Book Fair History

Front of Bound Together Bookstore

Bound Together Bookstore presented the first Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair on March 30, 1996. The event was organized to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Bound Together,  and took place in the San Francisco County Fair Building in Golden Gate Park near Ninth Avenue and Lincoln Way.

In 1996, approximately 40 anarchist, situationist, and assorted lefty book and magazine publishers were there, selling and distributing books and other examples of their work. Keynote speakers included sex-positive educator, author and radical feminist Susie Bright, Jello Biafra from the Dead Kennedys, and cutting-edge lesbian author Kathy Acker.

The book fair continues to grow, attracting participants from the SF Bay Area and all around the world!

We’ve been honored to present many speakers over the years, some very well-known and others not; each year some old friends returning, along with new faces.

Lawn vendor at 2007 Book Fair

Below are descriptions and links to stories about past Bay Area Anarchist Book Fairs:

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the archive.

Speakers for the 2010 book fair included: Yantra Bertelli, Terry Bisson, Ward Churchill, John Curl, Diane DiPrima, John Duda, Matt Hern, Luis A. Fernandez, Peter Gelderloos, Andrej Grubacic, Owen Hill, Lierre Keith, Margaret Killjoy, Ernesto Longa, Carlos Martinez, Jason McQuinn, Keith McHenry, Tommi Avicolli Mecca, Cindy Milstein, Patrick Reinsborough. Kim Stanley Robinson, Penelope Rosemont, Sarah Talbot, Kristian Williams and John Zerzan.

Gabriel Kuhn, who was originally announced as a speaker in 2010, was not permitted to enter the country by the US government. His own account of this issue: Terrorists, US Immigration, and a Cancelled Tour.

Man inside Book Fair 2007

Featured speakers and panelists at the 2009 book fair included Judith Levine, Bruce Anderson, Barry Pateman, Michael Flores, Mark Anquoe, Cheb i Sabba, Andrej Grubajic, Victoria Law, Stevphen Shukaitis, Richard Kempton, Jen Angel, James Tracy, Diana Block, Crudo, Cris Carlsson, Summer Brenner, Robert Ovetz, Osha Neumann, Clif Ross, Iain Boal, David Kubrin, Josh MacPhee, Fly, Sara Brodzinsky, Bo Brown, Audrey Goodfriend, and many others. Along with many others, we hosted these panel discussions: ‘Sex Workers’, ‘Surviving the Economic Meltdown’, and ‘Defend the RNC 8′.

Arizmendi Bakery and Other Avenues took turns running the in-fair cafe.  As in previous years, valet parking was provided by San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

Speakers at the 2008 Book Fair included Jules Boykoff, Terence Kissack, Kristian Williams and many others.  Panel discussions included topics such as ‘Palestine: Responses to Occupation’ and ‘Anarchist Parenting’.  Here are some pictures posted on IndyBay.

Tiny Garcia, Saul Landau, Wendy-O-Matic, Fly, Jen Angel, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Stephen Dunifer, and many others spoke at the 2007 fair.  This essay by Erika Ransom is posted on Indybay.

If you’re curious, you can see Ward Churchill laying it all out at the Eleventh Annual Book Fair . (2006 poster by Hugh D’Andrade)

Here are a few photos from the Tenth Annual Book Fair (2005) by Steve Rhodes. And here’s a story that appeared in USA Today: “Ten years after it started, the Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair has become a popular rallying point for the far left, thanks to shared enemies like the Bush Administration and the Patriot Act.” There was also an interesting article in the SFGate: “Thousands of like-minded souls with a taste for state smashing, patriarchy toppling, government defying, feminism, punk, radical politics and children’s books with titles like “Herb, the Vegetarian Dragon” came out in force for the 10th Annual Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair. The SF Bay Times also published one participant’s thoughts on the Book Fair.

Featured speakers for the Ninth Annual Bay Area Book Fair (2004) included famed journalist and author Alexander Cockburn, writer and activist Starhawk, dyke singer and novelist Lynn Breedlove, queer poet and musician Tim’m T. West, and Agent Apple of the Biotic Baking Brigade (A-Infos.)

Here you’ll find the Eighth Annual Bay Area Book Fair (2003) list of speakers and a full discussion thread on IndyBay.

In 2002, AK Press released, “Mob Action Against the State: Collected Speeches from the Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair,“a CD that includes among others: Jello Biafra, spoken word artist and ex-frontman for punk band Dead Kennedys; Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti; author Christian Parenti (Lockdown America); author and punk rocker Craig O’Hara (The Philosophy of Punk); anti-prison activist and author Ruth Wilson Gilmore (Golden Gulag); and Emma Goldman Papers Project curator Barry Pateman.

“On Saturday, March 29, 1997, anarchists and other bibliophiles gathered from around the world in San Francisco for the Second Annual Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair. While the focus was on books, there were also speakers and an art show. I really enjoyed the Fair. I was there as an exhibitor for Spunk Press, an online anarchist archive…I got a chance to meet archivists from the Kate Sharpley Library, the Labadie Collection, and the Anarchy Archives in Massachusetts…” (story by Chuck on Infoshop.org)

Folk/Punk Band outside Book Fair

Photo by Rez