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Brooklyn Book Festival announces 2022 schedule highlights

Virtual and in-person events throughout borough

September 6, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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The Brooklyn Book Festival, New York City’s largest free literary festival, today announced a selection of highlight events spanning the literary festival’s wide variety of in-person and virtual offerings (September 25 through October 3). A full schedule of all Brooklyn Book Festival events will be announced in the coming weeks.

Whether considering banned books, the blurring of reality and fantasy, social media’s relationship to literature, labor organizing, or self-defense and safety amidst a surge of racist violence, this year’s festival features a strong roster of authors in stirring discussions of contemporary works, and their intricate examination and vivid encapsulation of our moment.

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The events announced this week speak to Brooklyn Book Festival’s dynamic understanding of every facet of human experience literature can illuminate, and the diversity of experiences its conversations reflect—paralleling the vibrant, complex, interconnected borough it calls home.

Brooklyn Book Festival encompasses Bookend Events, taking place September 25 through October 3 in all five boroughs of the city and virtually; Virtual Festival Day on Sunday, September 25; Children’s Day on Saturday, October 1 at Brooklyn Commons in MetroTech; and the centerpiece Festival Day on Sunday, October 2, in Downtown Brooklyn’s Borough Hall area. In addition to in-person events and conversations, both Children’s Day and Festival Day will include a Literary Marketplace, featuring hundreds of authors, publishers (many of them independent), and literary organizations.

Novelist Emma Straub. Photo by Jennifer Bastian

The unique and inclusive nine-day festival invites readers to hear from some of today’s most acclaimed authors and be introduced to emerging voices whose words are propelling literature forward. The newly-revealed programming represents a mere fraction of the authors, illustrators, journalists, and other artists who will participate in pressing conversations, engaging readings, and other events throughout the Brooklyn Book Festival.

Festival Day (October 2) Highlights Include:

* Bill McKibben and Professor Olúfemi O. Táíwò on Elite American Power

* Kim Kelly, Angela Garbes, and Maximilian Alvarez, on Rethinking Work, Who Is “Essential,” and the Labor Movement

* E. Lockhart, Ayana Gray, and Tashie Bhuiyan on TikTok’s Impact on the Literary World

* A. M. Homes and Emma Straub Exploring How Their Recent Works Ask the Question: What if You Could Alter History? Moderated by Alison Stewart

* Tiffany D. Jackson, Goldy Moldavsky, and Ryan La Sala on Writing Horror, in a Conversation Moderated by Danielle Valentine

Preview of Other Virtual and In-Person Discussions as part of the Festival’s Bookend Events, Children’s Day and Virtual Festival Day:

* Kate Beaton On Her First Full-Length Graphic Narrative, Ducks: Two Years in The Oil Sands and its Exploration of the Damage Caused by the Fossil Fuel Industry, In Conversation with Elizabeth Spiers (September 28)

* Jenny Liou Reading from Her Debut Collection Muscle Memory, and Discussing Themes of Diaspora, Sport, and Violence with Jess Ng (September 30)

* A Discussion with Kyle Lukoff, Brandy Colbert, and Maulik Pancholy About Banned and Challenged Middle Grade Books, Moderated by Karen Keys and Alyeah McAllister (October 1)

* Acclaimed Authors Ottessa Moshfegh, Marlon James, and Sheila Heti on Reality and Fantasy, in a Virtual Festival Day Talk Moderated by Leigh Haber (Books Editor, O, The Oprah Magazine) (September 25)


Virtual Festival Day – Sunday, September 25

Brooklyn Book Festival introduced virtual programming into its model in 2020 out of necessity due to the pandemic, but continues to embrace the inclusive and transformative impact of virtual programming. All Virtual Festival Day programs are free and will be available via Brooklyn Book Festival’s website.

The New Fantastical
2:00 PM

The latest novels from these bestselling authors explore power, creation, and the ties that can both bind us and rend us apart—sometimes in the same moment. New York Times bestselling authors Ottessa Moshfegh (Lapvona), Marlon James (Moon Witch, Spider King), and Sheila Heti (Pure Colour) come together to discuss reality and fantasy, and the dark, murky, and mysterious places in between. Moderated by Leigh Haber, books editor, O, The Oprah Magazine.

