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Cherilyn Parsons left her job to start the Bay Area Book Festival, now it's in its fifth year

Jody Colley
Cherilyn Parsons

This weekend Downtown Berkeley will transform into a literary paradise for the Bay Area Book Festival. Cherilyn Parsons started the event in 2015 after being inspired by the LA Times book festival

"I'm so appreciative of the many writers who put themselves out there and change the world."

With no funding and no experience producing large-scale events, she walked away from her job in development to start the festival. Today it draws about 25,000 people and hundreds of authors annually. This year marks the fifth anniversary of the Bay Area Book Festival.