The Brooklyn Book Festival Literary Council, September 22, and Children’s Day on September 21. - AmNews Curtain Raiser


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The Brooklyn Book Festival Literary Council, September 22, and Children’s Day on September 21.

Marlon James_c_MarkSelige

The Brooklyn Book Festival Literary Council celebrated its annual launch of the Brooklyn Book Festival (BKBF) Wednesday night with the announcement of the initial 150 plus authors from around the world who will gather for its literary extravaganza, Festival Day, on September 22, and Children’s Day on September 21. A full week of “Bookend” events, literary special events held throughout the city, complement the festival weekend.

BKBF also announced that Caldecott Honor award-winning author Mo Willems will be the recipient of the Best of Brooklyn (BoBi) Award. The annual award is presented at the September Gala Mingle to an author whose work exemplifies or speaks to the spirit of Brooklyn. Past honorees have included N.K. Jemisin, Colson Whitehead, Jacqueline Woodson, Jonathan Lethem, James McBride, John Ashbery, Lois Lowry, and Pete Hamill. Willems is the first author of children’s picture books to win the BoBi. Additionally, artistRaúl Colón was announced as the illustrator for this year’s Festival art poster, to be revealed in early July.

Gathered at the new Center for Fiction, Brooklyn Literary Council Chair Johnny Temple and Festival co-producers Carolyn Greer and Liz Koch announced an international slate of authors including Russian writer Maxim Osipov, Bosnian-American writer Aleksandar Hemon, Zambian writer Namwali Serpell, Ethiopian writer Maaza Mengiste, and Venezuelan writer Karina Sainz Borgo.

“In a complex and sometimes turbulent modern society, the Brooklyn Book Festival provides an island of sanity, inclusiveness, and beauty in the city,” Temple said. “With something to offer every global citizen, young or old, the festival is a balm, a joy, a glimpse of what the future can hold if the visionary writers of the world keep up their fine work.”

Authors at all stages of their career and in varying genres
including fiction, poetry, comics, international, young adult and nonfictionwill tackle panel topics of climate, immigration and refugees, friendship, race and identity, sexuality, grammar, and music. The Festival is known for fostering unique dialogues among authors, presenting new literary voices as well as established authors, and crafting unique conversations and discussions for a total of nearly 100 programs on 14 stages on its flagship Festival Day (September 22).

“As a staunch supporter of the arts and all positive forms of free speech and creative expression, I remain firm in my belief that arts and cultural programming not only develops individuals but also our communities,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “The Brooklyn Book Festival, now in its 14th year, is a magnet for best-selling authors, thought leaders, and book lovers throughout the borough of Brooklyn and beyond, to gather at a free, live event where they can celebrate and enjoy open discussions and the power of the written word in a culturally rich environment.”

The BKBF Children’s Day (September 21) celebrates its 5th anniversary this year with an exciting lineup of picture books authors, illustrators, international children’s books, workshops and activities including a costume parade, a scavenger hunt, bilingual programs and more. Top programming this year will include picture book stars Mo Willems and Raúl Colón as well as Nick Bruel, Grace Lin, Sarah Mlynowski, Raúl the Third, and Ibi Zoboi, among others. The Children’s Day festival grounds in Downtown Brooklyn’s MetroTech Commons include a Picture Book Stage, Young Readers Stage, and vibrant, activity-filled Children’s Book Marketplace.

“The BKBF Children’s Day is filled with celebratory moments—kids discover the perfect new book in the outdoor children’s book market, dress up as a favorite storybook character, watch illustrators compete on stage, meet beloved authors, and even become creators in a workshop about illustrating and writing,” said Koch. “For children, parents, and educators, it is a literary celebration like no other and one that proudly reflects the diverse and international spirit of the city.”

