The full 2014 Brooklyn Book Festival schedule

Written by
Tiffany Gibert
Brooklyn Book Festival 2013
Photograph: Filip WolakBrooklyn Book Festival 2013

The city's largest (and free!) literary event returns to downtown Brooklyn on September 21. Clear your calendar because the day is packed full of readings and panels that feature some of our favorite New York authors and big names like Zadie Smith and Jules Feiffer.

Here's the full Brooklyn Book Festival lineup of over 80 events; if you need a little guidance, look for the starred Time Out critics' picks and check the fest's site for directions and a festival map. 

10:00am events

BKBF Children’s Area
Come listen to your favorite children’s book authors read, perform, create drawings before your eyes! All readings are followed by book signings at the adjacent signing table.

10:00am. Troupe reads from classic picture books
10:30am Misty Copeland & Christopher Myers Firebird
11:00am Naoko Stoop Red Knit Cap Girl and the Reading Tree
11:30am Richard T. Morris This is a Moose
12:00pm Frané Lessac, Mark Greenwood Drummer Boy of John John
12:30pm Draw-Off! Join illustrators A.G. Ford and Evan Turk as they battle with pen and paper. Audience participation encouraged!
1:00pm Angela Dominguez Maria Had a Little Llama
1:30pm Nick Bruel Bad Kitty: Drawn to Trouble
2:00pm Brian Floca Locomotive
2:30pm Sophie Blackall The Baby Tree
3:00pm Monica Brown Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match/ Marisol McDonald no combina
3:30pm Thyra Heder (Fraidyzoo)
4:00pm Draw-Off! Join illustrators John Parra and Kris di Giacomo as they battle with pen and paper. Audience participation encouraged!
4:30pm Jacqueline Schmidt Patchwork helps a Friend

Brooklyn Book Festival Reception for Librarians (Brooklyn Historical Society Library)
The Brooklyn Book Festival welcomes librarians to a special morning event featuring Jonathan Lethem, author of Motherless Brooklyn, Fortress of Solitude and Dissident Gardens, and New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña for a conversation about the writing life, education and inspiration. Trivia Fact: Lethem dedicated his first novel Gun, with Occasional Music to Ms. Fariña, who was his fourth grade teacher at PS29. Greetings by Deborah Schwartz, Executive Director, Brooklyn Historical Society. Introduced by Linda Johnson, President and CEO, Brooklyn Public Library. Moderated by Johnny Temple, Chair, Brooklyn Literary Council. 

Comics Quick Draw (Youth Pavilion)
Critically acclaimed syndicated cartoonist Jerry Craft (The Zero Degree Zombie Zone), Eisner Award winner Ursula Vernon (Dragonbreath), and Ben Hatke, author of the American Library Association Notable Children's Book Zita the Spacegirl square off against each other in a lively drawing contest inspired by suggestions from the audience. Moderated by PW Comics Editor, Calvin Reid.

How Should a Parent Be? (Borough Hall Courtroom)
After generations of self-help parenting guides, a new group of writers have turned their gaze on parenting with compassion, wit and a healthy dose of social science. What does parenting mean today? Join panelists Jennifer Senior (All Work and No Joy: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood), Dalton Conley (Parentology: Everything You Wanted to Know About the Science of Raising Children but Were Too Exhausted to Ask) and Michèle Stephenson (Promises Kept: Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and in Life).

*I Am What I Am What I Am (St. Francis College Auditorium)
Discussing what it means to express and identify in a way that one chooses, Phil Klay (Redeployment), Jess Row (Your Face in Mine) and Kathleen Winter (The Freedom in American Songs) explore alternative life choices, gender identity, and falling in and out of line. Join these authors as they discuss writing about characters who face, avoid, or ignore the prescribed idea of normalcy. Moderated by Halimah Marcus.

*In _____ We Trust (Brooklyn Law School Student Lounge)
What do you believe in? A twelve-year-old preacher, a cult that will end loneliness, a community promising hope? When strong personalities and religion collide, what or whom we trust becomes a complicated topic. Scott Cheshire (High as the Horses’ Bridles), Fiona Maazel (Woke Up Lonely), and Rachel Urquhart (The Visionist) talk about their proselytizing protagonists. Moderated by Brook Wilensky-Lanford, Paradise Lust.

Planning and Protesting: Cities Evolve! (Brooklyn Law School Moot Courtroom)
With the city constantly evolving, each major project has its supporters and protesters. Authors Gregory Smithsimon and Benjamin Shepard (The Beach Beneath The Streets - Contesting New York City’s Public Spaces) and Daniel Campo (The Accidental Playground: Brooklyn Waterfront Narratives of the Undesigned and Unplanned) and Peter Linebaugh (Stop, Thief! The Commons, Enclosures, and Resistance) discuss how public space is shaped through policy, perspective and protests, how to agree to disagree, and the dynamics of shaping a city’s growth and change. Moderator David Reiss, Professor, Brooklyn Law School.

Science and Speculation (Borough Hall Media Room)
Three genre-bending international bestsellers use Denmark, Detroit, Nigeria and South Africa for the backdrops of their wildly inventive fiction. Join authors Naja Marie Aidt (Baboon), Lauren Beukes (Broken Monsters) and Deji Olukotun (Nigerians in Space). Moderated by Laura Miller.

