The 15th annual Brooklyn Book Festival, which will take place September 28-October 5 this year, will be held entirely virtually due to pandemic-related restrictions on public gatherings.
The festival will launch on September 28 with Bookends, a week-long series of special digital literary events, including LGBTQ- and Latinx-focused events, which will precede the two main days of the festival: Children’s Day, featuring a virtual draw-off competition between cartoonists, on October 3, and Festival Day on October 4. Announced today by festival founders and coproducers Carolyn Greer and Liz Koch, this year’s all-virtual Brooklyn Book Festival will be presented using pre-recorded, live-streamed panel and interview events hosted on the Zoom platform and featuring more than 150 authors participating from around the globe.
"For children, parents, and educators, Children’s Day is a literary celebration like no other and one that reflects the diverse and international spirit of the city," Liz Koch, festival co-producer, said in a statement. "We are excited to offer families and children this free and welcoming cultural experience to meet authors virtually, hear discussions about, and enjoy literary performances.”
The festival is known for the diversity and range of the authors that will be presenting, and this year’s festival will include such acclaimed writers as Cathy Park Hong, N.K. Jemesin, Tayari Jones, Libba Bray, Adrian Tomine, Deborah Madison, Meg Medina, Fernanda Melchor, Jerry Saltz, R. L. Stine, Gene Luen Yang, Lee Child, Adrienne Miller, Donna Hill, Emma Straub, and others. Indeed, the organizers noted that the virtual format will allow the festival to include a great variety of international authors, and on Festival Day on October 4, the festival will livestream about four events per hour throughout the day.
Brooklyn-born playwright Lynn Nottage, recipient of a MacArthur “genius” fellowship and the first woman to win two Pulitzer Prizes for drama, will be honored with this year’s Best of Brooklyn Award, which is presented to an author whose work exemplifies the spirit of Brooklyn. Nottage’s plays often focus on the lives of marginalized people.
“During this challenging year, the arts and all forms of creative expression have been a vital source of comfort for many of our people and communities, but also one of our city’s hardest-hit industries," Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams said in a statement. "This event embodies the spirit of One Brooklyn, where we seek to build bridges between cultures and promote common understanding. It will be especially great to welcome a global audience to the first virtual festival, and showcase Brooklyn as a global literary hub.”