Mo Willems, a number one New York Times best-selling author and illustrator, has been awarded a Caldecott Honor on three occasions (for Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, and Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity).Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! was also an inaugural inductee into the Indies Choice Picture Book Hall of Fame. Mo's celebrated Elephant & Piggie early reader series has been awarded two Theodor Seuss Geisel Medals (for There Is a Bird on Your Head! and You Ready to Play Outside?) and five Geisel Honors (for We Are in a Book!, I Broke My Trunk!, Let’s Go for a Drive!, A Big Guy Took My Ball!, and Waiting Is Not Easy!). In 2019, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC named Willems the first-ever Education Artist-in-Residence. Mo began his career as a writer and animator on Sesame Street, where he garnered six Emmy Awards.

“From the very first year, the Brooklyn Book Festival has been a wonderful celebration of and for my favorite writers and neighbors,” said Willems. “Brooklyn is where I found the Pigeons and Knuffle Bunnies that were to become my muses as well as the community of writers, thinkers, and doers that would excite and challenge me to do my best work. I wish I could express my appreciation of being named a BoBi as eruditely as this award’s incredible past recipients, but for now, I hope you’ll accept a heartfelt, ‘AGGLE FLAGGLE KLABBLE!”

Additionally, the Festival is recognizing Willems and three more of Brooklyn’s own—Susan Choi, Marlon James, and Walt Whitman, in honor of his bicentennial—on collectible bookmarks that will be available in all Brooklyn and New York library branches and select bookstores. The Festival’s free collectible bookmarks will be located in library branches throughout all five boroughs starting in August, as well as select bookstores including Books Are Magic in Boerum Hill, Greenlight Bookstore and the Center for Fiction in Fort Greene, Community Bookstore in Park Slope, Powerhouse in DUMBO, Stories Bookstore and Storytelling Lab in Park Slope, and WORD in Greenpoint.

This year’s art poster will be drawn by renowned illustrator Raúl Colón. Colón was born in New York City, studied art in Puerto Rico, and designed puppets and animated films in Florida. An illustrator of more than thirty books for children, Colón has received a Golden Kite Award, a Pura Belpré Award, and both a gold and silver medal in the Original Art show. Previous Festival posters were designed by Julia Wertz, Adrian Tomine and Rodrigo Corral, and Chip Kidd.

The Brooklyn Book Festival includes a full week of Bookend events, literary special events curated with presenting partners including international cultural embassies, publishers, bookstores and institutions such as PEN America, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and Poets House, among others. Venues across all five boroughs include bookstores, parks, bars, canoes, libraries, each hosting national and international authors in programming ranging from trivia nights, poetry slams, salons and workshops to prose and flash fiction readings, books-to-movie events, draw-offs and book launches. Early Bookend highlights include Noir at the Bookshop in Queens, One Book-One Bronx, Cut and Paste with Staten Island’s First Poet Laureate, Whitman in Canoes on the Gowanus Canal, Readings, Rum and Reason at the Caribbean Cultural Theatre in Brooklyn, and #strong girls=Empowerment and Activism at the Langston Hughes House in Manhattan.

“Bookends are ambassador events for the Festival in communities across the city,” said Greer, “presented to showcase and share literary programming developed with NYC literary impresarios and organizations to make for a full Festival week.”

About the Brooklyn Book Festival
The Brooklyn Book Festival was launched in 2006 to address the need for a major literary event that embraced the diverse constituencies of New York City. The Festival’s mission is to celebrate published literature and support the literary community through programming that connects New York City readers with local, national, and international authors, publishers, and booksellers. To this end, the festival develops original programs that are hip, smart, and diverse and collaborates to present free and low-cost programming includes the Festival Day, the Bookend Events, and the BKBF Children’s Day.

BKBF is presented by the non-profit Brooklyn Book Festival, Inc. and the Brooklyn Book Festival Literary Council. The Festival is proud of its roster of supporters and welcomes new supporters who have joined this year including the Brooklyn Eagle, Brookfield Properties and J.P. Morgan Chase and Little A. Longstanding supporters include the Amazon Literary Partnership, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office/NYC & Company Foundation, City Council Members Brad Lander, Stephen Levin and Carlos Menchaca, Con Edison, Cultural Services of the French Embassy, Disney, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, Kirby Family Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, New York State Council on the Arts, NYU, and St. Francis College. The festival's media sponsors are abc7NY, C-SPAN, Book TV, and WNYC.

