Abilities United’s historically successful fundraiser, Authors Luncheon, returns for its 26th year on Saturday, November 4 and features another panel of renowned, best-selling authors, Amy Dickinson, Donia Bijan, Tom Lichtenheld, and Maile Meloy.

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 26th Annual Abilities United Authors Luncheon are Mary Kabakov and Marcie Brown both of Palo Alto.

The Authors Luncheon is held:
Saturday, November 4, 2017
10:30 am –  3 pm
Crowne Plaza Cabana Hotel
4290 El Camino Real, Palo Alto

We are delighted to host these renowned authors.

  • Donia Bijan: Menlo Park resident, Bay Area chef and acclaimed memoirist. The Last Days of Café Leila, her celebrated debut novel, explores the bonds of family and food while tracing four generations of Iranians across Europe, California, and Iran. Donia formerly operated the L’Amie Donia restaurant in Palo Alto, a French-inspired bistro that won glowing reviews while in operation.
  • Amy Dickinson: Best-selling author and nationally syndicated advice columnist.  Her featured book is 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 writes the nationally syndicated advice column, Ask Amy, featured in more than 150 newspapers including the San Jose Mercury News. 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.
  • Tom Lichtenheld: Award-winning author and illustrator of best-selling children’s books. His featured book is 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! Tom collaborated on several books with the late Amy Krouse Rosenthal, who appeared at the Authors Luncheon in 2009. 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: One of the best young American novelists writing today.  Her Featured Book is Do Not Become Alarmed, is 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. 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.

Each year, this popular literary and social event draws a sold-out audience of over 600 book lovers from throughout the Bay Area.  Over the 26 years, the audience has been wowed, entertained, and mesmerized by over 100 authors including such notable locals as Martin Cruz Smith, Daniel Handler, Jennifer Holm, James D. Houston, Thacher Hurd, Anne Lamott, Yiyun Li, Ann Packer, Richard Rodriquez, Lalita Tademy, David Kennedy, Maria Semple, and Gail Tsukiyama.

During its 25-year history, the Authors Luncheon has raised over $3.5 million.  In its first year, the event raised approximately $30,0000 and this year is expected to raise over 400,000 through ticket sales, sponsorship, book sales and donations. 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 doubled from 325 attendees to today’s dedicated audience of over 600 attendees.

Since 2005, Abilities United has partnered with Books Inc., which sponsors the bookstore for the event and donated 20% of book sales to Abilities United.  Margie Scott Tucker, co-owner of Books Inc., also sits on the Authors Selection committee, which selects 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, Prodigy Press of Sunnyvale, Great American Framing Company of Palo Alto, and Ladera Travel of Menlo Park, and ABC7 TV of San Francisco.

Tickets are available for $195 through October 22.

Purchase your seats or table now Benefits of sponsorship

If you have questions, please call 650-618-3330 or email nacole@AbilitiesUnited.org


Get a taste of the luncheon…watch our video