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Novel undertaking: Center for Fiction opens new headquarters in Fort Greene - Brooklyn Paper

Novel undertaking: Center for Fiction opens new headquarters in Fort Greene

Bookish bigwig: Noreen Tomassi, the executive director of Fort Greene’s new Center for Fiction, hopes scribes and bibliophiles will use the space to form connections.
Beowulf Sheehan

The building only has three floors, but it has thousands of stories!

The country’s only organization devoted to fiction will open its doors in Fort Greene on Feb. 19. The Center for Fiction’s new chapter, moving from the distant isle of Manhattan to Brooklyn, will give this borough’s many scribes and bibliophiles a chance to come together in a new and modern space, said its executive director.

“So much of our encounters with others happen in virtual spaces now, and for us it’s really important to have a place that people can walk into and talk with one another face-to-face in — about books, about cultural experiences they’re having, but also to help one another process what’s going on in the world,” said Noreen Tomassi. “Brooklyn’s crawling with writers, and there’s so many readers here. It’s such a literary place.”

The space features state-of-the-art facilities, including a 140-seat auditorium equipped to livestream events, and a studio where bookish bigwigs can record the center’s podcast, “Fiction Talks.” The upgrades will help expand the center’s mission to explore the role of fiction across television, films, podcasts, and video games, said Tomassi.

“Because of our technical capabilities here, we’re much more able to expand our notion of fiction beyond just fiction in books to the way people tell stories and hear stories in various media,” she said.

Book heaven: The Center for Fiction’s bookstore offers classic and bestselling fiction reads, along with a selection of poetry, kids’ books, graphic novels, and nonfiction.
Photo by Trey Pentecost

But readers can still indulge their love for a good old-fashioned book at the center’s bookstore, which offers classic and bestselling fiction, along with a selection of poetry, kids’ books, graphic novels, and nonfiction. Those who shell out the $150 annual membership fee can also access a sleek reading room, the adjacent garden terrace, and a library of more than 70,000 books, included rare 19th century tomes and more than 16,000 crime fiction titles.

The Center will launch its new space with an already-sold-out gala event on Feb. 19, which will be followed by a regular series of readings, talks with authors, and writing workshops, all of which will be open to the public.

The executive director said she hopes that visitors will feel comfortable in the new space, and will use it to connect with each other.

“We want to create a forum for ideas and interchangements, and make people feel like they have a home here,” she said.

The Center for Fiction (15 Lafayette Ave. at Ashland Place in Fort Greene, www.centerforfiction.org). Opening Feb. 19. $150 annual membership ($275 for couples; $325 for households of three or more).

Heads down: While the Center for Fiction finished setting up, busts of some of the greatest writers in history stood in front of an old-fashioned card catalogue.
Photo by Trey Pentecost

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@schnepsmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.

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