Cultural and programming partners include BAM, Brooklyn Historical Society, Brooklyn Law School, Brooklyn Public Library, The Center for Fiction, The Nation, National Book Foundation, New York Review of Books, Poetry Society of America, St. Francis College, the New York Times, Whiting Foundation, and Windham Campbell Prizes.

Be sure to visit or check out the official Facebook page, follow the Festival on Instagram (@bkbookfest), on Twitter (@BKBF), and past Festival photos on Flickr.
Confirmed BKBF Authors as of June 19, 2019:
Kathleen Alcott
Hala Alyan
Kristen Arnett
Chanelle Benz
Susan Bernhard
Christopher Bonanos
Molly Brooks
Jericho Brown
Nick Bruel
Ivan Brunetti
Hilda Eunice Burgos
Halle Butler
Josephine Cameron
Cora Carmack
Ruth Chan
Tina Chang
Ryan Chapman
David Chariandy
Amit Chaudhuri
Alexander Chee
K Chess
Ted Chiang
Kat Cho
Susan Choi
Catherine Chung
Catana Chetwynd
Raúl Colón
Andrew Cotto
Jerry Craft
Angie Cruz
Dave Cullen
Lucy Ruth Cummins
William Dameron
Edwidge Danticat
Sayantani DasGupta
Jean-Baptiste Del Amo
Anika Aldamuy Denise
Nicole Dennis-Benn
Sarah Dessen
Katrina Dodson
Mark Doten
Benjamin Dreyer
Adam Ellis
Juliet Escoria
Hafsah Faizal
Julie Falatko
Ebony Flowers
Jonathan Safran Foer
Kristina Forest
Ted Fox
Paul Freedman
Seth Fried
Amitav Ghosh
Karina Yan Glaser
Rigoberto González
Anissa Gray
Helon Habila
Rawi Hage
Vashti Harrison
David Heatley
Aleksandar Hemon
Christine Lynn Herman
Carlos Hernandez
Kevin Huizenga
Ishion Hutchinson
Lewis Hyde
Tiffany Jackson
Michael R. Jackson
Mira Jacob
Marlon James
N.K. Jemisin
Hansol Jung
Ilya Kaminsky
Raghu Karnad
Yasmin Khan
Binnie Kirshenbaum
Lucy Knisley
Priya Krishna
Edgar Kunz
Laila Lalami
Preston Lauterbach
Peter Lerangis
Grace Lin
T Kira Madden
Nicholas Mancusi
Angie Manfredi
Jaime Manrique
Sally Wen Mao
Courtney Maum
Bill McKibben
Dylan Meconis
Sukhetu Mehta
Maaza Mengiste
Rhett Miller
Raakhee Mirchandani
Sarah Mlynowski
Lane Moore
Oge Mora
Scholastique Mukasonga
Lorraine Nam
Daniel Nayeri
Dina Nayeri
Patrice Nganang
Mary Norris
Ryan O'Callaghan
Joyce Carol Oates
Chigozie Obioma
Téa Obreht
Jenny Odell
Julie Orringer
Maxim Osipov
Ben Passmore
Helen Phillips
Julia Phillips
Joanne Ramos
Raúl the Third
Nina Revoyr
Elizabeth Rush
Karina Sainz Borgo
Igiaba Scego
Jon Scieszka
Laura Sebastian
Namwali Serpell
Esmé Shapiro
Sharma Shields
Jake Skeets
Jennifer E. Smith
Mark Alan Stamaty
Pitchaya Sudbanthad
Paco Ignacio Taibo II
Jeanine Tesori
Anthony B. Thompson
Nafissa Thompson-Spires
Rebecca Traister
Novuyo Rosa Tshuma
Jérôme Tubiana
David Ulin
Bina Venkataraman
Vanessa Angélica Villarreal
Magdalene Visaggio
Booki Vivat
Scott Westerfeld
Alex Wheatle
Lauren Wilkinson
Mo Willems
Dr. Deborah Willis
Keith S. Wilson
De'Shawn Charles Winslow
Meg Wolitzer
Kelsey Wroten
JooHee Yoon
Damon Young
Nell Zink
Ibi Zoboi

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