Thursday, September 20, 2012

GG's Guide to the Brooklyn Book Festival

Are you ready to get nerdy and wordy? The 2012 Brooklyn Book Festival is this Sunday, Sept. 23rd!

This year's fest features a record 208+ authors and 104 panels—including Tony Danza and Mary Markowitz discussing education and writing; a once-in-a-lifetime chance to witness literary greats Paul Auster, Pete Hamill, and Edwidge Danticat in conversation; and straight talk about everything from sex and violence to cyborgs in contemporary lit. Not to mention hundreds of vendors, including publishers large and small, literary magazines, bookstores, literacy organizations, nonprofit groups, writers unions, universities, and on and on. And there are "bookend events" all over the city all week long.

Seem a little overwhelming? Never fear! Gotham's intrepid Director of Operations and resident ambassador to the Brooklyn literary scene has you covered. Here's Oriana's list of "must see" author events to check out throughout the day. And you can find the full roster of offerings (along with a festival map) here.

See you in Downtown Brooklyn!

Literary Lions. 
2:00 pm, St. Ann and the Holy Trinity Church (157 Montague Street)
Readings by award winning authors Pete Hamill (Tabloid City), Edwidge Danticat (Create Dangerously) and Paul Auster (Winter Journal). Whether their point of view is a palimpsest of Brooklyn fiction or set in other places, they have each lived in Brooklyn and been influenced by it. Followed by Q & A. Introduced by Johnny Temple, Publisher, Akashic Books and Chair of the Brooklyn Literary Council.
Oriana says: If there's a more potent Brooklyn literary pairing than luminary Paul Auster and king of the indie presses Johnny Temple, I'd like to hear about it.

Ice or Salt: The Personal in Fiction. 
11:00 am, Brooklyn Borough Hall Courtroom (209 Joralemon Street)
W.B. Yeats wrote, “All that is personal soon rots; it must be packed in ice or salt.” Authors Siri Hustvedt (Living, Thinking, Looking), Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgård (My Struggle)and Sheila Heti (How Should a Person Be?) will consider how writing technique—“ice or salt”—transforms the personal into art that connects to a broad audience. Moderated by Phillip Lopate.
Oriana says: Sheila Heti is a small-press darling-of-the-moment. I heard her read at Powerhouse recently and she was terrific.

Let’s Talk About Sex: Grappling with Gender in the 21st Century.
2:00 pm, Main Stage (Borough Hall Plaza)

Is biology destiny? What does it mean today to be a man, a woman, or to feel somewhere in between? Naomi Wolf (Vagina: A New Biography), Carlos Andres Gomez (Man Up: Cracking the Code of Modern Manhood) and Kate Bornstein (A Queer and Pleasant Danger) consider the role of sex and gender in culture today, how it makes us, and how we react to the trappings of gender put upon us by society at large. Moderated by Hanna Rosin (The End of Men).
Oriana says: I've been a huge fan of Bornstein since I read Gender Outlaw in college, and of course Naomi Wolf is always fascinating and smart.

Worlds Built over Time.
2:00 pm, Saint Francis Auditorium (180 Remsen Street)
This all-star panel brings together the narrative geniuses of Jaime Hernandez (Love and Rockets), Carla Speed McNeil (Finder), Adrian Tomine (New York Stories) and Gabrielle Bell (The Voyeurs) to discuss how they’ve developed characters, stories, and imagined worlds over serial publications. Moderated by Bill Kartalopoulos, co-organizer, Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival. Featuring screen projection.
Oriana says: The Hernandez brothers are some of the godfathers of the modern comics scene, and Adrian Tomine's Summer Blonde was the book that brought me back to graphic novels almost a decade ago.

The PEN Translation Committee Presents North African Writing in the Wake of the Arab Spring.
5:00pm, Brooklyn Borough Hall Community Room (209 Joralemon Street)
Noted translators, editors and poets Pierre Joris (Exile Is My Trade: a Habib Tengour Reader), Deborah Kapchan (Gender on the Market: Moroccan Women and the Revoicing of Tradition) and Peter Thompson (A Passenger from the West by Nabile Farès) explore the effects of the Arab uprisings in North Africa on poetry and narratives and discuss their recent works in translation. Moderated by Nathalie Handal (Language of a New Century: Poetry from the Middle East, Asia & Beyond).
Oriana says: One of the best parts of the Book Fest is exposure to different cultures and styles, and PEN always presents amazing authors.

I’d Like To Apologize To Every Teacher I Ever Had. Tony Danza in Conversation with Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.
1:00 pm, Main Stage (Borough Hall Plaza) 

As an actor, Danza conquered nearly every entertainment realm—TV, the movies, even Broadway—and he wanted to give something back. Inspired by a documentary made by Teach for America, he decided to take time out to teach! Markowitz converses with Brooklyn born Danza about his career and his book about teaching high school.
Oriana says: What could I even say about this pairing? I can't wait to hear what they'll have to say.

The Politics of Identity—Do They Still Matter?
12:00 pm, St. Francis McArdle (180 Remsen Street) 
As America grows more diverse, “minorities” will soon be the majority and this shift in demographics affects our culture and the ways we think about it. Can—and should—we move beyond the idea of race in America? Baratunde Thurston (How to Be Black), Rebecca Walker (Black Cool) and Wesley Yang (author of the New York magazine “Paper Tigers” and a forthcoming book on Asians in America) will interrogate the stereotypes we still have of each other, both positive and negative, and examine the ways we run from and cling to various aspects of identity, race, and heritage. Moderated by Amitava Kumar.
Oriana says: Did you see Baratunde reporting from the RNC? Fantastic.

Artisanal Everything.
11:00 am Main Stage (Borough Hall Plaza)
David Rees (How to Sharpen Pencils), the world's only artisanal pencil sharpener, in conversation with Sam Anderson, critic at large for the New York Times Magazine. They discuss the artisanal culture of the Hudson Valley, Rees' pencil business (he hand-sharpens pencils for mail order customers), and the artisanalization of everything in Brooklyn, from mayonnaise to soda.
Oriana says: David Rees' blend of hilariously earnest and earnestly hilarious is unbeatable, plus let's please keep beating that dead artisanal-mayonnaise horse.

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