Single Facing City: Coming of Age Comics (Brooklyn Historical Society)
New graphic narratives by popular comics creators Mike Dawson (Angie Bongiolatti), Michael Cho (Shoplifter), and MariNaomi (Dragon's Breath) follow the lives of very different young women, all striving for their place, identity, and their own way to change the world—some fictional, some confessional, all unforgettable. Moderated by Nicole Rudick, The Paris Review. Featuring screen projection.

This Changes Everything: A Conversation with Naomi Klein, presented by The Nation (Mainstage)
In her first new book in seven years, internationally-acclaimed author and activist Naomi Klein challenges the myths that cloud the climate debate, refutes the argument for fossil fuels and aims to show how our current economic model is waging and winning a war on earth. Klein builds the case for how massively reducing our greenhouse emissions is our best chance to simultaneously reduce gaping inequalities and re-imagine our broken democracies. Naomi Klein (This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate) in conversation with Betsy Reed, executive editor, The Nation.

11am events

*21st Century Narrators presented by the London Review of Books (North Stage)
LRB contributors Elif Batuman (The Possesed), Ben Lerner (10:04), Harper’s Magazine columnist Christine Smallwood and Lorin Stein (ed. Paris Review) talk about new types of narration. How you rate a narrator usually amounts to how you rate a novel. Reliable or otherwise, their tellings reveal a lot about our times. Has time and telling changed in the last 15 technology-addled years, or are the trends of narration the same as they've always been? Moderated by LRB senior editor Christian Lorentzen.

A Question of Faith: Literature’s Divine and Devout (Borough Hall Media Room)
Novels and sacred texts both offer stories that aim to enlighten us. Nadeem Aslam (The Blind Man's Garden), Scholastique Mukasonga (Our Lady of the Nile), Darcey Steinke (Sister Golden Hair) discuss how faith affects storytellers, their tales, and their characters. With the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. Moderated by Albert Mobilio.

America, Disillusioned (Brooklyn Law School Moot Courtroom)
Veterans are returning home with PTSD, the health care system frustrates patients and physicians alike, the social contract continues to fray, and feminists of all stripes are waging internal wars on Twitter and external fights for civil rights. Jen Percy (Demon Camp: A Soldier’s Exorcism), Sandeep Jauhar (Doctored: The Disillusionment of an American Physician) and Jezebel founder Anna Holmes (ed. The Book of Jezebel) discuss the ways in which Americans experience and challenge their frustrations with a changing country.

Anything for a Laugh (Youth Pavilion)
Debut authors Patrik Henry Bass (The Zero Degree Zombie Zone) and Suzy Becker (Kate the Great) sit down with perennial favorite and funny man R.L. Stine to talk shop on how to get a laugh and exactly what’s funny about zombies and fifth grade and more. Moderated by bestselling author Gordon Korman (The Hypnotists).

Digital Lives (Brooklyn Historical Society)
While Silicon Valley types claim to have liberated knowledge, others argue that the Internet is enslaving us. Two theorists and the co-founder of a leading digital platform shed light on our digital lives. With Astra Taylor (The People's Platform: Taking Back Power in the Digital Age), Christian Rudder (Dataclysm), co-founder of OkCupid, and Alice Marwick (Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity and Branding in the Age of Social Media). Moderated by technology reporter Jenna Wortham, NYT.

Fact Finders and Fact Fakers (Brooklyn Law School Student Lounge)
Journalists are expected to tell the facts, but what happens when you’re reading a novel about them? No narrator is reliable in these worlds of fictional realism. In these books, the lives of a prestigious newspaper editor, a professor of creative reportage, and a magazine researcher intersect with the greater world—and wars—around them. Lorraine Adams (The Room and the Chair), Salar Abdoh (Tehran at Twilight), and Boris Fishman talk journalism, fiction, and all that lies in between. Moderated by Julia Dahl (Invisible City).

The Hilarity of Death and Deadlines (St. Francis College Auditorium)
New Yorker luminaries Roz Chast, whose widely-praised, heart-wrenching memoir Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? has garnered critical success, talks with Robert Mankoff (How About Never?) who shares his life as an editor and artist. How do comics take on taboo subjects to leave you laughing and crying (often at the same time)? Moderated by Hillary Chute (Out of the Box: Interviews with Contemporary Cartoonists). Featuring screen projection.

*Unbound: Daniel Kehlmann with Zadie Smith, presented by BAM and Greenlight Bookstore (Borough Hall Courtroom)
Daniel Kehlmann, internationally acclaimed author of Measuring the World, in conversation with renowned author Zadie Smith. Kehlmann unpacks his latest work, F, a dazzling and critically lauded tragicomedy about three brothers and their entangled fates, brought to a head during the summer of the global financial crisis.

War is Over, War is Coming (St. Francis McArdle)
Politics, war, love and streetlife defined life in New York City in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. In When the World Was Young, Elizabeth Gaffney’s strong young heroine faces life and tragedy during wartime; and Rashidah Ismaili (Autobiography of the Lower East Side) chronicles the vibrancy and social challenges of the 1950s Lower East Side on the eve of the Vietnam War. The authors discuss these worlds, so close together yet so far apart. Short readings and discussion. Moderated by John Williams.

