“A remarkable number of authors live in Brooklyn so I would think one of the things that makes this festival unique is that it can offer such a deep pool of talent without having to fly in many authors,” said Leila Sales, author of This Song Will Save Your Life.
Last September, over 40,000 people descended on the Brooklyn Borough Hall Plaza for the Brooklyn Book Fest. Since 2006, bookstores and publishers alike have set up booths in the plaza, shopping their titles at discounted prices and trying to spread the word that yes, they exist.
Stages are set up around the plaza with panels for different crowds. A poetry stage, an adult fiction stage, and a kidlit stage play host dozens of authors and rotating crowds. Even the department store Target hosts a children’s area for the entire day. It’s relaxed, open, and inviting. It exists purely to bring awareness and attention to various titles and to get people talking about books.
The festival will be held on Sunday, September 22nd. This includes Bookends, a series of events that lead up to the festival itself. Bookstores, libraries, community centers, and schools through out Brooklyn will be holding events to build up to the big event and spread the love of reading starting on September 16th.
This year, the Bookends include the launch of Lizzie Skurnick Books, a new imprint to bring back out-of-print YA, at powerHouse Arena on September 17th. There will also be a Secrets of Publishing Panel at Barnes and Noble in Park Slope on September 18th, and a celebration of the 40th anniversary of Charlotte’s Web with showings of both film adaptations at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on September 21st.
The Brooklyn Book Festival has long boasted a series of well-known, well loved, and well respected authors for panels and signings – and this year is no different.
“Young adult literature has, in the last decade, emerged as one of the biggest, most diverse and innovative areas of publishing. You basically can’t talk modern publishing without talking YA, so it’s great that the Brooklyn Book Festival recognizes that,” said Alaya Dawn Johnson (The Summer Prince).
Francesca Lia Block, author of the long loved Weetzie Bat books, is set to be in attendance. Meg Cabot of The Princess Diaries fame is alsoall scheduled to be there. Other young adult authors on the attendants list include John M. Cusick (Cherry, Money, Baby), Sharon Draper (Panic), Alaya Dawn Johnson, David Levithan (Two Boys Kissing), Patricia McCormick (Never Fall Down), Lauren Myracle (The Infinite Moment of Us), Patrick Ness (More Than This), Leila Sales, Elizabeth Wein (Rose Under Fire), and Jane Yolen (Queen’s Own Fool).
These aren’t the only authors that will truly be in attendance, though. Hang around the young adult stage for a while and you’ll notice there seem to be as many authors in the crowd as there are on the stage. Agents, publicists and editors tend to hang around to support their writing colleagues.
But as enjoyable as it is for attendants, authors participating are just as excited. In the case of Johnson? She was honored.
“I am particularly bowled over at the thought of being on a program with Jane Yolen, whose novels I adored as a child and young adult. She’s one of the greats, and it’s a real achievement in my life to be able to share a stage with her and talk about literature,” said Johnson.
Leila Sales shared Johnson’s opinion.
“I’ve lived in Brooklyn for seven years and have been in the audience of the festival nearly every year, so I’m excited that this year I’ll be up on stage for some of it,” said Sales.
The Brooklyn Book Festival is a free festival starting at 10 a.m. and ending at 6 p.m. on Sunday, September 22nd in the Brooklyn Borough Hall Plaza. For more information and a full list of panels and Bookend events, visit their website or their Facebook page.