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Brooklyn Book Festival Schedule 2019

September 5, 2019 Scott Enman

The largest free literary event in New York City and one of the premier book festivals in America released a packed schedule on Thursday with roughly 100 programs featuring more than 300 authors across 13 locations in Brooklyn.

The Brooklyn Book Festival, created in 2006 by former Borough President Marty Markowitz, was initially started to showcase the “Brooklyn Voice” and the many authors who reside in the borough, but it has steadily grown into a world-renown festival with both national and international authors.

The event will bring some of the largest literary stars to the Downtown Brooklyn area, including Pulitzer Prize finalist Susan Choi, Joyce Carol Oates and Marlon James.

It will also feature many Brooklyn authors like Ashley C. Ford, Jonathan Safran Foer, Andrew Cotto and Siobhan Adcock.

“When Joyce Carol Oates, Marlon James, N.K. Jemisin, and Edwidge Danticat (along with three hundred other astonishingly talented authors) converge in Brooklyn, who the hell would want to miss that literary combustion?” asked Johnny Temple, chairperson of the Brooklyn Literary Council.

“Our programming has something wonderful on offer for everyone — young, old, or in between — who enjoys words in any form.”

The event, which takes place from Sept. 16 through Sept. 23, includes a Festival Day, a Literary Marketplace with roughly 250 booksellers, a Children’s Day and dozens of Bookend Events.

It will also include a special Walt Whitman stage hosted by the Brooklyn Eagle for The Good Gray Poet’s 200th birthday.

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Among the highlights announced by the festival:

Decolonized Epics: History, Fantasy, and Futurism in African Writing and its Diaspora. Three novelists from Africa and its diaspora set their stories in the widest possible canvas. Braiding Zambian history with futuristic speculation, Namwali Serpell’s The Old Drift follows three families trapped in a cycle of revenge that lasts from the beginning of colonial settlement to the advent of superintelligent mosquito drones. In House of Stone, Novuyo Rosa Tshuma interrogates history’s silences in a panoramic narrative of Zimbabwe before and after independence. And in Marlon James’s Black Leopard, Red Wolf, folklore from across the continent shapes a fantasy quest of epic dimensions. Moderated by Hafizah Geter, Little A/Topple Books.

Can We Say What We Mean? Adventures (and misadventures) in grammar, punctuation, and the idiosyncrasies of expression, with essayist and former New Yorker copy editor Mary Norris (Greek To Me: Adventures of the Comma Queen) and longtime Random House copy chief Benjamin Dreyer (Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style). Moderated by John McWhorter (Words on the Move).

Aftermath: After Americans Kill Americans. The tragedy of mass shootings and unjust murders in America leave communities in shock, families and friends devastated and saddens, frightens and shames us. Moving forward is about personal choices and accountability. Dave Cullen (Parkland) investigates how Parkland students organized student protests and marches against gun violence and called out America. Reverend Anthony B. Thompson (Called to Forgive: The Charleston Church Shooting, a Victim’s Husband and the Path to Healing) shares how and why he and his congregation chose to practice forgiveness and how it heals. DeRay Mckesson (On The Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope) discusses his path of activism after racial injustices like Ferguson and his work with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Feminism in YA: Whether it’s falling in love for the first time, navigating identity in the age of the Internet, leading a rebellion to take back what’s rightfully yours, or summoning magic powers from within to catch a killer, feminism plays a crucial role in how girls move through the world and advocate for themselves and others. Join bestselling YA authors Jenny Han (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before), Mary H.K. Choi (Permanent Record), and Laura Sebastian (Lady Smoke) as they discuss how feminism, in all its definitions, factors into their stories, their characters, and their worlds. Moderated by bestselling author Libba Bray (The Diviners series).

Imagining Beyond: Join N.K. Jemisin (How Long ‘til Black Future Month?, Broken Earth series, The Inheritance trilogy), Ted Chiang (Exhalation) and Mark Doten (Trump Sky Alpha) for a conversation about sci-fi, exploring new worlds, and how imagining beyond our reality can be the perfect way to ground ourselves in the present. Moderated by Jaime Green, series editor for Best American Science and Nature Writing.

See the full schedule of events here.

Follow reporter Scott Enman on Twitter.

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