*Who? New! (Mainstage)
The Brooklyn Book Festival picks five of the year's most impressive debut novelists who will read from their work. Catherine Lacey (Nobody Is Ever Missing, FSG), Sharona Muir (Invisible Beasts, Bellevue Literary Press), Kimberly Elkins (What Is Visible, Twelve), Raj Karamchedu (All Things Unforgiven, Saaranga Books), and Mike Meginnis (Fat Man and Little Boy, Black Balloon Publishing). 

12pm events

*About Africa (St. Francis McArdle)
Susan Minot (Thirty Girls), Dinaw Mengestu (All Our Names), and Bridgett Davis (Into the Go-Slow) discuss love stories, growing up, and the search for meaningfulness across the continent of Africa. Whether writing about war-torn Uganda, the heat of Nigeria or an African transplant in the American Midwest, these masterful novelists transport you to vibrant settings on the other side of the world. Moderated by David L. Ulin.

Autism Portraits (Brooklyn Law School Student Lounge)
Even as awareness and understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has grown in recent years, there is still much to be discovered. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind (Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism), behavior analyst Jill Mullin (Drawing Autism), and debut novelist Morowa Yejidé (Time of the Locust) discuss the roles that ASD play in their new books. Moderated by president and founder of Extreme Kids & Crew, Eliza Factor (The Mercury Fountain).

*Catch a Fire: Social Collapse in Multiple Voices (Borough Hall Media Room)
How do you capture the forces, both within and without, that push a society to the brink of collapse? In Marlon James’s A Brief History of Seven Killings, a polyphony of voices bear witness to the violence of 1970s Jamaica; Somali authors Nuruddin Farah (Hiding in Plain Sight) and Nadifa Mohamed (The Orchard of Lost Souls) chart their country’s demise from a variety of perspectives. Moderated by Bhakti Shringarpure.

It’s Elementary! (Youth Pavilion)
Bestselling author Jon Scieszka (Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor), critically acclaimed author Jill Santopolo (All that Glitters), and Lenore Look, author of the beloved Alvin Ho and Ruby Lu series (Alvin Ho: Allergic to the Great Wall, the Forbidden Palace, and Other Tourist Attractions), talk franken-science, sparkle spas and nail polish, and allergies to kung-fu in their hilarious and inventive illustrated chapter books for the elementary school crowd. Moderated by author and editor Jennifer Arena.

Animal Heroes (North Stage)
Loyal, brave, sharing, protective, loving... from house dogs to military dogs, elephants, gorillas, llamas, camels and cats, penguins and parrots and even rats Authors Jennifer Holland (Unlikely Heroes) and Rebecca Frankel (War Dogs) share amazing and heartwarming tales of animal heroes.

*Join the Conversation (Borough Hall Courtroom)
WNYC talk show host Leonard Lopate will be in conversation with novelist and memoirist Mary Gordon (The Liar’s Wife: Four Novellas) and Emma Straub, author of the novels The Vacationers and Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures.

Mandela: An American Perspective (Brooklyn Law School Moot Courtroom)
When Mandela died, Americans felt a unique kinship to him. It must be remembered, however, that the U.S. government deemed Mandela a terrorist, and Mandela himself was critical of American foreign policy. Broadcasting legend Charlayne Hunter-Gault (In My Place, Country of My Skull), Alan Wieder (Ruth First and Joe Slovo in the War against Apartheid) and Sean Jacobs (Thabo Mbeki’s World) discuss Mandela’s profound influence on America and the ways his story is filtered through the national identity. Moderated by Danny Schechter (Madiba A-Z).

Red Light. Green Light! (Mainstage)
STOP and listen to three authors share their POV about vital issues of today. Douglas Gayeton (Local: The New Face of Food and Farming in America) explains the movement to fix the broken food system with our personal choices. George Caffentzis represents the Strike Debt network of activists that emerged from Occupy Wall Street (The Debt Resisters' Operations Manual) and offers an expansive and personal vision for debt resistance. Emily Anthes (Frankenstein’s Cat) takes us to the frontlines of biotechnology...cloning animals, frozen zoos, and genetic engineering.

So, Can You Judge a Book By Its Cover? (St. Francis College Auditorium)
Graphic designers and book cover design icons Chip Kidd (GO! A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design, Book One: Work) and Peter Mendelsund (Cover, What We See When We Read) are joined by Riverhead Press art director Helen Yentus for a spirited conversation about design and especially book cover designs. Featuring screen projection. Moderated by Brian Tate.

*What Does the Future Have Against Us? Dystopian Adventure Comics (Brooklyn Historical Society)
Alternative reality stories from genre-bending, cult comics superstars Brandon Graham (Multiple Warheads), Farel Dalrymple (The Wrenchies) and Amy Reeder (Rocket Girl). Discover the amazing worlds of these ongoing series and epic graphic novels. Moderated by Calvin Reid, Publishers Weekly Comics World. Featuring screen projection.

