explores the bonds of family and food while tracing four generations of Iranians across Europe, California, and Iran.

As she poignantly describes in her 2011 memoir, Maman’s Homesick Pie: A Persian Heart in an American Kitchen, Bijan enjoyed an idyllic childhood in Tehran. But her days of learning how to prepare Persian cuisine with her mother ended abruptly with the Islamic Revolution, which forced the family to flee to the United States.

After studying French literature at Berkeley, Bijan enrolled in Cordon Bleu in Paris, and in 1994 opened L’Amie Donia restaurant in Palo Alto, a French-inspired bistro that won glowing reviews. In 2010, Bijan returned to Iran for the first time since the revolution. A year later, she released her recipe-laden memoir, praised as both “universal and intimate.” The Last Days of Cafe Leila, hailed as a “moving portrayal of love and loss,” travels in time as emigre Noor returns to post-revolutionary Iran with her American teenage daughter and memories.

Bijan lives in Menlo Park with her husband, artist Mitchell Johnson, and their son.

Amy Dickinson

Amy Dickinson

Best-selling author and nationally syndicated advice columnist

Featured Book: Strangers Tend to Tell Me Things: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Coming Home, her best-selling memoir about finding your way home again.

Amy Dickinson writes the nationally syndicated advice column, Ask Amy, featured in more than 150 newspapers including the San Jose Mercury News. Her column is read by an estimated 22 million readers daily. She brings her own special blend of wit and wisdom to her columns, doling out advice that is sometimes empathetic… sometimes sassy… but always entertaining.  A profile in Atlantic Magazine notes “A day spent reading Dickinson’s letters is both a reminder of the universality of human experience and a barometer of cultural trends.”

For more than a decade, Amy has been a featured panelist on National Public Radio’s comedy quiz show, Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me.  She is also a sought-after speaker, delivering inspiring and comic stories of her adventures and misadventures to groups around the country.

In addition to her current memoir, Amy is also the author of The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Story of Surprising Second Chances, a chronicle of her experiences as a single mother.

Tom Lichtenheld

Tom Lichtenheld

Award-winning author and illustrator of best-selling children’s books

Featured Book: Mighty, Mighty Construction Site, a rhyming story featuring children’s favorite construction characters.

Tom Lichtenheld is the talented illustrator behind many of your family’s favorite books, including Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, Steam Train, Dream Train, I Wish You More, and Duck! Rabbit! His beautifully illustrated children’s books are consistently praised for their humor, expressive characters, and rich – sometimes hidden – detail. He’s known for creating books that appeal to children and adults alike, offering something for readers of all ages. Tom collaborated on several books with the late Amy Krouse Rosenthal, who appeared at the Authors Luncheon in 2009.

“I’ve always loved to draw pictures and make up stories,” Tom explains in an online interview. “And I’ve been lucky enough to make a living by using my imagination for over 25 years.”

Tom’s books are consistently listed on The New York Times best sellers list, and have been recognized by the International Literary Association Children’s Book Council, the School Library Journal, and the E.B. White Read-Aloud Honor Awards.

Maile Meloy

Maile Meloy

One of the best young American novelists writing today

Featured Book: Do Not Become Alarmed, a story about the protective force of innocence and the limits of parental power, and the way a crisis shifts our perceptions of what matters most.

Maile Meloy‘s current book, Do Not Become Alarmed, was named one of the best books of the summer by such diverse reviewers as BookPage, O Magazine and Publishers Weekly. Her two previous novels, Liars and Saints and A Family Daughter, explore the same intensely complicated California family.

Her debut work, the short-story collection Half in Love, was described as “sparkling” by The New York Times. Her second story collection, Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It, was named one of the 10 Best Books of 2009 by The New York Times Book Review. Maile has also written a series of best-selling middle-grade books, the Apothecary trilogy.

Maile’s fiction has won several awards including the Paris Review‘s Aga Khan Prize for Fiction, the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story, and the Rosenthal Foundation Award from the America Academy of Arts and Letters.

Get a taste of the luncheon…watch our video

Join these sponsors in support of children and adults with disabilities

Award Winner Sponsors ($20,000)
  • Goldman, Sachs & Co.
Best Seller Sponsors ($10,000 – $19,999)
  • Join us as an Authors Luncheon sponsor.
First Edition Sponsors ($5,000 - $9,999)
  • Join us as an Authors Luncheon sponsor.
Choice Chapter Sponsors ($3,000 - $4,999)
  • Join us as an Authors Luncheon sponsor.
Event Partners


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