Home to some of the best independent bookstores in the city, Brooklyn is once again hosting its famed Book Festival.
This year’s Festival is bigger than ever, so we put together this handy, hour-by-hour guide to catching the best events happening in and around Downtown’s Borough Hall on September 22. With more than 300 authors participating in more than 90 panels, workshops, and readings at the free yearly festival, you can thank us later. (For a full schedule and complete list of authors, visit www.brookl
10 am: One of the highlights of the annual book festival is the marketplace that takes over the plaza in front of Borough Hall, where publishers and bookstores collide for a cornucopia of literary journals and novels. With coffee and breakfast in tow, take a stroll throughout the grounds before it gets too crowded and meet some of Brooklyn’s own literary forces, like Fort Greene’s Greenlight Bookstore.
“The Brooklyn Book Festival is one of the highlights of our literary year,” said co-owner Jessica Stockton Bagnulo. “As always, we’ll be offering our own curated selection of Brooklyn-related fiction, nonfiction, and kids books, for the discerning and enthusiastic audiences of the festival.”
[Borough Hall Plaza, Court Street at Montague Street]
11 am: What do A.X. Ahmad, Caleb Crain, Ursula DeYoung, Michele Forbes, and Ayana Mathis have in common? The Brooklyn Book Festival has deemed them this year’s most impressive debut novelists. Hear them read from their much-praised works.
[Borough Hall Courtroom, 209 Joralemon St. between Court and Adams streets in Downtown]
Noon: Head back outside to the North Stage as Lynn Nottage, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of “Ruined,” talks with Rebecca Miller and Lemon Anderson about writing for the stage, screen, and books.
[Borough Hall Plaza, see venue info above]
1 pm: Book it to St. Francis College’s auditorium to see famed young adult novelist Lois Lowry, who likely holds a special place in your own adolescent heart. “The Giver” and “Number the Stars” author is also this year’s Brooklyn Book Festival honoree, to boot.
[St. Francis College, 180 Remsen St. between Court and Clinton streets in Brooklyn Heights]
2 pm: Your stomach will likely be grumbly at this point, so grab some lunch at one of the many restaurants lining Montague Street. If you have the energy, we recommend heading back to Borough Hall for the panel “Creating Dangerously in a Dangerous World.” With the situation in Syria on everyone’s minds, a discussion of war and violence is particularly timely. Edwidge Danticat, Courtney Angela Brkic, and Dinaw Mengestu will share their thoughts on how fiction, reportage, memoir, and essay can reflect the trauma of war.
[Borough Hall Courtroom, see venue info above]
3 pm: Celebrated authors Amy Brill, Colum McCann, and Montague Kobbé are brought together to discuss creating fiction based on historical figures and events. With the first female astronomer, a revolution in Anguilla, and a family of Irish women the sources of inspiration, it should be an engaging discussion.
[St. Francis College, see venue info above]
4 pm: Remain right in your seat and hear from legendary graphic novelist Art Spiegelman. The Pulitzer Prize winner will discuss his incredible career, including “Raw,” “Maus,” and his latest, “Co-Mix,” with Jules Feiffer.
[St. Francis College, see venue info above]
5 pm: End the day with another topical discussion, this one about the surveillance state, around the corner at St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church. Danticat is joined by Francine Prose, André Aciman, Leonard Lopate, NSA whistleblower Tom Drake, and more for a conversation on the dangers of surveillance on creative freedom.
[St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church, 157 Montague St. between Clinton and Henry streets in Brooklyn Heights]
8 pm: But wait, there’s more! If you haven’t collapsed at home in a pile of tote bags, festival swag, and books, then make your way over to Union Hall for one of the festival’s off-site, “Bookend” events. Comedians and debut authors Mindy Raf, Ophira Eisenberg, and Selena Coppock will help you end the day with some levity — and laughs.
[Union Hall, 702 Union St. between Fifth and Sixth avenues in Park Slope], $5.
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