It’s the Little Things that Count (Brooklyn Historical Society Library)
When life is mundane and dark, the little things count. Annie Baker (The Flick), Owen Egerton (How Best To Avoid Dying), and Rivka Galchen (American Innovations) take on the subtleties of dark humor, surrealism, and heartbreak as their characters navigate life’s least exciting—but perhaps most realistic—events. Internal conflicts, morbid fantasies and underpaid employees in a fast-changing world take center stage here. Moderated by Rob Spillman (Tin House).

1pm events

*Creativity and Chaos: Artistic High-Wire Acts (St. Francis College Auditorium)
How do artists tap into their most creative selves, and learn to balance the impulses—whether it’s for performance and visual art, literature, or computer programming—to make something new? A conversation with Philippe Petit (Creativity: The Perfect Crime), Haitian author and painter Frankétienne (Ready to Burst), and Vikram Chandra (Geek Sublime: The Beauty of Code, the Code of Beauty). Moderated by Elissa Schappell.

*Eat Drink and Prosper (Brooklyn Historical Society Library)
Join entrepreneurs and authors Steve Hindy (The Craft Beer Revolution), co-founder of Brooklyn Brewery, whose book tells the inside story of how a band of homebrewers and microbrewers came together to become one of America’s great entrepreneurial triumphs, and Baked owners Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito (Baked Occasions), who left their advertising jobs to open their Red Hook bakery, as they share the recipe for success! Moderated by Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, Carlo Scissura.

Eye of the Beholder (Brooklyn Law School Moot Courtroom)
What’s on the inside is what counts, but what’s on the outside is often what dictates the first impression. James McBride (The Good Lord Bird), Jeffery Renard Allen (Song of the Shank), and Jess Row (Your Face in Mine) challenge the idea of judging a book by its cover. Civil War-era gender swaps, musical geniuses performing under pseudonyms, and the concept of racial reassignment surgeries abound in these novels, which will change the way you perceive almost everything. Moderated by Laurie Muchnick.

How to Write About a City (Brooklyn Law School Student Lounge)
A sense of place is one of those qualities readers look for in a book, but what exactly does it mean, and how is writing about cities different? Is writing about cities essentially writing about people, or is it more than that? Three writers who have covered cities, both local and foreign, discuss the unique challenges that come with putting an urban landscape on the page. Phillip Lopate (ed. Writing New York: A Literary Anthology), Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts (Harlem Is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America) and Edmund White (Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris). Moderated by Lynne Sharon Schwartz (Leaving Brooklyn).

Cultural Collisions: Around the Day in Eighty Worlds (Borough Hall Media Room)
A single country can contain multiple layers of co-existing, often clashing worlds—rich and poor, modern and ancient, powerful and powerless. How are these borders crossed in novels by Brazilian author Paulo Scott (Nowhere People), Cuban author Mylene Fernandez-Pintado (A Corner of the World), and Mexican author Valeria Luiselli (Faces in the Crowd)? Moderated by Anderson Tepper.

New York, New York (Youth Pavilion)
Newcomer Jason Reynolds (When I Was the Greatest), critically acclaimed Coe Booth (Kinda Like Brothers) and Newbery winner Rebecca Stead (Liar & Spy) discuss the charm and lure of New York City—both gritty and magical, but always home—as a setting and how it shaped the characters and writing of each of their novels. Moderated by Leslie Margolis.

*Poets Laureate Past and Present (Mainstage)
Tina Chang (Brooklyn Poet Laureate), Rita Dove (U.S. Poet Laureate 1993-95), Marie Howe (New York State Poet Laureate) and Ramya Ramana (NYC Youth Poet Laureate) read from their work. Introduced by Alice Quinn, Poetry Society of America.

Sex, Drugs, Dysfunctional Families—Plus Witches! (Brooklyn Historical Society)
Hilarious stories from the altcomics universe, from leading-edge indie artists you love to read online (or to find as beloved mini comics passed creator-to-fan): Julia Wertz (Museum of Mistakes), Simon Hanselmann (MegaHex), coming from Australia, and Jennifer Cruté (Jennifer's Journal). Moderated by Jonathan W. Gray. Featuring screen projection.

Swimming Against the Mainstream (St. Francis McArdle)
Women are told they can—and should—have it all: dream wedding, great career, a beautiful family. But what if that’s not exactly what you want? Or worse: what if it isn’t possible? Jen Kirkman (I Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Tales From a Happy Life Without Kids), and Tanya Selvaratnam (The Big Lie: Motherhood, Feminism, and the Reality of the Biological Clock) discuss the expectations of our culture and whether you should or shouldn’t try to buck them, and what happens when you do. Moderated by Alexander Chee.

Whodunnit in NYC? (North Stage)
Bodies are turning up in the boroughs and the streets come alive in Tim O'Mara’s Crooked Numbers as an ex cop looks for the killer of a student from a fancy Manhattan private school and a tabloid investigative reporter sleuths the death of a Hasidic woman from Borough Park in Julia Dahl’s Invisible City. Wendy Marech, The Landgramm Affair, sets her "whodunnit" in the publishing world with NYC as the backdrop for death and mayhem and corporate bad guys that need to be edited out! Moderated by Ian Kern, Mysterious Book Shop.

