Hard to believe the Brooklyn Book Festival will enter its seventh year on September 23. It’s blossomed into a premier literary event that will showcase over 280 authors, 104 panels, and over 50 “bookend” events around Brooklyn in the week leading up to it.
Also excited to see all of the writers and poets from around the African diaspora who will be represented. Check this list out:
Christopher John Farley
Melanie Maria Goodreaux
Jacqueline Jones LaMon
E. B. Lewis
Bernice L. McFadden
Eisa Nefartari Ulen
Fam is representin’! Some highlights:
Brooklyn Borough Hall Courtroom (209 Joralemon Street)
12:00 P.M. Characters on Characters. Best-selling literary lions Walter Mosley, Edwidge Danticat and Dennis Lehane discuss their unforgettable characters and the darkness that often enshrouds them. The program will also feature short readings. Moderated by Harold Augenbraum of the National Book Foundation.
3:00 P.M. Felicia Pride moderates Gone But Not Forgotten. Francine Prose (My New American Life), Patrick Somerville (This Bright River) and Thad Ziolkowski (Wichita) explore when their characters reunite with family members, for better or worse, and how the past shapes us or compels us to reinvent ourselves. Short readings and discussion.
5:00 P.M. Ta-Nehisi Coates (r) moderates The Fragility of Electability: Campaigns, Character and Messing with Texas. A conversation with Gail Collins (As Texas Goes…How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda), Jodi Kantor (The Obamas) and John MacArthur (The Outrageous Barriers to Democracy in America, or, Why A Progressive Presidency Is Impossible).
Brooklyn Borough Hall Community Room (209 Joralemon Street)
12:00 P.M. Through the Eyes of a Child. Join Somali-English author Nadifa Mohamed (Black Mamba Boy), Maaza Mengiste (Beneath the Lion’s Gaze) and Congo’s Emmanuel Dongala (Johnny Mad Dog and Little Boys Come from the Stars) for a conversation on contemporary African novels which explore themes of identity, memory and violence through child narrators. Moderated by Bhakti Shringarpure, Warscapes.
2:00 P.M. Calabash Presents. Jamaica’s legendary Calabash International Literary Festival celebrates 50 years of Jamaican independence with readings by premier Jamaican-born novelists and poets Chris John Farley (Kingston Noir), Jacqueline Bishop (Snapshots from Istanbul), and Ishion Hutchinson (Far District). Moderated by Calabash co-founder Kwame Dawes.
3:00 P.M. BOCAS Presents. Trinidad’s groundbreaking annual NGC Bocas Literary Festival comes to Brooklyn to celebrate 50 years of Trinidad & Tobago independence with readings by Earl Lovelace (Is Just a Movie), Victoria Brown (r) (Minding Ben) and Anton Nimblett (Sections of an Orange). Moderated by Nicholas Laughlin, BOCAS organizer and editor of the Caribbean Review of Books.
Main Stage (Borough Hall Plaza)
4:00 P.M. Good Times. Different Times. Jimmie Walker (Dyn-O-Mite: A Memoir) and Bern Nadette Stanis (Situations 101: Relationships, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly) from the landmark TV show, Good Times, in conversation. Moderated by Carolyn Greer.
5:00 Here in New York. Cecily von Ziegesar (Gossip Girl) chronicles the lives of the Upper East Side’s elite; Charles Rice-Gonzalez (Chulito) tells the coming-of-age story of a group of South Bronx teenagers discovering their sexual orientation, and Nathan Larson (The Dewey Decimal System) deals with the collapse of Wall Street and its effect on a dirty lawyer. One city, many lives. Moderated by Philip Leventhal.
Saint Francis Auditorium (180 Remsen Street)
4:00 P.M. Isabel Wilkerson (r) in Conversation with Amy Goodman. Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson discusses themes from her bestselling National Book Critics Circle Award-winning The Warmth of Other Suns, which views the Great Migration of the 20th Century as an epic tale of immigrants journeying to new and unfamiliar lands. In Conversation with Amy Goodman (The Silenced Majority Stories of Uprisings, Occupations, Resistance, and Hope), host and executive producer of “Democracy Now!” public radio and TV news program.
St. Francis McArdle (180 Remsen Street)
12:00 P.M. The Politics of Identity—Do They Still Matter? As America grows more diverse, “minorities” will soon be the majority and this shift in demographics affects our culture and the ways we think about it. Can—and should—we move beyond the idea of race in America? Baratunde Thurston (How to Be Black), Rebecca Walker (Black Cool) and Wesley Yang (author of the New York magazine “Paper Tigers” and a forthcoming book on Asians in America) will interrogate the stereotypes we still have of each other, both positive and negative, and examine the ways we run from and cling to various aspects of identity, race, and heritage. Moderated by Amitava Kumar.
Saint Ann and the Holy Trinity Church (157 Montage Street)
2:00 P.M. Literary Lions. Readings by award winning authors Pete Hamill (Tabloid City), Edwidge Danticat (Create Dangerously) and Paul Auster (Winter Journal). Whether their point of view is a palimpsest of Brooklyn fiction or set in other places, they have each lived in Brooklyn and been influenced by it. Followed by Q & A. Introduced by Johnny Temple, Publisher, Akashic Books and Chair of the Brooklyn Literary Council.
3:30 P.M. A Fiction Triumvirate: McFadden, Oates, Whitehead. Three of America’s finest authors read from their work, followed by Q & A. Bernice L. McFadden, Joyce Carol Oates and Colson Whitehead. Introduced by Rob Spillman, Tin House.
Brooklyn Historical Society Library (128 Pierrepont Street)
10:00 A.M. Touré moderates The Nation Presents Election 2012. The presidential election comes at a critical moment for the United States. Demands for US engagement abroad are substantial—particularly in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. At home, shortages of jobs and housing are creating domestic crises unseen in generations. What are the stakes in Election 2012? What would change with a Romney victory and what would stay the same? A conversation featuring Katrina vanden Heuvel (The Change I Believe In), Tom Frank (Pity the Billionaire) and Eric Alterman (The Cause: The Fight for American Liberalism from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama).
12:00 P.M. Rewriting History. Jamie Manrique (Cervantes Street), Esmeralda Santiago (Conquistadora) and Ellis Avery (The Last Nude) read and discuss their historical novels, filled with vivid characters ranging from Avery’s Parisian lovers and Santiago’s nineteenth century love triangle to Manrique’s fictional account of the life of Miguel de Cervantes, author of the classic Don Quixote. Moderated by Albert Mobilio.
2:00 P.M. Writing the Unthinkable: Memoir and the Artist. It is said that art imitates life—but, sometimes only an unwavering look at reality will do. Three celebrated artists—novelists Benjamin Anastas (Too Good to Be True), Reyna Grande (Across a Hundred Mountains) and guitarist Eric Erlandson of Hole (Letters to Kurt)—turned to memoir to truly confront and understand some of the most challenging moments in their lives. Moderated by GQ Senior Editor Logan Hill.
There’s lots more, including workshops and areas for young readers. Check it all out at on the Brooklyn Book Festival site.