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Literature enthusiasts arrived in Brooklyn, New York on September 18 for the annual Brooklyn Book Festival. Presented by Brooklyn Borough president Marty Markowitz, along with the Brooklyn Borough President’s Literary Council and Brooklyn Tourism, the day long outdoor event showcased a wide spectrum of current literary talents.
The Brooklyn Book Festival took place at Brooklyn Borough Hall. Over 200 authors were involved in the festival, making it the biggest literature festival in New York City. Famous authors that attended the day long festival included multi award winning author Joyce Carol Oates.
Writer of “The Garden of Earthly Delights” and “What I Live For”, Oates was on hand at the Brooklyn Book Festival as one of the most celebrated authors in recent history. Jhumpa Lahiri is a Pulitzer Prize winning author who was also in attendance. She is famous for having penned books such as “Interpreter of Maladies” and “Unaccustomed Earth.”
Lahiri is a Brooklyn resident and received the annual BoBi award at the festival. This award is designed for “an author whose body of work exemplifies or speaks to the spirit of Brooklyn and has had a broad impact on the field of literature.” Other authors who were seen throughout the festival included Jennifer Egan, Walter Mosley, Craig Thompson and Jacqueline Woodson.
The 2011 Brooklyn Book Festival had dozens of literary events that were free for the public. These events happened throughout the downtown Brooklyn area, including a Main Stage at the festival as well as in the Borough Hall Courtroom and St. Francis Auditorium.
Authors showcased their work through public readings and discussions were held as well. In a discussion called “Drawn From History,” authors John Sayles, Esmeralda Santiago, and Terese Svoboda came together to discuss how they create characters for their stories that are based in historically significant times.
There was a discussion entitled “Comics Writ Large and Small,” in which comic book authors talked about how comic strips and graphic novels have evolved over time. “The Poetry of Loss” was another event that brought people together to discuss how poetry can be helpful and how it can have an impact on a person dealing with emotions associated with loss.
Poets Mary Jo Bang and Kevin Young were among those who were in attendance for this event. One of the most popular events throughout the festival was the discussion called “Apocalypse Now, and Then What?” A long line gathered at the Borough Hall Courtroom to listen to authors Tananarive Due, Patrick Somerville, and Colson Whitehead come together to talk about how their literary characters deal with an apocalypse.
The outdoor festival drew crowds of literary enthusiasts to downtown Brooklyn, where over 100 vendors were stationed for the day. Publishing companies were on hand selling their latest novels. Many authors were also in attendance at these tables, readily signing books for those who purchased their work.
There were tables set up for literary magazines and university presses as well. Writing competitions in fiction and poetry were among those that were being promoted and attracted crowds of aspiring writers. The Brooklyn Book Festival was a sure highlight in the literary world and brought together authors and readers to share their love for reading and writing.
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