What I Discovered at the Brooklyn Book Festival

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This year, New York City’s largest literary event featured more than 300 writers of fiction and nonfiction in panels, readings and other creative performances throughout town. The flagship festival day concluded this event in the heart of Brooklyn Borough Hall with an open market of some 200 independent booksellers and publishers. Despite the turbulences of New York Subway, I couldn’t miss the chance to browse the shelves and tables in an effort to understand the state of literature today.

One of the 14 stages at the festival with talks by emerging and established writers



Vinyl book recordings by Canadian publisher Bookthug


Books Through Bars sends free, donated books to incarcerated people across the nation.


“Adios, Cowboy” by Croatian writer Olja Savičević published by McSweeney’s


Spanish cultural institute showcasing recent books by local writers


A curated selection of New York-related books by one of my favorite bookstore, Freebird Books in Cobble Hill



“The Point” is a journal of philosophical writing published in Chicago


All books printed by Seattle-based poetry publisher Wave Books use the same cover stock and are designed black & white


Brooklyn writer Sam Kalda presents a book about the history’s most prominent men who owned cats
Yoga for Writers poster by Electric Lit


A Public Space is an independent magazine of literature and culture based in Brooklyn


Brooklyn Book Festival is held every year in September. For updates, follow #bkbf. All festival events are free.






My Discoveries at the Festival

  1. Archipelago Books, publisher of contemporary & classic world literature
  2. Literary vinyl records by Bookthug
  3. Epiphany, a literary journal of contemporary writing
  4. “Of Cats and Men” book by Sam Kalda
  5. “I would prefer not to” tote by Melville Books
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SHOWHIDE Comment (1)
  1. What this viewer missed were the panels, of which the best one I attended was the one on science fiction organized by the Center for Fiction and hosted by its programming manager, Rosie Clarke, featuring two of the most notable younger SF writers; Malka Older and N. K. Jemisin. There was a somewhat odd one on time organized by the Times Literary Supplement, featuring astrophysicist and novelist Janna Levin, who has curated an extremely successful science-oriented lecture series for Brooklyn’s Pioneer Works. Unfortunately she was the only notable STEM writer at a festival which typically ignores STEM writers – 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 New York City (the promising Queens Book Festival, and, especially, the World Science Festival). In stark contrast to these festivals, the Brooklyn Book Festival has the dubious distinction of hosting twice The Nation’s Naomi Klein, whose 2014 book “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate” was ignored by every major science organization or literary festival not named the Brooklyn Book Festival; Ms. Klein’s appearance at this year’s festival was the festival’s closing event.

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