Read all about it!: The best Brooklyn Book Festival events

A bird’s eye view!: Heather Wolf, the author of “Birding at the Bridge,” will lead a birding tour along the waterfront on Sept. 17.
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The third annual Brooklyn Book Festival will shine a light on the literary works that have Kings Countians turning their pages. The actual festival goes down outside Borough Hall on Sept. 18, but is bookended by many, many readings, panels, discussions, parties, and performances around the borough. Here are some of the highlights to help you get the best-read week around.

Terror in the park

Children’s book author and master of the creep R.L. Stine will read from his latest tale, “Young Scrooge: A Very Scary Christmas Story” at this outdoor event. Stine will field enquiries about his hair-raising tales after the reading.

Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1 (enter at Furman Street at Old Fulton Street in Dumbo). Sept. 13 at 6 pm. Free.

Rocks from space

Best-selling Cuban science fiction author and heavy metal rocker Yoss will host a discussion on the Cuban literary and metal scenes before taking the stage to perform some of his most thrashing songs. Tickets include a free drink and copy of his space opera, “Super Extra Grande.”

Issue Project Room (22 Boerum Pl. at Livingston St. Downtown). Sept. 15 at 8 pm. $15.

Kid stuff

Some of the most exciting authors in the kiddie book world will come together during the festival’s Children’s Day in MetroTech Commons. The day’s highlights include a theater performance celebrating author Ezra Jack Keats’s 100th birthday, a cartoon workshop, and a debate to determine the most evil Roald Dahl villain.

MetroTech Commons (1 MetroTech Center at Jay Street Downtown, Sept. 17 from 10 am–4 pm. Free.

Follow that bird!

Heather Wolf, the author behind “Birding at the Bridge: In Search of Every Bird on the Brooklyn Waterfront” will lead a tour from Pier Six to Pier One, pointing out avian hotspots along the way.

Freebird Books (123 Columbia Street at Kane St. in Red Hook, Sept. 17 at 9 am. Free.

Book to the future

Architect Karen Fairbanks, media scholar Shannon Mattern and Brooklyn Public Library’s David Giles will discuss the roles of the city’s book depositories during the “Where are Libraries Headed?” panel discussion.

Brooklyn Historical Society (128 Pierrepont St. at Clinton Street in Brooklyn Heights, Sept. 18 at 11 am. Free.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

John Kwok from Sunset Park says:
The Brooklyn Book Festival has become the most politicized, most partisan and biased "major" literary festival in the country, unlike other, more notable, festivals in Washington, DC (National Book Festival), Los Angeles (Los Angeles Times Festival of Books), Tucson (Tucson Festival of Books) and Boston (Boston Book Festival) and New York City (The New Yorker Festival, World Science Festival). Virtually all of these festivals have offered a greater diversity of genres, a strong annual commitment to STEM programming, and unbiased, nonpartisan programming that has stayed clear of contentious issues such as those raised by "Black Lives Matter".

For years the Brooklyn Book Festival has been committing serious breaches of the public trust in having very biased, quite partisan, programming that virtually no other literary festival in the country has offered. Here, as a reminder are some highlights:

2012 festival has noted Harvard University evolutionary biologist Dr. E. O. Wilson heckled and booed by a hostile audience for his politically incorrect observations about human politico-social group behavior. I still remember him saying that socialism was one of the worst evils mankind ever committed upon itself, comparing it with slavery. The moderator didn't step in when the audience heckled and booed him. This is nearly four months after the World Science Festival honored him for his notable contributions to science, which includes being the "father" of conservation biology and still being one of the world's foremost advocates for conserving Earth's biodiversity.

2014 festival has The Nation's Naomi Klein - a self-admitted science illiterate - in a one-on-one interview with an editor from - surprise, surprise - The Nation - discussing her book "This Changes Everything; Capitalism vs. The Climate" which every other major literary festival, scientific organization, science museum and science advocacy organization, such as the National Center for Science Education ( and the World Science Festival (, ignoring it, recognizing that it isn't a credible work of science journalism.

2014 festival also has two programs - one a bookend event - critical of school choice and the rationale for having New York City's specialized high schools, especially its STEM "jewels" Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech - which drew ample protests and criticism from alumni - including yours truly - and parents of current students, culminating in a New York Post Op-Ed piece defending these schools and their SHSAT entrance exam written by a notable alumna, Queens congresswoman Grace Meng and published the day after the 2014 festival (…/high-school-admissions-test-has-served…/), which the festival has never acknowledged or apologized for. It gave the green light to those on the City Council to sponsor ill-advised diversity legislation which culminated in a free-for-all circus that was the New York City Council Education subcommittee hearing in which racist comments hurled at Asians were frequently uttered and one former principal of Bronx Science publicly humiliated by the chair of that committee. Had the Brooklyn Book Festival not hosted those two panels that were stacked solely with critics, I doubt what happened in the New York City Council would have happened.

2015 festival has a program in defense of prisoners rights and one critical of police conduct with regards to civil rights, in which panelist Darryl Pinckney all but accuses the police of a century-old history of genocide against blacks.

2016 festival - and the 11th festival - has at least two panels mocking conservatives. There will also be two programs where Darryl Pinckney will have the opportunity again of accusing the police of a century-old history of genocide against blacks.

Again, no other major literary festival has such a sordid history of biased, quite partisan, programming. Therefore I am recommending that this festival be replaced by a nonpartisan, unbiased literary festival like the late, great New York is Book Country effective immediately after this year's Brooklyn Book Festival.
Sept. 13, 2016, 1:39 pm

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