Why You Need To Attend the Brooklyn Book Festival

The Brooklyn Book Festival brings a variety of literary events to New York's largest borough
The Brooklyn Book Festival brings a variety of literary events to New York's largest borough | © editrrix / Flickr
Photo of Parrish Turner
Us Books Editor11 September 2018

Book lovers flock to Brooklyn to celebrate literature with authors and publishers, both big and small.

Every year in September, Brooklyn hosts the Brooklyn Book Festival, a week-long festival packed with a slew of literary events, from panels to author readings, culminating in Sunday’s Festival Day, an all-day book bonanza. The annual festival began in 2006 to showcase the “Brooklyn voice” in literature. Over the years, it’s grown to celebrate writers from around the world. During this year’s festival, more than 300 authors will participate in the official festivities.

The 2018 Brooklyn Book Festival, which takes place September 10-17, has activities for bibliophiles of all stripes. Whether you are a writer hoping to make connections, a long-time fan looking to meet your literary idol or just a bookworm in need of a new read, the festival has something for you.

In 2010, Jenny Han, author of 'To All the Boys I Loved Before' joined Lauren Oliver, Sara Shepard, and Kirsten Miller to discuss how trauma informs their characters. | © Navdeep Dhillon / Flickr

Festival Day bills itself as the biggest and most anticipated event, offering a large market where book lovers can pick up books, literary magazines and literary swag from publishers big and small. The day is filled with panels and readings from local authors and emerging writers. In the past, visiting authors have included Joan Didion, Salman Rushdie, Karl Ove Knausgård and more. In 2018, panels run the gamut from a discussion on book criticism to a candid talk about the use of sex in narrative and a presentation on the role of food and drink in cultural renewal. Marquee guests include Joyce Carol Oates, Alexander Chee and Jennifer Egan.

On Saturday, the festival dedicates an entire day to young readers, aptly called Children’s Day. Children of all ages will be entertained by author readings, book-making activities, writing workshops and even Drag Queen Story Hour.

For those who cannot make it for the weekend’s events, Bookend Events fills out the week ahead of the festival. Bookstores throughout the five boroughs host panels and readings, giving fans plenty of opportunities to meet the writers they love. Highlights from the 2018 Bookend Events include a Literary Death Match (a competitive reading series), LitProv (a reading and improv show) and a Pitch Wars event for writers hoping to land an agent.

The festival takes place September 10-17. While Festival Day is free, many of the Bookend events do ask for donation-based entry fees. Visit Brooklyn Borough Hall on Sunday, September 16, to fulfill your bibliophile dreams.

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