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Authors Luncheon 2019

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 2, 2019
10:30 am – 3:00 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 650-494-0550.

Your contributions ensure that we have a very successful and record-breaking 28th 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.

If you have any questions about the Authors Luncheon please contact or 650-494-0550.

2019 Authors to be announced soon!

2018 authors and sponsors

Jim Averbeck

Jim Averbeck

Author and illustrator of children's picture books

Featured Book: Trevor, an 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.

Jim Averbeck is the author of One Word from Sophia and Two Problems for Sophia, illustrated by Yasmeen Ismail; In a Blue Room, illustrated by Tricia Tusa; and of the novel A Hitch at the Fairmont. He is also the author and illustrator of the picture books Oh No, Little Dragon! and Except If. He studied children’s book writing and illustration at the University of California Berkeley and now makes his home in San Francisco.

Fox Butterfield

Fox Butterfield

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist

Featured Book: 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

Fox Butterfield spent much of his 30-year career reporting for The New York Times, and served as a bureau chief for the Times in Boston, Saigon, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Beijing. He was a member of the Times’ reporting team that won the Pulitzer Prize for its publication of The Pentagon Papers, which riveted an already divided nation with startling revelations about the United States’ involvement in Vietnam.

Fox’s nonfiction work, China: Alive in the Bitter Sea, won a 1983 National Book Award. He also has written All God’s Children, described by the New Yorker as “a heartbreaking and terrifying chronicle of violence passed from one African-American generation to the next.”

He is a graduate of Harvard University, including a doctoral degree in Chinese history.

Meg Waite Clayton

Meg Waite Clayton

New York Times bestselling author and book club favorite

Featured Book: Beautiful Exiles, based on the volatile, real-life love affair of Martha Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway.

The bestselling author of six novels, Meg Waite Clayton often puts friendship – in particular female friendship – at the core of her writing.  In her latest book, Beautiful Exiles, she “continues to investigate – and inhabit – the lives and fortunes of women who ripped open the envelope of their eras’ social and cultural limitations,” notes a recent review in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Meg’s fiction has won several honors. Her prior novel, The Race for Paris, exploring the lives of two women journalists who set out to document Paris’ liberation from the Nazis in 1944, was awarded the Langum Prize. The Wednesday Sisters, set here in Silicon Valley, was named one of Entertainment Weekly’s 25 Essential Best Friend Novels of all time (on a list that includes The Three Musketeers).

A graduate of the University of Michigan law school, Meg spent several years as a corporate attorney “in a tidy blue suit,” as she describes it.  But it was the writing life that continued to call to Meg.  “As much as I enjoyed practicing law, my dream for as long as I can remember was to be a novelist,” she writes.  “I feel incredibly grateful to be able to call myself one.”

Vanessa Hua

Vanessa Hua

Award-winning author and San Francisco Chronicle columnist

Featured Book: A River of Stars, her powerful and entertaining debut novel about a pregnant Chinese woman’s life as an undocumented California immigrant.

The first novel by San Francisco Chronicle columnist Vanessa Hua, A River of Stars follows the adventures of the pregnant mistress of a Chinese crime boss who escapes a secret maternity home in Los Angeles and heads to San Francisco’s Chinatown. Publisher’s Weekly calls it “heartbreaking and, at turns, hilarious,” while Booklist says it “confronts identity, privilege, freedom, and a twenty-first-century rendering of the American dream with poignancy, insight, humor, and plenty of savvy charm.”

Hua’s 2016 short story collection, Deceit and Other Possibilities, was hailed as a searing debut by O, The Oprah Magazine, and received an Asian/Pacific American Award in Literature. Her work as a journalist, which began two decades ago at the Los Angeles Times, has earned numerous honors while taking Hua across the globe. A Bay Area native, Hua graduated from Stanford University and UC Riverside’s MFA Program.

Join these sponsors in support of children and adults with disabilities

Award Winner Sponsors ($20,000)
  • Goldman, Sachs & Co.
  • Stanley E. Hanson Foundation
Best Seller Sponsors ($10,000 – $19,999)
  • Laurie T. Jarrett
  • Christina Kenrick
  • Rachel and Simon Segars
  • Anonymous Friends
First Edition Sponsors ($5,000 – $9,999)
  • Carrie Anderson
  • Helen and Arthur Bobrove
  • Breaking Glass Forums
  • Claudia Claussen
  • Nancy Drapkin
  • El Camino Hospital
  • Jennifer Wagstaff-Hinton and John Hinton
  • Ellen Jones
  • Antje and Paul Newhagen
  • Steve Schmidt/Microsoft Corp.
  • Patty and Jim White
  • Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati Foundation
  • Brenda and Bill Younger


Choice Chapter Sponsors ($3,000 – $4,999)
  • Nina and Frank Berry, Jr.
  • Bolton & Company
  • LaSandra and Jonathan Brill
  • Thomas and Wallace Brunner
  • Debbie and Jeff Byron
  • Ellen and Tom Ehrlich
  • James McClelland and Heidi Feldman, M.D.
  • Sara and Mike Hammond
  • David and Mary Kabakov
  • Ishrag Khababa
  • Hal and Iris Korol
  • Ingrid Lai and William Shu
  • Ginger and Doug Levick, III
  • Morrison & Foerster Foundation
  • Judith and David Richardson
  • Satellite Healthcare
  • Anne Vitullo and Jonathan Poe
  • Mary Weersing
  • Elizabeth Wolf

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Event Partners

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