Imprisonment (Borough Hall Courtroom)
In literature, prison can be a literal place and a metaphor. Whether it’s a man leaving prison with a religious transformation, a teenager sentenced to life for murdering his girlfriend, or characters held captive in their seemingly ordinary lives, these authors look at the different ways in which society can incarcerate us all. Joyce Carol Oates (ed. Prison Noir), Eric Charles May (Bedrock Faith), and Kathy Page (Alphabet) talk imprisonment of the mind, body, and soul. Moderated by Paul Morris, PEN American Center.

2pm events

*A Force Unleashed presented by the Brooklyn Public Library (Borough Hall Courtroom)
Best-selling author Ann Hood (An Italian Wife), much-lauded debut novelists Matthew Thomas (We Are Not Ourselves), and Tiphanie Yanique (Land of Love and Drowning) and Dutch novelist Tommy Wieringa (Little Caesar) discuss the life changing roles that mothers and sisters play in their latest novels. These determined women exert a driving force upon the other characters that is sometimes debilitating, sometimes life saving — always transformational. Introduced by Linda E. Johnson, President and CEO, Brooklyn Public Library. Moderated by Meredith Walters, BPL.

Endangered Spaces: Writing About Place and Threat (Brooklyn Law School Student Lounge)
Whether it’s Harlem in the midst of gentrification, Tolstoy’s Russia, war-torn Iraq, Istanbul’s Troubled Gardens, or places now lost to us, the work of the following writers offers unique insights into the experiences (both tragic and comic) of life set in vulnerable places. Rajiv Joseph (Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo) examines the puzzling absurdities of war; Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts (Harlem Is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America) untangles the myth and meaning of Harlem’s legacy; Elif Batuman (The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them) has written about Turkey, the Balkans and Russia for The New Yorker. Moderated by Morgan Meis (Ruins).

Happiness (Mainstage)
The pursuit of happiness—it’s written right into the Declaration of Independence as an indisputable human right. Over two centuries later, it’s big business in America today. How realistic is our quest for it? And how attainable is it really? Gretchen Rubin (Happier at Home), Dan Harris (10% Happier), and Eric G. Wilson (Against Happiness) debate the pros and cons and myths and realities of our never-ending quest for contentment. Moderated by Rebecca Carroll.

Losing and Finding Yourself: Comics of Heartbreak and Healing (Brooklyn Historical Society)
Three award-winning artists offer their stories of traveling the world, through illness, anxiety, love, family, loss, and survival. Gabrielle Bell (Truth is Fragmentary), Mana Neyestani (An Iranian Metamorphosis), John Porcellino (Hospital Suite), and Anya Ulinich (Lena Finkle's Magic Barrel). Moderated by Bill Kartalopoulos, ed., Best American Comics. Featuring screen projection.

*Sex, Love, & Poetry (North Stage)
r. erica doyle (proxy) Angelo Nikolopoulos (Obscenely Yours), Carl Phillips (Silverchest), and Rachel Zucker (The Pedestrians) examine how intimacy, language, and their myriad manifestations intersect and diverge. Moderated by Hafizah Geter, Cave Canem Foundation.

Storytelling and the Black Experience (Brooklyn Historical Society Library)
Herman Melville's classic work Benito Cereno challenged Americans' basic assumptions about racial inferiority. A century later, Malcolm X challenged oppression in the U.S., but en route to Mecca famously began to reexamine his views of race. Greg Grandin (Empire of Necessity) explains the context of Melville's work, while Herb Boyd and Ilyasah Shabazz present The Diary of Malcolm X. Moderated by Marlon James (The Book Of Night Women).

That’s Entertainment! (Youth Pavilion)
National Book Award finalist Adele Griffin (The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone), bestselling author Gordon Korman (The Hypnotists), and Una Lamarche, author of Like No Other, hailed as a "YA Novel to Watch Out For", engage in a lively and expressive round of readers theatre, reading short scripts adapted from their novels. Audience participation encouraged! Moderated by debut author of Dorothy Must Die, Danielle Paige.

*The Displaced, The Dispossessed and The Dreamers (Borough Hall Media Room)
Contemporary reality recedes and people must strive to make sense of their lives and re-invent themselves in prison, in a dystopian society and in a future version of NYC. Survival first! but ethics, art and dreams motivate the characters in novels by Warren Lehrer (A Life In Books) Edan Lepucki (California) and Joseph Patrick Stancil (The Sleepworker). Moderated by Julie Buntin.

*This Woman’s Work (St. Francis College Auditorium)
Critic and essayist Roxane Gay (Bad Feminist), Kiese Laymon, who has critiqued the failure to include Black girls in Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, and Leslie Jamison (The Empathy Exams) discuss the contradictory ways in which girls and women are perceived today, how feminism is a divided community, and how to provide a more inclusive and tolerant way forward. Moderated by Jennifer Baumgardner, Feminist Press.

Voting Rights from Reconstruction to Obama presented by New York Review of Books (Brooklyn Law School Moot Courtroom)
Black voting rights have been a controversial issue in American politics from the Civil War and Reconstruction to the election of the first black president, the Supreme Court's striking down last year parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and renewed attempts to make it difficult for blacks to vote. Darryl Pinckney (Blackballed: The Black Vote and US Democracy), F. Michael Higginbotham (Ghosts of Jim Crow: Ending Racism in Post-Racial America) and Nation contributing writer Ari Berman (Herding Donkeys: The Fight to Rebuild the Democratic Party and Reshape American Politics) discuss this topic as another contentious midterm election approaches. Moderated by Erika Wood, New York Law School.

