Lena Dunham, Zadie Smith to speak at BAM and Greenlight’s Unbound lit series
Now in its third season, Unbound — a unique literary series presented by Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) and Fort Greene’s Greenlight Bookstore — will kick off this fall with a star-studded lineup of writers, including Zadie Smith and Brooklyn native Lena Dunham. Beginning with a Brooklyn Book Festival event, this year’s series will launch on Sept. 21 with famed writer Daniel Kehlmann in conversation with Zadie Smith.
The Unbound series originated in 2012. Violaine Huisman, director of humanities at BAM, told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle last year that BAM and Greenlight Bookstore “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. Last year, the series featured renowned authors Jonathan Lethem and Richard Dawkins.
Though BAM was founded primarily as a performing arts organization, it has expanded to cultivate a variety of artistic programs. Huisman told the Eagle that during Unbound’s first season, “when we looked at people who had come to [the] 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.”
At this year’s Sept. 21 event, which begins at 11 a.m. in the Brooklyn Borough Hall Courtroom (209 Joralemon St.), Daniel Kehlmann, author of “Measuring the World,” will discuss his new book “F”—a tragic and comedic novel about three brothers whose father takes on the occult— with English novelist Zadie Smith. This event is a part of the Brooklyn Book Festival.
The following month, on Oct. 21 famed actress and writer Lena Dunham, will come to BAM as part of a national book tour to launch her first book, a collection of personal essays titled “Not that Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s ‘Learned.’” In this sold out event, the acclaimed creator, producer and star of HBO’s “Girls” will be joined by special guests Zadie Smith, Brooklyn actress Jemima Kirke and an opening set by Jack Antonoff’s band, Bleachers.
On Oct. 29, 14-time Grammy Award-winning musician and composer Herbie Hancock will launch his long-awaited memoir “Herbie Hancock: Possibilities.” Joined by The New Yorker music critic Sasha Frere-Jones, Hancock will discuss his extraordinary career as a jazz pianist and composer. Following the talk, Hancock will join BAMcinématek audiences to introduce a screening of Bertrand Tavernier’s “’Round Midnight,” which won him an Oscar for Best Original Score.
Legendary comedian John Cleese will be featured at the final Unbound event for the season on Nov. 5, when he will appear in conversation with editor and writer John Hodgman to discuss his new memoir. “So, Anyway” takes readers on a tour of his ascent in the entertainment world from his humble beginnings in a sleepy English town and his early comedic days at Cambridge University (with future Monty Python partner Graham Chapman), to the founding of the landmark comedy troupe that would propel him to worldwide renown.
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Tickets for Unbound: A Literary Series go on sale Sept. 15 (Sept. 8 for Friends of BAM).
For further details on scheduling and tickets, see bam.org.
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