The Difficult Fate of Girls and Women
2:00 PM

Emerging stars of Spanish-language literature – Andrea Abreu (Spain), Alia Trabucco Zerán (Chile), and Camila Sosa Villada (Argentina) – come together in conversation on bringing women’s experiences to the page without apology or filter. Their books, Dogs of Summer (translated by Julia Sanches), When Women Kill (translated by Sophie Hughes), and Bad Girls (translated by Kit Maude), respectively, bring us the beauty and brutality of women’s and girl’s experiences, from the effects of all-encompassing desire, to the life-saving joys of finding oneself in community. This panel discussion will be conducted in Spanish.

Bookend Events – Various Dates – In-Person, Virtual, and Hybrid

Bookend Events help bring the Brooklyn Book Festival into all five boroughs – and beyond – and this year will feature a mix of in-person, virtual, and hybrid events.

A Conversation with Kate Beaton
Wednesday, September 28
Brooklyn Public Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza Brooklyn, NY 11238
FREE – In-Person

New York Times bestselling cartoonist Kate Beaton (Hark! A Vagrant) brings a fascinating look at the human and environmental toll of the fossil fuel industry in her first full-length graphic narrative, Ducks: Two Years in The Oil Sands. In conversation with journalist Elizabeth Spiers, Beaton discusses her formative experience of earning a living – and navigating survival – in the remote, beautiful, often brutal wilds of Alberta, where East Coast migrants flock to find opportunity in an oil industry that simultaneously exploits their humanity and the riches of the land.

Gowanus Dawn Reading: Poetry of Hart Crane in Canoes on the Canal
Friday, September 30
70 9th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215 – Lowe’s Parking Lot along the Gowanus Canal
FREE – In-person and Livestreamed

Join the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club for our sixth annual dawn reading in canoes on the Gowanus Canal! Dredgers Captain Brad Vogel and fellow Gowanusian Melody Bates return to lead a crew in a dawn reading of the poetry of Hart Crane. It’s a morning filled with literary exploration and continuing environmental advocacy.

Muscle Memory. Asian American Women on Violence & Safety
Friday, September 30
6:00 PM
The Asian American Writers’ Workshop, 112 W 27th Street, Suite 600, New York, NY 10001
$10 – In-person

Poet and former professional MMA fighter Jenny Liou will read from her debut poetry collection Muscle Memory, and be in conversation with Muay Thai fighter and designer Jess Ng around themes of diaspora, sport, and violence. After the reading, Ng will lead a self-defense class for attendees, something that she began teaching this past year after the uptick in violence against Asian American women.

“How do you say F-you in Ukrainian?”
Monday, October 3
7:00 PM
Fotografiska, 281 Park Ave South, New York, NY 10010
FREE – In-person

Swearing, joke-telling and sweet-nothings are some of our most fun and powerful moments in communicating with one another. But during conflict, language quickly corresponds with power, and translations can become fraught. Join Stranger’s Guide Magazine and NPR’s Rough Translation podcast in conversation with writers from multilingual societies as they discuss the challenges of living between languages—and tell their favorite insults and jokes.

Children’s Day – Saturday, October 1 – In-Person

At Children’s Day, which takes place in Brooklyn Commons in MetroTech, families enjoy a full day of readings, workshops, performances, book signings, and art projects with favorite authors and illustrators. It’s a playdate with authors as kids can get creative with their favorite authors at workshops and even get their books signed. Plus, the whole family can find new favorite books at the Children’s Marketplace of Books. All events are free and in-person.

Draw Me a Story
1:00 PM

Come help acclaimed author, Emma Otheguy (Sofia Acosta Makes a Scene) dream up a story and watch, amazed, as Caldecott-winning illustrator Dan Santat (The Aquanaut) and rising star cartoonist Shauna Grant (Mimi: Cutie Catastrophe) draw it on the spot! You decide what fates these characters will meet!

The Truth About Banned Books

Join Newbery Honor and National Book Award finalist Kyle Lukoff (Different Kinds of Fruit), Stonewall Award winner Brandy Colbert (The Only Black Girls in Town), and Maulik Pancholy (The Best at It) on a panel about banned and challenged middle grade books, moderated by Brooklyn Public Library Coordinator Karen Keys and Alyeah McAllister from the Intellectual Freedom Teen Council, who recently led BPL’s effort to provide library cards to teens across the country experiencing book bans in their area. They’ll discuss writing children’s books at a time when book bans targeting race, gender, and sexuality are at an unprecedented high, why kids should be able to read freely, and their own favorite middle grade titles that frequent banned book lists.

Festival Day – Sunday, October 2 – In-Person

In the parks and plazas surrounding Downtown Brooklyn’s Borough Hall and other venues, the Festival Day’s many stages overflow with scintillating conversation, as diverse authors of fiction, poetry, non-fiction, comics, graphic novels, and young adult literature come together to converse, read and sign books throughout the day. All events are free and in-person.

