“Booklyn” will be back in grand fashion with the seventh annual Brooklyn Book Festival headlined by such celebrity authors as Brooklyn’s own Tony Danza, and this year’s lineup includes a full week of “Bookend” events before the festival date.
The festival, which will be held in and around Brooklyn Borough Hall Plaza and Columbus Park between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Sunday, September 23, is not only the largest free literary happening in New York City, but on the northeastern seaboard, according to Jon Paul Lupo, chief of staff to Borough President Marty Markowitz who, recalled Lupo, adopted the idea of a free literary extravaganza after the long-running Manhattan-based “New York is Book Country” folded some years back.
There was good reason for that. “Brooklyn, or ‘Book-lyn’ as I like to call it, has more writers per square inch than almost anywhere else in the country, all contributing to our growing reputation as the epicenter of the literary universe – where authors from across the globe gather each fall for the Brooklyn Book Festival,” contends Markowitz.
Because Brooklyn doesn’t do anything on a modest scale, the Brooklyn Book Festival is also “the third largest book festival in the country,” Lupo said, predicting that, “Before all is said and done, it will be the biggest.”
The kickoff to this year’s festival will begin with the first Bookend events on September 17 – a free 7 p.m. opening night party at Public Assembly, 70 North Sixth Street in Williamsburg, as well as a panel discussion of the impact of literary magazines at Carroll Gardens’ BookCourt, 163 Court Street, also free, also at 7 p.m.
“Bookends really makes this borough-wide,” stressed Lupo, who said that new this year to the book festival will be a phone app for festival-goers.
Programming at both festival and Bookends events has been arranged to appeal to a wide range of people, from children to adults.
Among the authors who are expected to be at the festival are Brooklynites Paul Auster, Edwidge Danticat, Pete Hamill and children’s book author Jon Scieszka, as well as thriller writer Mary Higgins Clark, former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins, cartoonist Gilbert Hernandez, “Nation” Editor and Publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel, humorist John Hodgman, and novelists Terry McMillan, Joyce Carol Oates and Francine Prose.
The expanded schedule of close to 50 Bookends events – most free, some for an entrance fee, taking place at venues around the borough – will complement the more than 100 events scheduled for festival day, said Johnny Temple, publisher of Akashic Books and the chairperson of the borough president’s literary council, who stressed, “The festival is literally bursting at the seams with incredible programming.”
Bookends events include literary quiz and trivia nights – can you identify the writers behind some of Bartlett’s most famous quotations? – to readings by famous writers (Salman Rushdie, Denis Hamill and Jeffrey Eugenides among them) to a Walt Whitman-inspired trip on the East River Ferry entitled “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” to kid-oriented A-Z Authors and Animals sessions at both the New York Aquarium and the Prospect Park Zoo.
For further information, log onto www.brooklynbookfestival.org.