Book-lovers, this is your week! The Brooklyn Book Festival from September 10–17 includes literary events curated with presenting partners including international cultural consulates in New York, publishers, bookstores and institutions such as PEN America, the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and Poets House, among others. Venues across all five boroughs include bookstores and libraries, parks, bars, bakeshops, ferries, each hosting national and international authors in programming ranging from trivia nights, poetry slams, and workshops to prose and flash fiction readings, books-to-movie events, and debates.
This is the time to see your favorite books and topics discussed, hear what authors have to say about their process, and discover what you want to read next. And don’t forget: the fall kick-off of The Great American Read is Tuesday, September 11 at 8 p.m. on THIRTEEN, New York City’s PBS station.
Festival Day: Sunday, September 16
The centerpiece of the festival is a jam-packed day of readings, panels and book browsing and sales.
Publishers, authors, zines and literary organizations roll out along the plaza of Brooklyn Borough Hall in a sea of white and blue canopies, under which they sell their best reads, often at a discount. There are aisles upon aisles to browse between Joralemon and Tillary streets. Bring a book tote bag!
Plan Ahead for Events
Nearly 100 events take place at 13 venues on Festival Day, so check out the schedule ahead of time so you don’t get overwhelmed. The readings and discussions on plaza stages and at neighborhood institutions within walking distance of Brooklyn Borough Hall are all free. The indoor ones tend to reach capacity quickly, so get on line at the event of your choice early and have a back-up plan. You can pick up a printed schedule of events at the festival, but for advance planning, look up the authors appearing at the Festival Day and the Festival Events online now.
Among the many authors appearing this year are Rumaan Alam, Martin Amis, Jennifer Egan, Tayari Jones, Akwaeke Emezi, Laura Lippmann, Terry McMillan, Carmen Maria Machado, Joyce Carol Oates, Greg Pardlo, Hermione Hoby, A.M. Homes, April Ryan, Alexander Chee and Amber Tamblyn. Hari Kunzru, who talked about his novel White Tears with Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation, on our local program Author Imprint, will appear on the panel Cultural Sampling as Cultural Critique.
Authors at all points of their careers and in varying genres including nonfiction, fiction, poetry, comics, international and young adult will tackle panel topics of current political and cultural significance including income inequalities, powers of the presidency, healthy eating (Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams is moderating that panel), and race relations.
Vote for America’s Best-Loved Novel
ALL ARTS, a sister site to to THIRTEEN.org, will be at the Brooklyn Book Festival on Sunday, September 16 with free giveaways and information about voting in The Great American Read (you can also vote right now, here). Stop at the table to say hello and learn more about future events and how ALL ARTS is covering art and culture in New York City and the greater metropolitan area.
BKBF Children’s Day: Saturday, September 15
The Brooklyn Book Festival Children’s Day events unfold at MetroTech Commons in downtown Brooklyn (closest subway stations Jay Street – Metro Tech), from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Whether your kids like books, art, pirates or technology, there is something for everyone here in the form of readings, workshops and performances.
Writers at Children’s Day will include best-selling authors Mac Barnett, LeUyen Pham, Kate Schatz and Miriam Klein Stahl, Vashti Harrison, Eliot Schrefer, Soman Chainani, debut authors Brigit Young, Sayantani DasGupta, Andrea Tsurumi, and award-winning authors Gordon C. James, Renée Watson, Chris Grabenstein, Pablo Cartaya, and Meg Medina. See all the authors and illustrators attending Children’s Day.
Bookend Events: September 10 – 17
We’re fairly certain you’ll find a bookend event across the five boroughs that you’ll want to plan your week around. Most are free. Here’s a tease of some of the festival “bookend” literary happenings.
Tuesday, September 11
Some events are participatory, including “Dedicate It” on the Lower East Side. After authors are interviewed about the people they have named on their dedication pages, an open mic lets anyone tell a story about a project they’re proud of and dedicate it to someone they love.
Thursday, September 13
At “LitProv” at Symphony Space, you’ll hear an author’s story as written and then watch improv comedians take the stage to tell you what happens next.
Zora Neale Hurston – whose classic Their Eyes Were Watching God is on The Great American Read’s list of America’s 100 Best-Loved Novels) – is the subject of a literary salon led by Deborah Plant, editor of the recently released Hurston book, Barracoon.
Friday, September 14
In The Bronx, poets Carmen Bardeguez-Brown (Puerto Rico), Asha Frank (Antigua & Barbuda) and Tiphanie Yanique (Virgin Islands) reflect on the tremendous devastation of the 2017 hurricane season in the Caribbean and the road to recovery in The Force of Nature – Writing a Hurricane.
Monday, September 17
Pulitzer Prize winner Doris Kearns Goodwin will talk about her new book Leadership in Turbulent Times, scheduled for release that day.
ONE BOOK, ONE NEW YORK winning author Jennifer Egan will discuss her most recent historical fiction novel,
Manhattan Beach, at Brooklyn Central Library with Meredith Wisner, former Asst. Director of Archives at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and Manhattan Beach researcher and oral historian Zaheer Ali from the Brooklyn Historical Society. If you can’t make the talk, we have a 13-minute video of Egan talking about Manhattan Beach with PBS correspondent Jeffrey Brown, filmed at the 2017 Miami Book Fair.