Brooklyn’s literary luminaries read from their latest works and discussed the state of the written word on Sunday at the sixth annual Brooklyn Book Festival.
The festival comprised hundreds of readings from some of the world’s most renowned authors, including Joyce Carol Oates, Jonathan Safran Foer, Colson Whitehead, Jennifer Egan, and Jhumpa Lahiri — who received the festival’s “BoBi” award, given to writer whose body of work exemplifies the spirit of Brooklyn.
“Reading matters in Brooklyn — and writers thrive,” said Lahiri. “The Brooklyn Book Festival embraces and celebrates this unique cultural energy.”
The book festivals highlights included Oates’ engrossing reading of an essay about a 13-year-old whose mother is asked to identify a corpse; a snappy discussion about memory with Tea Olbreht and the “It Girl” of Brooklyn Literature, Myla Goldberg; a heartwarming discussion about religion with Sen. Joe Lieberman (D–Connecticut); and a reading from Park Slope-born journalist Pete Hamill from his new book, “Tabloid City.”
Hamill said that Brooklyn has a “definable human scale.”
“There’s a sense that you know the people who live nearby,” he said. “I can go to my old neighborhood and tell you who lived in each apartment because the buildings are still there. The new writers of Brooklyn aren’t writing about my Brooklyn, but it’s still a recognizable Brooklyn because they’re responding to the same things I responded to in a totally different era.”
— with Tom Tracy