The Brooklyn Book Festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary this Sunday, September 20, featuring authors from around the world. With more than 90 events to choose from in just eight hours, you may be having trouble deciding which to attend, so I asked the staff at Greenlight Bookstore for recommendations.
Both Rebecca Fitting and Stephanie Stockton Bagnula, the co-owners of Greenlight, are particularly excited about a panel the festival asked them to curate, a first for the bookstore.
Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy and founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, will speak with journalist and author Derek Taylor at the panel, which is called Greenlight Presents: Justice for All.
“I think his work is amazing,” said Fitting of Stevenson. “He is a fantastic, engaging speaker.”
It’s at 10 am, but Stockton Bagnula says he’s definitely worth getting up for. “I know it’s first thing in the morning but every time I’ve spoken to him I’ve been moved to tears,” she said.
Annie Trizna, who is the offsite sales coordinator for Greenlight and coordinating Greenlight’s logistics for the festival, gave a rundown of some events she’d recommend, in addition to the Stevenson panel.
Some of these overlap, so you’ll have to be in two places at once to see them all:
Pen American Center Presents: The Words Your Children Cannot Read
Panelists will discuss the growing number of children’s books that have been challenged as inappropriate reading for children. “I’ve been fortunate enough to meet one of the panelists, Robie Harris,” said Trizna, “who is a champion for informing kids about delicate subjects in honest and straight-forward ways.” Main Stage, 10 am
Darkness and Light
A panel featuring novelists Andrés Neuma, Naja Marie Aidt , and László Kraznahorkai, a Hungarian author and winner of the Man Booker Prize as well as a favorite of the Greenlight staff. Borough Hall Media Room, 1 pm
New Works: A Poetry Reading
Four poets will read their work: Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Wendy Xu, Eileen Myles, and Saeed Jones. Greenlight is releasing a new edition of Chelsea Girls, a collection of poems by Myles. Jones, who may be best known for his Twitter presence and his writing on BuzzFeed, is also an excellent poet. Main Stage, 2 pm
Stewart O’Nan, Jami Attenberg, and recent Booker Prize shortlist nominee Marlon James will discuss what drew them to writing about a particular time and place in their most recent novels. Borough Hall Courtroom, 2pm
Subverting Tropes: Household Appliances, Talking Dogs, and Robinson Crusoe
André Alexis (a favorite of Trizna’s) will discuss subverting tropes in fiction with novelists Naja Marie Aidt and Christian Kracht. Borough Hall Media Room, 2 pm
Lauren Groff will discuss her new novel, Fates and Furies, one of the most talked about fall releases, with Rebecca Makkai and Chinelo Okparanta. Borough Hall Courtroom, 3 pm
Between Two Worlds
Novelists Naomi Jackson, a friend of Greenlight, Yitzhak Gormezano Goren, and Juan Villoro will talk about navigating between different cultures and countries in their novels. Borough Hall Media Room, 3 pm
“I almost feel bad recommending the authors and events I’m most excited about,” said Trizna, “because one of the greatest things about the festival is the opportunity to discover new authors, and especially an incredibly diverse group of authors.”
So if you’re unsure about what to attend, take her advice, or just pick something that sounds interesting and you may discover your new favorite author.