On Sunday, Sept.16, the second Brooklyn Book Festival is expected to draw some 110 writers, 100 vendors, and more than 10,000 book lovers (last year’s attendance) to the heart of the New York City borough that produced lit luminaries like Paul Auster, Pete Hamill,Bernice McFadden and Jonathan Lethem (all of whom will be appearing on a panel together called “Born and Raised”).
Presented by borough president Marty Markowitz’s Literary Council and Brooklyn Tourism, the free, one-day festival will be held at the Brooklyn Borough Hall and Plaza. Seven venues, including a new site at the Brooklyn Historical Society, will be running events all day (10 a.m. - 6 p.m.) that include panel discussions on topics like the state of the book review; investigative work and the War on Terror; readings from a wide range of novelists and non-fiction authors (Mary Gaitskill, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Joe Meno, George Saunders and Megan Abbot,among others); and a number of events exploring and celebrating the evolving literary legacy of Brooklyn.
Festival spokesperson and Brooklyn Literary Council Chair Johnny Temple is most excited about the global range of authors: “This year we are broadening the scope to reflect that this is a truly international book festival, exemplified by Edwidge Danticat (of Haiti), Chris Abani (of Nigeria) and Amitav Ghosh (of Calcutta/India). And that’s just scratching the surface.”
In addition, Borough Hall’s Main Stage will host four poetry events (including readings from Danny Simmons, Eliza Griswold and Brooklyn Poet Laureate Ken Siegelman) and a discussion with Joyce Johnson on the 50th anniversary of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. The Independence Community Foundation Young Writers Pavilions will host a number of children’s and young adult authors, including Gail Carson Levine, Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez and Phil Bildner; it will also host a comics discussion with Ivan Valez Jr., Lauren Weinstein and Eric Wight (moderated by PW’s Heidi McDonald).
Other events include a “define-a-thon” contest presented by American Heritage Dictionary (“like a spelling bee for definitions”), a slide show from Dave Eggers and Valentino Achak Deng, and a conversation with Jonathan Lethem, Jonathan Safran Foer and their publishers in France and Germany.
An opening Book Festival Gala VIP event on Saturday night will be followed by a free screening of the 1995 film Smoke, written by Paul Auster. For more details, visit www.brooklynbookfestival.org.