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Brooklyn Book Festival 2018: Book Lovers' Paradise in BK

Ellen Levitt

Posted on September 16, 2018 21:41

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The Brooklyn Book Festival took place Sunday, September 16 (as did related events in the past few days) and it brought together hundreds of writers and publishing people with thousands of book lovers and curiosity seekers.

Fans of the written word, rejoice: the Brooklyn Book Festival 2018 was a roaring success. Thousands of book lovers and curious souls came together with hundreds of writers (well-known and obscure) as well as book publishing personnel, for an energetic extended street fair of book sellers, outdoor and indoor lectures, food trucks and itinerant music makers.

People of all ages, ethnicities and interests gathered at Brooklyn Borough Hall, in downtown Brooklyn, and checked out books, book accessories and public talks about writing topics. 

It was a sunny and warm day which helped bring out a huge crowd which walked and skateboarded around several streets filled with tables of writers and publishing world folks. There were activities for children as well. Food trucks did a brisk business as well, and many people roamed the crowd to record and document the action.

The Brooklyn Book Festival, #BKBF has become an annual tradition held each mid-September, but in reality it is not that old. It was begun in 2006 by then borough president Marty Markowitz, a lifelong Brooklynite, along with Liz Koch and Carolyn Greer.

Initially it was meant to showcase Brooklyn writers and voices, but it has evolved into a Brooklyn-and-the-world event. Writers from around the United States and the world have come to speak here, sign books, and soak in the ambience. 

The 2018 version of the Festival featured lectures such as:

"Truths and Fictions"

"Cultural Sampling as Cultural Critique"

"Tribute to Philip Roth"

"The Writer in Our World" 

"Fiercely Stunning Fantasy"

"Six Things a Publicist, Bookseller, Social Media Specialist, and Marketing Director Want Every Writer to Know"

And Drag Queen Story Hour for the Kids!

Some of the best known authors speaking included Martin Amis, Joyce Carol Oates, Shaun King, Jennifer Egan. Many more fiction, non-fiction, and poetry writers spoke, shook hands, signed autographs and more.

I am a big fan of this yearly event, and I have participated in a few ways. In 2009 I spoke during a panel about Brooklyn history books. Last year and this year I sold some of my titles with other writers at a table organized by the Brooklyn Jewish Historical Initiative (BJHI). (Note: I am the author of six published books, including The Lost Synagogues of Brooklyn, published by Avotaynu in 2009.) 

This year, in addition to selling my books, I took a few breaks to walk around and check out other publishers' tables. One of my highlights was meeting and speaking with one of my favorite current non-fiction writers, Professor William Helmreich of the City University of New York, and author of several books including The New York Nobody Knows. (In fact, he listed two of my books in the bibliography!) I ran into him at the Princeton University Press table and we spoke about the Bronx, among other New York topics. 

The BKBF was a literary, social, and cultural success and a joy. I look forward to next year's installment.

Ellen Levitt

Posted on September 16, 2018 21:41

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Source: HuffPost

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