FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 30, 2020
Sarah Russo, SRPR
BROOKLYN BOOK FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 15TH ANNIVERSARY WILL BE AN ALL-VIRTUAL FESTIVAL
LYNN NOTTAGE TO RECEIVE FESTIVAL’S 2020 “BEST OF BROOKLYN” AWARD
Literary stars pack BKBF’s fall lineup, including: Sigrid Nunez, Lee Child, Salman Rushdie, Mia Couto, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Joyce Carol Oates, Adrian Tomine, Emily St. John Mandel, Claudia Rankine, Edmund White, Marie Lu, Colson Whitehead, and more.
Thursday, July 30, 2020 (BROOKLYN, NY)—The Brooklyn Book Festival Literary Council celebrated its annual launch of the 2020 Virtual Brooklyn Book Festival (BKBF) Thursday afternoon with the announcement of the initial 150-plus authors from around the world who will gather for its 15th annual and first-ever all-virtual literary experience running from September 28 – October 5. The week includes a full slate of Bookend events, the Festival Day (Oct. 4), Children’s Day (Oct. 3) and a new Y.A. Out Loud (Oct. 3) The Festival’s new virtual Literary Marketplace will be launched online starting August 15.
BKBF announced Lynn Nottage as this year’s recipient of the Best of Brooklyn (BoBi) Award. The annual award is presented to an author whose work exemplifies or speaks to the spirit of Brooklyn. Past honorees have included John Ashbery, Edwidge Danticat, Pete Hamill, N.K. Jemisin, Jonathan Lethem, Lois Lowry, James McBride, Colson Whitehead, Mo Willems, and Jacqueline Woodson.
Lynn Nottage was born and raised in Brooklyn and is the first and only woman to win two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama. Nottage is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, Pen/Laura Pels Master Playwright Award, the Merit and Literature Award from The Academy of Arts and Letters, and many, many more. Her work has been produced widely throughout the world and has been awarded dozens of prestigious awards.
“The Brooklyn Book Festival has become an integral part of my Fall schedule, as an important forum for writers to share and celebrate each other’s work. I am beyond thrilled to be an honoree at this year’s festival, and join a community of writers that I greatly admire,” Lynn Nottage said.
Gathered this year via Zoom, Festival founders and co-producers Carolyn Greer and Liz Koch announced that the Festival will take place with livestream, pre-recorded, and Zoom events from around the globe. Bringing a lively literary spirit to the announcement, authors joined to assist with the announcement including novelists Andrés Neuman (attending from Granada, Spain), Tracy O’Neill, Donna Hill, Emma Straub, Ayad Akhtar and Marie-Helene Bertino; children’s book authors Tami Charlesand Kevin Noble Maillard, poet Diannely Antigua, and cookbook author Bill Buford. They collectively announced a literary star-studded roster of authors including Libba Bray, Lee Child, Brandy Colbert, Cathy Park Hong, N.K. Jemisin, Tayari Jones, Deborah Madison, Fernanda Melchor, Adrienne Miller, Marcus Moore, Carey Pietsch, Jerry Saltz, R.L. Stine, Adrian Tomine, Laura Van Den Berg, Juan Pablo Villalobos, Alexis Wright, Gene Luen Yang, and many more (see full list of confirmed authors below).
The Festival is known for diverse and inclusive programming, fostering unique dialogues among authors, presenting new literary voices as well as established authors, and crafting unique conversations and discussions. This year’s new virtual format allows for an even more international approach with authors, moderators, and attendees joining in from across the globe including Australia, Cuba, Mozambique, South Africa, and Spain. Festival Day will have four events per hour throughout the day featuring fiction, poetry, non-fiction, comics and international programming.
“During this challenging year, the arts and all forms of creative expression have been a vital source of comfort for many of our people and communities, but also one of our City’s hardest-hit industries,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “We have been proud to partner with the Brooklyn Book Festival to bring authors, thought leaders, and book lovers together to experience the power of the written word in expanding how people think and live. This event embodies the spirit of One Brooklyn, where we seek to build bridges between cultures and promote common understanding. It will be especially great to welcome a global audience to the first virtual Festival, and showcase Brooklyn as a global literary hub.”
The Children’s Day programming will include a spirited illustrator draw-off competition (virtual of course), workshops, discussions, readings and performances giving young readers, families and educators a robust schedule of choices to enjoy throughout the day.
Children’s book authors include: Max Brallier, Tami Charles, Ben Clanton, Chris Grabenstein, Carlos Hernandez, Oliver Jeffers, Varian Johnson, Meg Medina, R.L. Stine, and many more.
“For children, parents, and educators, Children’s Day is a literary celebration like no other and one that reflects the diverse and international spirit of the city,” said Liz Koch, Festival co-producer. “We are excited to offer families and children this free and welcoming cultural experience to meet authors virtually, hear discussions and enjoy literary performances.”
This year’s art poster was created by Jaya Miceli, book cover designer for best-selling novels including Tayari Jones’ An American Marriage, Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere, James McBride’s Deacon King Kong and 2016 BoBi honoree Jacqueline Woodson’s Red to the Bone. “Since we’ve had to live in quarantine and adjust to living life limited in ways, I wanted the poster to feel liberating, have a sense of energy and enthusiasm, especially for an escape, as one can find in reading books,” Jaya Miceli said.
The Brooklyn Book Festival includes a full week of Bookend events and Cultural Partner Programming — literary special events curated with publishers, bookstores and institutions such as BAM, Brooklyn Public Library, PEN America, the National Book Foundation, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Whiting Foundation, and the Center For Black Literature at Medgar Evers College, among others. Programs include poetry, salons and workshops, draw-offs and book launches. Early Bookend highlights include LatinX Story Telling Across Genres, You Tell It Queer Storytelling With A Twist, Marianne Moore readings from Canoes on the Gowanus Canal, and a special Heroes Are Gang Leaders: A Concert for Barak Amiri and discussion following it.
“Bookends and Cultural Program Partners showcase NYC’s literary curators and organizations and collectively make for a full Festival week. We strive to have a literary menu that is interesting, filling and well seasoned.” said Carolyn Greer, Festival co-producer.
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 including the Festival Day, Bookend Events, YA Outloud, 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 including the Amazon Literary Partnership, the Baillie Gifford Non Fiction Prize, the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office, Brookfield Properties and J.P. Morgan Chase, Con Edison, Disney, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, Kirby Family Foundation, Little A, the Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Council Members Brad Lander, Stephen Levin and Carlos Menchaca, NYC COVID-19 Response and Impact Fund in New York Community Trust, New York State Council on the Arts, Lit Tap, NYU. The Festival’s media sponsors include C-SPAN, Book TV, the New York Review of Books, and WNYC.
Confirmed BKBF Authors as of July 30, 2020:
Eduardo C. Corral
Debbi Michiko Florence
Kelli Jo Ford
Cathy Park Hong
Michael R. Jackson
Ryan La Sala
Kevin Noble Maillard
Ricardo Alberto Maldonado
Emily St. John Mandel
Bernice L. McFadden
Marcus J. Moore
Joyce Carol Oates
Raúl the Third
Justin A. Reynolds
Kate Elizabeth Russell
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o
Laura van den Berg
Juan Pablo Villalobos
Kawai Strong Washburn
Gene Luen Yang