Dial H for Horror
11:00 AM

New York Times bestselling authors Tiffany D. Jackson (The Weight of Blood) and Goldy Moldavsky (Lord of the Fly Fest) join acclaimed author Ryan La Sala (The Honeys) in a conversation about gruesome deaths, mysterious disappearances, and maneuvering your way out of dangerous situations. Moderated by celebrated horror novelist Danielle Valentine (How to Survive Your Murder).

Alternative Histories
12:00 PM

What if you could alter fate—the fate of your country, the fate of your family? In A. M. Homes’s The Unfolding, a wealthy Republican donor outraged by the results of the 2008 election puts together a coalition of like-minded individuals to get America “back on track”; meanwhile, his wife and daughter are having revelations of their own. In Emma Straub’s This Time Tomorrow, a woman wakes up on her fortieth birthday to find that she is sixteen again, giving her the chance to reconnect with her ailing father as he was before. Join these authors for a conversation moderated by WNYC’s Alison Stewart that begs the question: What would you change, if you could?

Rethinking Work, Who Is “Essential,” and the Labor Movement
1:00 PM

The COVID-19 pandemic shone a rare light on class in America and particularly the profound stresses and indignities faced by low-income “essential workers.” Meanwhile, millions voluntarily quit their jobs, spurred by a dramatic reconsideration of the role and meaning of work in our lives. And perhaps most unexpectedly, a new labor union movement appears to have emerged, with workers organizing and achieving major victories against some of the biggest U.S. corporations. Is this a blip or a sign of bigger changes on the horizon? What does the future hold for the rights of workers, the dignity of all work, and the potential for a more inclusive and equitable society? Join Kim Kelly (Fight Like Hell: The Untold History of American Labor), Angela Garbes (Essential Labor: Mothering as Social Change), and Maximilian Alvarez (The Work of Living: Working People Talk About their Lives and the Year the World Broke) as they reflect on these important questions and more. Moderated by Robert Hennelly

Sacred Memories
1:00 PM

When reflecting upon the past, what exactly makes something “true”? Is there power in the act of actively remembering and honoring what one may long to forget? And to what extent are we willing to sacrifice privacy for human connection? These are just a few of the questions raised in Pulitzer Prize winning author Jennifer Egan’s The Candy House and Julie Otsuka’s The Swimmers. Join these two acclaimed authors for a conversation on the sacredness of memory (or not?). Moderated by Kevin Nguyen (New Waves).

TikTok…BookTok: What’s up with #BookTok?

Authors E. Lockhart (Family of Liars), Ayana Gray (Beasts of Ruin), and Tashie Bhuiyan (A Show for Two) discuss the impact of the TikTok phenomenon, how readers are making books go viral, and how authors are tapping into the subculture and connecting with users on the platform. Moderated by New York Times bestselling author Jessica Goodman (The Counselors).

Telling Others’ Stories
3:00 PM

A long-shot political campaign built from scratch, an anti-crime squad policing the immigrant suburbs of Paris, a sweeping cross-country investigation into the many ways of gender expression, a deep and compassionate dive into the lives of military veterans struggling to reconcile wartime and post-war lives – these are powerful works of journalism made even more vivid by the graphic novel format. Jess Ruliffson (Invisible Wounds), Sofia Warren (Radical: My Year with a Socialist Senator), Didier Fassin (Policing The City: An Ethno-Graphic) and Rhea Ewing (Fine: A Comic About Gender) bring us to the frontlines of human experience with their insightful and visually arresting reporting. Moderated by Heidi MacDonald (editor in chief, The Beat).

Poetry and Play
4:00 PM

Poets Chen (Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency), Darrel Alejandro Holnes (Stepmotherland), Rachel Mannheimer (Earth Room), and Bianca Stone (What Is Otherwise Infinite) discuss how poems use humor, pop culture and political histories as artistic strategy.

A Critical and Constructive Conversation About Elite Power and Change
4:00 PM

From interminable inequalities and injustices to culture wars, our challenges can seem intractable and our discourse stubbornly fixed. Join Bill McKibben (The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon) and Olúfemi O. Táíwò (Elite Capture: How the Powerful Took Over Identity Politics, and Everything Else) as they look with fresh eyes at systemic elitism in America, the roots of our current predicaments, and the urgent need to organize across our differences to fight for and reclaim a fairer future.

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