The Best of the Brooklyn Book Fest

The Brooklyn Book Festival is this Sunday, and with so many great events that day (and leading up to it) it’s difficult to know how to spend your time. So here’s a list of our favorite, most anticipated BKBF13 panels and readings. Don’t forget to visit us at Booth 162 to get a free tattoo from Saguaro our upcoming novel release!

10 a.m.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter:

BOROUGH HALL COMMUNITY ROOM (209 Joralemon Street) We love to talk about love: new love, old loves and — the worst kind of all — love interrupted. More than that, we love to read about love. Jess Row (The Train to Lo Wu), and J. Courtney Sullivan (The Engagements) bring us stories about the history of the diamond ring across America, the decline of a marriage in London, and the intimate lives of characters in Hong Kong. Moderated by Rachel Fershleiser.

The So-Called ‘Post-Feminist, Post-Racial’ Life in Publishing

BOROUGH HALL COURTROOM (209 Joralemon Street) Best-selling author Deborah Copaken Kogan sparked a firestorm with her explosive essay in The Nation, and her experience as a 21st-century female author was marked by slut-shaming, name-calling and an enduring lack of respect. Poet, activist and author of sixteen books, Sonia Sanchez (Homegirls and Handgrenades) has consistently addressed the lack of respect for the struggles and lives of Black America. Author and founder of Feministing, Jessica Valenti, has devoted considerable time to transforming the media landscape for women. Moderated by Rob Spillman (Tin House)

11 a.m.

Who? New!


BOROUGH HALL COURTROOM (209 Joralemon Street) The Brooklyn Book Festival picks five of the year’s most impressive debut novelists who will read from their work: A.X. Ahmad (The Caretaker), Caleb Crain (Necessary Errors), Ursula DeYoung (Shorecliff), Michele Forbes (Ghost Moth), and Ayana Mathis (The Twelve Tribes of Hattie).

12 p.m.

Poets Laureate Past and Present Reading:

MAIN STAGE (Borough Hall Plaza) Tina Chang (Brooklyn Poet Laureate), Ashley August (New York Youth Poet Laureate), Marie Howe (New York State Poet Laureate), and Charles Simic (US Poet Laureate 2007–08) read from their work. Introduced by Alice Quinn, Poetry Society of America.

Cities and their Ghosts, Past and Future:

BOROUGH HALL COMMUNITY ROOM (209 Joralemon Street) What phantoms continue to haunt the landscape of our cities and our dreams? And how will these apparitions appear to us in the future, in a world even more shrouded in mystery? Basque author Kirmen Uribe (Mean While Take My Hand) searches for roots in Spain and abroad; Patricio Pron (My Fathers’ Ghost is Climbing in the Rain) reckons with his father’s hidden life and Chang-Rae Lee (On Such a Full Sea) depicts a bleak vision of an apocalyptic Baltimore. Short readings and discussion. Moderated by Valeria Luiselli.

Arts and Politics in Fiction:

BROOKLYN HISTORICAL SOCIETY AUDITORIUM (128 Pierrepont Street) Art has always been a tool for political and social change. In these novels, it comes in the form of protest-pop songs, motorcycle photography and high-end fashion. Alex Gilvarry (From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant), Rachel Kushner (The Flamethrowers) and Nicholson Baker (Traveling Sprinkler) shed new light on the timeless relationship between art and politics. Moderated by Joel Whitney.

1 p.m.

The Wonder Years:

Elliott Holt is joined by Ben Dolnick and Meg Wolitzer at 1 p.m.

Elliott Holt is joined by Ben Dolnick and Meg Wolitzer at 1 p.m.

ST. FRANCIS MCARDLE (180 Remsen Street) With friends like these…In these novels by Meg Wolitzer (The Interestings), Ben Dolnick (At the Bottom of Everything), and Elliott Holt (You Are One of Them), childhood friends weave in and out of each other’s lives as they grow into adulthood and out of each other. These friends are bound by history as much as they are by hidden jealousy, guilt, and deathly deception. Friendship is complicated. Moderated by Steph Opitz (Texas Book Festival).

Brooklyn Book Festival Presents Lois Lowry, 2013 BoBi Honoree:

ST. FRANCIS AUDITORIUM (180 Remsen Street) Enjoy the Newbery award-winning author of The Giver and Number the Stars. She is one of the most important figures in youth literature today and admired for boldly writing about dystopian societies and the importance of cherishing human connections. In conversation with 2013 Newbery Medalist Katherine Applegate (The One and Only Ivan).

2 p.m.

Creating Dangerously in a Dangerous World

BOROUGH HALL COURTROOM (209 Joralemon Street) How do different forms — fiction, reportage, memoir and essay — capture different realities, especially when the principal subject is the trauma of war and violence? Join three authors whose work explores horrific visions from a variety of angles: Edwidge Danticat (Claire of the Sea Light), Courtney Angela Brkic (The First Rule of Swimming) and Dinaw Mengestu (How to Read the Air). Moderated by Bhakti Shringarpure, editor of Warscapes.

Love, Villainy, Ethics and Karaoke: Chuck Klosterman and Rob Sheffield in Conversation.

MAIN STAGE (Borough Hall Plaza) With trademark wit and insight, essayist, novelist and New York Times “Ethicist” Chuck Klosterman (I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains Real and Imagined) and Rolling Stone scribe and memoirist Rob Sheffield (Turn Around Bright Eyes: The Rituals of Love and Karaoke) grapple with issues of life and love, fantasy and memory, heroes and villains past, present, pop cultural and personal. Moderated by Ed Park.

