Getting lit! Brooklyn librarians give a toast to writers

Getting lit! Brooklyn librarians give a toast to writers
Photo by Jordan Rathkopf

They were three shhhhhhh-eets to the wind!

Local lit fans boozed it up on literary cocktails at Brooklyn Public Library’s Park Slope branch on Friday, where the borough’s book lender honored authors handpicked by their biggest fans — the librarians!

“I’m really excited to receive an award that was judged by librarians,” said writer Carmen Maria Machado, who won the $5,000 prize for excellence in fiction for her short-story anthology “Her Body and Other Parties.”

Library fund-raising group the Brooklyn Eagles, named for the bronze figures that adorn the library’s Central Branch, tapped patrons for $150 at the door to party at the book lender’s swanky children’s library — where Brooklyn Public Library plans to install a $6,000 bronze statue of Knuffle Bunny — at Sixth Avenue and Ninth Street.

Inside, boozy bookworms sipped on cocktails including the Dorothy Parker Revival, a play on the Corpse Reviver cocktail and named after the late poet and satirist; and the Carnegie Mule, a re-branding of the Moscow Mule in honor of the library’s 19th-century, billionaire benefactor.

Wild child: Author Carmen Maria Machado, left, who won the Library’s literary fiction award for “Her Body and Other Parties,” stands with author Val Howlett and podcast host Catie Lazarus. Machado said that when she was young, she roamed her local library “like a feral child. It was not just a place for books — it was a safe space for a weird kid.”
Photo by Jordan Rathkopf

Red Hook brewery Sixpoint also came out with a specialty beer for the event, the delicious Shhhh, an American pale ale created in collaboration with Brooklyn Public Library, which the brewery claims on its website produces an aroma as “soft as a librarian’s sweater.”

In addition to Machado, the library honored Brooklyn College professor Jeanne Theoharis with the nonfiction prize for her book “A More Beautiful and Terrible History,” which challenges popular myths about the American civil-rights movement.

The local author claimed she is as much a fan of the borough’s library system as it is of her, and said she and the librarians would be seeing a lot of each other going forward.

“I live two blocks from the Central Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. I love it. It is probably my favorite public institution there,” she said. “I go there, I hold seminars there. I feel like, to have my work nominated and recognized by the library — it makes me feel so sparkly!”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Quiet please: Library patrons partied it up at the Park Slope Branch on Saturday for the library’s annual literary awards.
Photo by Jordan Rathkopf