The battle of the book festivals
Wed Nov 14 2007
TONY has just learned that the recently revived New York Is Book Country has knowingly decided to stage its festival, which was originally scheduled for July 2008, on the same day as the young and thriving Brooklyn Book Festival: September 14, 2008. This is depraved indifference, and it's not doing any favors for book culture in New York City. Once a well-respected nonprofit, the NYIBC, which will take place in midtown, is now owned by the flavorless book review Kirkus (which is owned by Neilson). If the powers that be at Kirkus actually cared about books, they would keep the city's literary-events calendar robust, and choose another date.
As for now, NYIBC is acting as if the overlap isn't worthy of discussion, and has ignored a letter sent by Brooklyn Book Festival organizer and borough president Marty Markowitz.
We'd like to see both festivals, but if they happen on the same day, our bet is that Brooklyn's will be far better. Just check out the 2007 lineup: Colson Whitehead, George Saunders, Edwidge Danticat, George Packer, Mary Gaitskill, A.M. Homes, Jonathan Lethem, Dave Eggers, Paula Fox… The list goes on. How could NYIBC beat that? As of yet, it's not even clear if they have a permit.