3pm events

Great Debates: Comic Books on Historical Controversy (Brooklyn Historical Society)
Who shot JFK? Who was the 5th Beatle? How can a wife forgive her husband, her husband forgive God? From global politics to pop music to personal immigrant stories of the early Lower East Side, these new graphic nonfiction books offer fascinating, carefully researched, beautifully drawn histories of never-settled debates. With Vivek Tiwary (The Fifth Beatle), Dan Mishkin (The Warren Commission Report), and Liana Finck (A Bintel Brief). Moderated by Heidi MacDonald, Publishers Weekly, The Beat. Featuring screen projection.

Virtuosos: Comics Creators that Defy Classification (St. Francis College Auditorium)
Award-winning artists Charles Burns (Sugar Skull), Eleanor Davis (How to be Happy) and Paul Pope (Battling Boy) are some of the most exciting creators on the scene today, helping to define indie, literary comics while also defying genre classification. Join them as they talk about how they orchestrate their art. Moderated by Lisa Lucas, Guernica Magazine. Featuring screen projection.

*New Works: A Poetry Reading (Brooklyn Historical Society Library)
Poets Mark Bibbins (They Don’t Kill You Because They’re Hungry, They Kill You Because They’re Full), Lucie Brock-Broido (Stay, Illusion), Cathy Linh Che (Split), and Tomasz Różycki (Colonies) will read from their recently published volumes of poetry.

People Fall Apart (Borough Hall Courtroom)
The family with everything implodes. A couple slides into ennui and adultery. A get rich plan in the Louisiana swamp fails. What is the miracle salve when dreams decay and families betray? Jonathan Dee (A Thousand Pardons), Roland Watson-Grant (Sketcher), and Jenny Offill (Dept. of Speculation) read and discuss their books and the role of impermanence, forgiveness and magic when life falls apart. Moderated by Jason Diamond (Men’s Journal).

Scene of the Crime (Brooklyn Law School Student Lounge)
Murder becomes personal in these thrillers by some of today’s most exciting crime fiction writers. A.X. Ahmad (The Last Taxi Ride), S.J. Rozan (pseudonym Sam Cabot, Skin of the Wolf) and K’wan (Black Lotus) tackle homicides, conspiracies, and never-ending plot twists in their haunting, fast-paced novels. Short readings and discussion. Moderated by Ibrahim Ahmad.

I Love You. The End. (Youth Pavilion)
Fall head over heels with authors Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian (Burn for Burn) and Bennett Madison (September Girls) as they discuss writing about first love, first times, and first heartbreaks. Moderated by the bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Ann Brashares (The Here and Now).

Segregation, Class, and Race and the New York City Public Schools (Brooklyn Law School Moot Courtroom)
The nation's most segregated schools aren't in the deep south — they're in New York City, according to a recent report by Civil Rights Project. The system is also deeply inequitable with wealthier districts able to self-fund programs cut by austerity budgets and charter schools drawing increasing shares of finite resources. At the same time, NYC teachers have been subject to mandated high-stakes testing and data-driven assessments. What's to be done? A conversation with Dana Goldstein (The Teacher Wars: A History of America's Most Embattled Profession), Pedro Noguera (City Schools and the American Dream) and David Banks (Soar: How Boys Learn, Succeed, and Develop Character).

*Subverting Expectations (Borough Hall Media Room)
Throughout literary history, the greatest writers have defied expectations and social conventions. Mario Bellatin (Shiki Nagaoka: A Nose for Fiction), Porochista Khakpour (The Last Illusion) and Dorthe Nors (Karate Chop) continue this tradition with their fiction which upends what we think of Mexican, Persian-American and Danish writing and culture. Moderated by Rob Spillman (Tin House).

The Looming Past (North Stage)
Mail order brides from Japan arrive in San Francisco; a Native American teen seeks a way out of a dead-end existence; a father and son battle on opposite sides of a newspaper strike. Harvey Araton (Cold Type), Julie Otsuka (The Buddha in the Attic) and Erika T. Wurth (Crazy Horse’s Girlfriend) discuss characters desperate to evolve and build a new life when the influence of culture and history are looming behind. Moderated by Greg Cowles.

*Where I'm Writing From: Hometown Fiction (St. Francis McArdle)
Many authors follow the adage, “write what you know.” Barbara J. Taylor (Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night), Kseniya Melnik (Snow in May), and Rene Steinke (Friendswood) are playing by different rules: They write where they know—more specifically, about the diverse settings from which they originate, which span the core of America’s coal-mining industry, a remote port town in Russia’s Far East, and a small, tight-knit Texas community. Moderated by Jonathan Lee

Scene: Playwrights in Conversation (Mainstage)
Writing characters who are destined to become flesh and blood is the playwright’s challenge and privilege. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights Annie Baker (The Flick) and Lynn Nottage (By The Way, Meet Vera Stark) in conversation about their inspirations and influences. Moderated by Jeffrey Horowitz, founder and executive director, Theatre for a New Audience.

