Fort Greene

BAM and Greenlight Bookstore partner to host launches for Lethem, Dawkins

Brooklyn BookBeat

September 5, 2013 By Samantha Samel Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Unbound, a unique literary series presented by Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) and Fort Greene’s Greenlight Bookstore, will return for its second season this September. Following a successful inaugural year, this fall’s program will feature renowned authors Jonathan Lethem (Sept. 10) and Richard Dawkins (Sept. 23).

After forging a relationship, BAM and Greenlight were eager to enhance their partnership. Violaine Huisman, director of humanities at BAM, told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, “We were thinking of ways in which to expand our collaboration and to capitalize on the great work that Greenlight Bookstore does, and we were trying to find more creative ways to expand on the success of our ‘Eat, Drink & Be Literary’ series, which takes place during the spring.”

The folks at BAM hoped to expand the institution’s literary programming, which fit perfectly with their plans to further collaborate with Greenlight, a space that hosts numerous book launches. “We thought we could provide [Greenlight] with a space to host book launches on a larger scale. Greenlight has an artistic identity in the neighborhood as a literary bookstore that presents cutting edge writing and exciting new writers and thinkers,” said Huisman. “We wanted to have a series that reflected that identity.”

In its first season, Unbound hosted critically acclaimed authors Gary Shteyngart, Nobel Prize-winner Orhan Pamuk and Andrew Zolli. The popularity of the series and widespread community support encouraged BAM and Greenlight to resume their partnership this year.

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“Greenlight is excited about the continuing development of the Unbound series, a great collaborative project with our partners at BAM,” said Greenlight Bookstore co-owner Jessica Stockton Bagnulo.  “With more star-studded book launch events happening this season, the series is becoming a part of Brooklyn’s and New York’s literary fabric, and offers a great opportunity to reach Brooklyn’s and BAM’s sophisticated cultural audiences.”

Though BAM was founded primarily as a performing arts organization, it has expanded to cultivate a variety of artistic programs. Huisman told the Eagle, “Last year, when we looked at people who had come to Unbound events, we found that a lot of audience members for these programs were entirely new to BAM. Our hope is to expand our audience beyond a performing arts audience, and to position BAM as a cultural center that encompasses all of the arts.”

Launching this year’s Unbound series on Sept. 10, Jonathan Lethem will return to his Brooklyn roots to present his latest work, “Dissident Gardens.” A family saga that chronicles the legacy of communism in America, the book traces the parlor communism of the 1930s to the current Occupy Movement, following the events through three generations of radicals.

Lethem is the New York Times bestselling author of nine novels, including “Motherless Brooklyn,” “Chronic City,” and “The Fortress of Solitude.” He is a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction.

On Sept. 23, Richard Dawkins will celebrate the launch of his most recent book, “An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist.”  Presenting an intimate examination of his childhood, from his birth in colonial Kenya to his education at Oxford, his book reveals the makings of one of the world’s most renowned authorities on evolution. 

Dawkins is a Fellow of the Royal Society and was the inaugural holder of the Charles Simonyi Chair of Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. He is the author of several books, including “The Selfish Gene,” “Climbing Mount Improbable” and “The Ancestor’s Tale.”

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The Sept. 10 event will begin at 7:30 p.m. and will take place at BAM Harvey Theater (651 Fulton St. in Fort Greene). Tickets start at $25 (ticket only); $40 includes book

The Sept. 23 event will begin at 7:30 p.m. and will take place at BAM Harvey Theater (651 Fulton St. in Fort Greene). Tickets start at $25 (ticket only); $40 includes book


Brooklyn Academy of Music’s (BAM’s) mission is to be a home for adventurous artists, audiences, and ideas. America’s oldest performing arts institution, it is recognized internationally for innovative dance, music, and theater programming including its renowned Next Wave Festival. BAM also features an acclaimed repertory film program, literary and visual art events, and extensive education programs. The institution is led by President Karen Brooks Hopkins and Executive Producer Joseph V. Melillo.


Founded in October 2009, Greenlight Bookstore is a general independent bookstore located in Fort Greene/Clinton Hill in Brooklyn, and serving the wider literary community. Through knowledgeable staff, curated book selection, community partnerships, and a robust ecommerce website as well as a beautiful Fulton Street space, Greenlight combines the best traditions of the neighborhood bookstore with a forward-looking sensibility. Greenlighthas garnered local, national and international press coverage for its innovative startup model and its continuing success. In addition to partnering with BAM on the Unbound series, Greenlight hosts literary events in the bookstore several nights a week.

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