Writers Who Read:

ST. ANN & THE HOLY TRINITY CHURCH (157 Montague Street) These stories come alive on paper, but nothing’s better than hearing Jonathan Ames (Wake Up, Sir!), Sapphire (The Kid), and Tao Lin (Taipei) read their vivid prose aloud. Colorful, memorable characters riddled with tragedy and emotional issues truly come to life when embodied by their brilliant, charismatic creators.

3 p.m.

The Faces of Brooklyn:

BOROUGH HALL COURTROOM (209 Joralemon Street) New York’s coolest borough is home to hipsters, people who dislike hipsters and literary stars — among them, Brooklyn enthusiasts Pete Hamill (The Christmas Kid), Adelle Waldman (The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.) and Adrian Tomine (New York Drawings). These powerhouses plant uniquely different characters in a nostalgic Brooklyn, a contemporary Brooklyn and a colorful Brooklyn that jumps off the page. Moderated by Penina Roth (Franklin Park Reading Series).

Real People, Imagined Stories:

ST. FRANCIS AUDITORIUM (180 Remsen Street) These novels are so fascinating that it’s easy to forget they’re based on the lives of very real historical figures. Amy Brill (The Movement of Stars), Colum McCann (TransAtlantic), and Montague Kobbé (The Night of the Rambler) examine the lesser-known stories of the first female astronomer, a fifteen-hour revolution in Anguilla, and three generations of Irish women whose stories of hope and survival are played out against a century and a half of Irish-American history. Moderated by Jeffrey Lependorf (CLMP).


Idols, Gods, and Kings:

ST. ANN & THE HOLY TRINITY CHURCH (157 Montague Street) Literary forces Teddy Wayne (The Love Song of Jonny Valentine), Tom Wolfe (Back to Blood) and Cristina García (King of Cuba) explore the concept of power with three very different casts: an eleven-year-old superstar’s road to fame; the varied, shady folks running an election in Miami; and a fictionalized Fidel Castro and his vengeful exile. Moderated by Greg Cowles (The New York Times).

4 p.m.

Author Karen Russell, who'll be joined by another Recommended Reading alum, A.M. Homes, in conversation with our own Halimah Marcus

Author Karen Russell, who’ll be joined by another Recommended Reading alum, A.M. Homes, in conversation with our own Halimah Marcus

The Fantastic and the Strange

BROOKLYN HISTORICAL SOCIETY AUDITORIUM (128 Pierrepont Street) Three visionary writers take the world as we know it and flip it on its side. Manuel Gonzales (The Miniature Wife), Karen Russell (Vampires in the Lemon Grove), and A.M. Homes (The Safety of Objects) weave together the realistic and the unbelievable to create a magical, sometimes chilling approach to storytelling. Short readings and discussion. Moderated by Halimah Marcus (Electric Literature).

Mind Over Matter

BROOKLYN LAW SCHOOL STUDENT LOUNGE (250 Joralemon St.) There’s something weird going on here. A man’s cultish promise to cure loneliness leads to an unexpected situation. A woman discovers her gift to fix the scandals of those around her but not her own. A fishy epidemic of advanced dementia rages in a hospital in post-9/11 America. Fiona Maazel (Woke Up Lonely), Jonathan Dee (A Thousand Pardons), and Lore Segal (Half the Kingdom) show that, often, what we seek to control ends up controlling us instead. Moderated by Ken Chen, Asian American Writers Workshop.

5 p.m.

Let’s Talk About (Writing) Sex

Sam Lipsyte talks about sex at 5 p.m.

Sam Lipsyte talks about sex at 5 p.m.

MAIN STAGE (Borough Hall Plaza) Everyone’s writing about it. Sam Lipsyte (The Fun Parts) pens sardonic short stories about sex in a misanthropic world. Amy Grace Loyd (The Affairs of Others) depicts an apartment building filled with violence, mystery, and, of course, sex. And Susan Choi (My Education) puts a (sexy) new twist on the student-teacher relationship. Short readings and discussion. Moderated by Angela Ledgerwood (Cosmopolitan Magazine).

Something to Hide: Writers Against the Surveillance State.

ST. ANN & THE HOLY TRINITY CHURCH (157 Montague Street) Recent leaks have revealed the breathtaking reach of the National Security Agency’s secret surveillance programs. Should writers and readers be concerned? A fast-paced mosaic of readings by leading PEN members and others to provoke reflection on the dangers surveillance poses to the freedom to think and create, and to celebrate the role writers have played in defying those dangers. Join Brooklyn Book Festival authors Edwidge Danticat, Francine Prose and Andre Aciman, radio host Leonard Lopate and NSA whistleblower, Tom Drake, and others. Presented by PEN American Center, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the New York Civil Liberties Union.

Reality Check

BROOKLYN LAW SCHOOL STUDENT LOUNGE (250 Joralemon St.) The transition from 20’s to 30’s — school to work, dating to relationships, moving in, out and on is not just a work in process but a creative process! Iris Smyles (Iris Has Free Time) Adelle Waldman (The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P) and Royal Young (Fame Shark) represent the self examination of this generation in memoir and fiction. Moderated by Matthew Love, Time Out New York

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Thank You!