*Influence of the Real (St. Ann & The Holy Trinity Church, 3:30pm)
Three literary powerhouses read from their work and discuss how real lives and circumstances served as the inspiration for their fictional creations. Francine Prose (Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932), Paul Auster (Winter Journal), and Joyce Carol Oates (Lovely, Dark, Deep Stories). Moderated by journalist Hirsh Sawhney (editor, Delhi Noir)

4pm events

Brave New World (Brooklyn Law School Student Lounge)
Evan Osnos (Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Fame and Truth in the New China), Maria Venegas (Bulletproof Vest: The Ballad of an Outlaw and His Daughter) and Amitava Kumar (A Matter of Rats: A Short Biography of Patna) explore the changing world and global economies through memoir and history, painting a portrait both intimate and to scale of India, China, Mexico and the world at large.

Comedians as Authors (Mainstage)
There's a long tradition of comedians writing books from Lenny Bruce's How to Talk Dirty and Influence People to Bill Cosby's Fatherhood to Tina Fey's Bossypants. How does one adapt to this long-form medium and translate comic timing to the page? Bob Saget (Dirty Daddy: The Chronicles of a Family Man Turned Filthy Comedian) brings in John Leguizamo and others. Moderated by Mary Karr (Lit). 

*Darkness on the Edge of Town (Brooklyn Law School Moot Courtroom)
Making it in America means different things, but A. M. Homes (May We Be Forgiven), Adam Wilson (What’s Important Is Feeling), and Mitchell S. Jackson (The Residue Years) take Americana to a much darker level: a man adopts his brother’s life after an unforgivable act of violence; drugs, sex, and satire dominate the landscape of adolescence across the country; and an unlikely hero starts selling crack to keep some semblance of the American dream alive. Moderated by Brigid Hughes, A Public Space.

*Family and Home (Borough Hall Media Room)
Three acclaimed authors read from their work and discuss the role of family as a muse and social construct complete with old world ties, immigrant ambition, and parental guilt and self-sacrifice. Tiphanie Yanique (Land of Love and Drowning), Yelena Akhtiorskaya (Panic in a Suitcase), Hamid Ismailov (The Underground). Readings and discussion. Moderated by John Freeman. 

*Brooklyn Book Festival Presents James McBride, 2014 BoBi Honoree (Borough Hall Courtroom)
Join the National Book Award winning author of The Good Lord Bird, the classic memoir The Color of Water, Miracle at St. Anna, and Song Yet Sung, in conversation with award winning actor and producer Wendell Pierce, from the critically acclaimed HBO series, "The Wire." 

I’ll Make My Own Identity (Youth Pavilion)
Liz Prince, author of graphic novel memoir, Tomboy and Susan Kuklin, acclaimed photographer and author of Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out discuss what happens when teens break both boundaries and stereotypes, sharing true stories of perseverance and accepting oneself.

*Jonathan Lethem and Jules Feiffer in Conversation (St. Francis College Auditorium)
Jules Feiffer (Kill My Mother), one of the most influential editorial cartoonists of our time, and novelist and essayist Jonathan Lethem (Dissident Gardens) discuss the power of satire, dissent in their work, and the influence of cultural and political collisions. Moderated by Ken Chen, Asian American Writers Workshop.

Peace: The Next Generation (Brooklyn Historical Society)
Join daughter of Malcolm X, Ilyasah Shabazz (Little Malcolm), and the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Arun Gandhi (Grandfather Gandhi), in a compelling discussion about growing up as the child and grandchild of a political figure. As leaders in their own right, they share the lessons learned and the catalyst that brought them to dedicate their lives to peace and writing for children. Joined by co-author Bethany Hegedus and illustrators Evan Turk and A.G. Ford. Moderated by Namrata Tripathi, Dial Books for Young Readers.

The Secrets of Ordinary Lives (Brooklyn Historical Society Library)
Secrets large and small hold lives together in books by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore (Bittersweet), Bobby Byrd (Otherwise, My Life is Ordinary) and Julia Fierro (Cutting Teeth). Confusion and deceits among friends, the hidden violence of class power, and simple conversations of daily life raise the questions of whether secrets are dangerous or innocent, and if the truth is liberating or destructive. Short readings and discussion. Moderated by Rachel Fershleiser, Tumblr.

Ties That Bind, or Tear Us Apart (St. Francis McArdle)
Real families are complicated. Families in fiction are almost always more complicated. Kyle Minor (Praying Drunk) takes on new forms of the short story to showcase the portrait of a dysfunctional American family. Darcey Steinke (Sister Golden Hair) emphasizes the two kinds of families a person can have—the one they’re born into, and the one they create. Bich Minh Nguyen (Pioneer Girl) explores familial expectations in immigration, honor, and the history of an important, life-changing heirloom. Short readings and discussion. Moderated by Beth Bosworth, The Source of Life and Other Stories.

*Fantastical Thrillers: Face Your Fears, or Else... (North Stage)
Confronting the evils of the past, deliberately pushing into the unknown, and even stealing the moon. Join New York Times best-selling author Lev Grossman (Magicians Trilogy: The Magician’s Land), Jeff VanderMeer (The Southern Reach Trilogy: Acceptance) and debut novelist Deji Olukotun (Nigerians in Space) in a conversation about traveling to the brink and back, and what redemption means in magical worlds. Moderated by Noreen Tomassi, Center for Fiction.

