Book this in to your schedule now!
The Brooklyn Book Festival is back Downtown on Sept. 21, bringing dozens of authors, publishers, and booksellers together in the literary heart of New York City for talks, readings, workshops, signings, and more.
In fact, there is so much going on, you can’t possibly make it to everything in one day. So our culture scientists have crunched the data to create the perfect personalized schedules for attendees of different interests.
For aspiring writers
Headed to the fest to network and pick up some tips for your own budding writing career?
Any young millennial trying to write a self-absorbed novel about self-absorbed millennials writing novels in New York City could probably learn a thing from “How To Write About A City” at 1 pm, where Phillip Lopate (“Writing New York: A Literary Anthology”), Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts (“Harlem is Nowhere”) and Edmund White (“Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris”) will discuss how they developed a sense of space and place in their location-specific works.
Illustrators are expensive, so learn how to do your own graphics in the “Draw Your Own Cartoons!” workshop with cartoonist Jerry Craft at 2 pm.
And you are your own brand in this post-Instagram world, so pick up some self-promotion tips with literary marketers and publicists at “Timeline to Success” at 4 pm.
Finally, at 5 pm, get some free legal advice on how to protect your precious work and ideas from industry vultures at “Calling All Creators: Intellectual Property Legal Advice.”
For kids (and their long-suffering parents)
Start the day off at 11 am with something both you and the youngsters can enjoy at “Comics Quick Draw,” where three illustrators will battle each other in a test of on-the-spot drawing. Jerry Craft (“The Zero Degree Zombie Zone”), Ursula Vernon (“Dragonbreath”), and Ben Hatke (“Zita the Spacegirl”) will square off with drawings inspired by suggestions from the audience.
Everybody loves animals, so the whole family should hoof on over to “Animal Heroes” and noon, where authors will tell true tales of cuddly creatures that have done amazing things.
For tweens and teens, check out “That’s Entertainment!” at 2 pm, where young adult authors Adele Griffin (“The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone”), bestselling author Gordon Korman (“The Hypnotists”), and Una Lamarche (“Like No Other”), will act out parts of their books — with a little help from the audience.
Finally, wrap things up at 5 pm with “Welcome to Fantasy Island” — a reference your fantasy-loving offspring won’t actually get. They will, however, have heard of Scott Westerfeld (“Afterworlds”), C.J. Farley (“Game World”), and Cara Lynn Shultz (“The Dark World”), who will discuss how they created the fantastical worlds and storylines in their work.
In addition to these events, the Children’s Area is packed all day with readings and activities geared toward rug rats. Our suggestions include Naoko Stoop reading “Red Knit Cap Girl and the Reading Tree” at 11 am, Angela Dominguez reading “Maria Had a Little Llama” at 1 pm, and Jacqueline Schmidt reading “Patchwork Helps a Friend” at 4:30 pm — but show up at any time during the day and you’re sure to find a way to entertain the little ones.
Plus, five cut-outs of the infamously incognito Waldo are hiding around the festival, and your intrepid and inquisitive young’uns can track them down for the chance to win one of two “Where’s Waldo?” prize packs. Even if they don’t, this all-day event will be a prize for parents looking to fill their kids’ 30-second attention spans.
For history buffs
If there is one thing better than a free book festival, it is a free education! Why go to college when so many experts are just giving away their knowledge gratis?
Start off local. At 11 am, Elizabeth Gaffney (“When the World Was Young”), Rashidah Ismaili (“Autobiography of the Lower East Side”), and Sam Roberts (“The History of New York City in 101 Objects”) will discuss life in New York from the 1940s to the ’60s at “Politics, War, Love and Street Life.”
Then get a global perspective at noon with “Mandela: An American Perspective,” where three Mandela experts will examine the South African leader’s influence on American politics and how his story was viewed through the American lens.
At 2 pm, Darryl Pinckney (“Blackballed: The Black Vote and US Democracy”), F. Michael Higginbotham (“Ghosts of Jim Crow: Ending Racism in Post-Racial America”) and Ari Berman (“Herding Donkeys: The Fight to Rebuild the Democratic Party and Reshape American Politics”) will discuss the history of black voting rights and look forward to the midterm elections at “Voting Rights from Reconstruction to Obama.”
Then at 4 pm, wrap things up with an optimistic vision for the future at “Peace: The Next Generation,” where Ilyasah Shabazz, the daughter of Malcolm X, and Arun Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, will talk about filling big shoes, and why they both chose to write books about peace for children.
Brooklyn Book Festival at and near Brooklyn Borough Hall (209 Joralemon St. at Court Street in Downtown). Sept. 21 from 10 am–6 pm. Free. See www.brooklynbookfestival.org for all locations and full schedule.