5:00pm events

A Sense of Place: Writing from Within and Without (Borough Hall Media Room)
Three acclaimed international writers discuss their relationship to place — from the places they write about to the myriad ways in which the places they come from have shaped their sensibilities. With Joseph O’Neill (The Dog), Amit Chaudhuri (Calcutta: Two Years in the City) and Assaf Gavron (The Hilltop), with the support of Israel’s Office of Cultural Affairs in New York. Moderated by Parul Sehgal.

Music from the Margins: Cult Stars, Cult Songs and their Role in Our Lives (North Stage)
How does a song or an artist rise from obscurity to have a profound effect on our culture? And what kind of impact can music have if only a small percentage of the population hears it? Holly George-Warren (A Man Called Destruction) and Alan Light (The Holy or the Broken) discuss the legacies of cult artists such as Jeff Buckley and Alex Chilton and the way their work has reached beyond their fans, while Amanda Petrusich (Do Not Sell At Any Price) explores the obsessive world of rare record collectors and the role obsessions play in preserving our cultural history and influencing modern music.

*Online Lives (Brooklyn Law School Student Lounge)
A luddite, a stalker, and a teenager walk into an Internet café...The latest books by Joshua Ferris (To Rise Again at a Decent Hour) Andre Dubus III (Dirty Love), Jaime Clarke (Vernon Downs) feature characters who wrestle with personal demons and other modern-day maladies through the prism of the Internet. Moderated by Cary Barbor.

Only the Dead (Mainstage)
Literary history comes alive with actors reading works by revered authors who are no longer with us including Amiri Baraka, Ned Vizzini, Maggie Estep and others.

*Books on Books (Borough Hall Courtroom)
Readers love books on books! Three writers discuss others’ books: Rebecca Mead (My Life in Middlemarch) examines her life-long relationship with Eliot’s novel; Maureen Corrigan (So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came To Be and Why It Endures) looks at the American classic we think we know, and Phyllis Rose (The Shelf: From LEQ to LES: Adventures in Extreme Reading) embarks on a year of “extreme reading” covering one random corner of the library. All of them share insight into what makes a book important, both personally and culturally. Moderated by Retha Powers, editor of Bartlett's Familiar Black Quotations.

*Something to Hide presented by the PEN American Center (St. Francis College Auditorium)
Does your browsing history inhibit what you search and where? Are you afraid to send emails of a sensitive nature or in support of a cause you believe in? In 2013, PEN polled its members concerning internet surveillance and learned that 1 in 6 writers have self-censored, choosing to not write on topics that might subject them to scrutiny by the government. Readings followed by Q & A featuring Alena Graedon, Xiaolu Guo, Robie Harris, Vanessa Manko, Rakesh Satyal, Justin Taylor, Lynne Tillman, Adelle Waldman, and others. Highlighting how surveillance programs threaten artistic and intellectual freedom.

*The Double Life (St. Francis McArdle)
Join Chloe Krug Benjamin (Anatomy of Dreams), James Magnuson (Famous Writers I Have Known) and Amy Sohn (The Actress) for an engaging conversation about the different roles we all play in life and in fiction. The characters in these masterpiece novels take on the personas of others, shedding their own sense of self along the way. They will make you question how well any of us really know each other—or ourselves. Moderated by Tanya Batson-Savage, Blue Moon Publishing.

*The Writer’s Life (St. Ann & The Holy Trinity Church)
Graham Greene famously said that he’d set the goal of writing 500 words a day, every day. Some writers need silence, some a noisy coffee shop, a clean desk, a pen and pad. Join Salman Rushdie (Joseph Anton), Siri Hustvedt (The Blazing World), and Catherine Lacey (Nobody is Ever Missing) for a reading from their newest works and a discussion about how three different writers, at various points in their careers, create time to write, find inspiration, and push through the finish line. Moderated by Steph Opitz, Texas Book Festival.

Trust Me, Really (Brooklyn Historical Society Library)
A modern thirtysomething at a crossroads. A daughter tracing her family’s secrets in the age of the Internet. A precocious nine-year-old with a big dream. Authors Emily Gould (Friendship), Mira Jacob (The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing) and Marie-Helene Bertino (2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas) explore trust and betrayals between friends, family and strangers bound by fate. Moderated by Ben Greenman.

Welcome to Fantasy Island (Youth Pavilion)
NYT bestselling author Scott Westerfeld (Afterworlds) is joined by debut novelist C. J. Farley (Game World) and critically acclaimed Cara Lynn Shultz (The Dark World) to discuss the making of fantasy and the richly imagined worlds of their compelling and fast-paced novels, respectively set in a world between the living and the dead, an online fantasy role-playing game and an alternate version of our world overrun by demons. Moderated by literary agent and author of The Well's End, Seth Fishman.

Poetic Visions (Brooklyn Historical Society)
Mark Doty (A Swarm, A Flock, A Host: A Compendium of Creatures), Matthea Harvey (If the Tabloids Are True What Are You?), and Danny Simmons (the brown beatnik tomes) read and discuss poetry in dialogue and intersecting with other art forms. Moderated by Craig Morgan Teicher. Featuring screen projection.

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