Brooklyn Book Festival Announces Stellar Fall Line-Up; Colson Whitehead to be Awarded Best of Brooklyn Award

Thursday, June 15, 2017

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Literary stars pack BKBF’s fall lineup, including: Jessica Abel, Stig Abell, Jami Attenberg, Gabrielle Bell, Laurie Berkner, Alexandra Bracken, Thi Bui, Deborah Campbell, Dame Darcy, Sarah Dessen, Angela Dominguez, Sharon Draper, Jonathan Safran Foer, Carolyn Forché, Santiago Gamboa, Nelson George, Alex Gilvarry, Chris Hayes, Siri Hustvedt, Maira Kalman, Karl Ove Knausgård, Victor LaValle, Jonathan Lethem, Robin Coste Lewis, E. Lockhart, Maja Lunde, Hisham Matar, Jennifer Mathieu, Claire Messud, Pankaj Mishra, David Barclay Moore, Eric Morse, George O’Connor, Joyce Carol Oates, Morgan Parker, Mitali Perkins, Javaka Steptoe, Layli Long Soldier, Colson Whitehead, Jacqueline Woodson, Gene Luen Yang, Ibi Zoboi, and hundreds more.


BROOKLYN, NY— Thursday, June 15, 2017—The Brooklyn Book Festival Literary Council celebrated its annual launch of the Brooklyn Book Festival (BKBF) Thursday night with the announcement of the initial 150 authors from around the world who will gather for a literary extravaganza, Festival Day, on September 17, and on Children’s Day on September 16. The Festival also includes a full week of “Bookend events,” literary special events throughout the city all week long in the run-up to festival weekend.

BKBF also announced that Colson Whitehead will be the recipient of the annual Best of Brooklyn (BoBi) Award and Adrian Tomine and Rodrigo Corral have teamed up to design this year’s Festival art poster.

Gathered at the DUMBO Heights location of new sponsor WeWork, Brooklyn Literary Council Chair Johnny Temple announced a line-up of authors including two-time Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Lynn Nottage, Argentinian children’s book illustrator Liniers, MSNBC host Chris Hayes, and Karl Ove Knausgård, author of the internationally renowned autobiographical novels My Struggle. The festival, with a strong international flavor reflecting the city’s diverse communities, will again welcome authors from nearly two dozen countries including Erna Brodber (Jamaica), Ali Cobby Eckermann (Australia), Santiago Gamboa (Colombia), Wioletta Greg (Poland), Young-ha Kim (South Korea), Peter Kimani (Kenya), Pascale Kramer (Switzerland), Maja Lunde (Norway), Yanick Lahens (Haiti), Hisham Matar (Libya).

“WeWork is excited to be part of this year’s Brooklyn Book Festival. This event brings together the best of the world’s literary community, and we commend the Brooklyn Book Festival for celebrating some of Brooklyn’s own finest writers in this gathering of international authors, poets and more. WeWork was founded with the goal of helping people create their life’s work, and the Brooklyn Book Festival is a great partner in supporting Brooklyn’s creative community,” said Rui Barros, WeWork General Manager for Tri-State.

Authors at all stages of their career and in varying genres including nonfiction, fiction, poetry, comics, international and young adult will tackle panel topics of current political and cultural significance including big data, the Supreme Court and refugee reportage. 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 13 stages on Festival Day (September 17). The BKBF Children’s Day (September 16) celebrates childhood reading and this year will include #1 NYT bestselling author Alexandra Bracken; five-time Coretta Scott King award winner Sharon Draper; illustrators Maira Kalman and George O’Connor; 2017 Caldecott Medal winner Javaka Steptoe; National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson; National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Gene Luen Yang; and many others. This year an international showcase of children’s book authors will be presented.

“I am proud to welcome back the Brooklyn Book Festival for another year of engaging book lovers of all ages,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “It is important that we empower Brooklynites with the endless possibilities of human imagination by encouraging reading for all, particularly our youngest.”

The evening also included the announcement that award-winning author Colson Whitehead has been named the recipient of the Brooklyn Book Festival’s annual Best of Brooklyn (or BoBi) Award. The annual award is presented to an author whose work exemplifies or speaks to the spirit of Brooklyn. Whitehead is the author of Pulitzer Prize-winning novel the Underground Railroad, which also won the National Book Award, the Carnegie Medal for Fiction, the Heartland Prize, and was a #1 New York Times Bestseller. His other books include Zone One, The Intuitionist, John Henry Days, and Sag Harbor. Past honorees have included Jacqueline Woodson, James McBride, Lois Lowry and Pete Hamill.

“This is incredibly exciting—I became a writer in Brooklyn and owe a tremendous debt. I hope I’ve made the place proud! Looking forward to September and the next festival—it’s wonderful to see how it has prospered all these years.” said Whitehead.

“Brooklyn’s own Colson Whitehead’s tale of ‘The Underground Railroad’ is a story of survival and perseverance in the face of the brutality of slavery, and I congratulate him for being named the recipient of the Best of Brooklyn Award,” Adams said. “His genius reveals our borough’s best, inspiring many hearts and minds with the power of literature. Reading heals the soul with knowledge and a global perspective to tackle the world’s many challenges and opportunities, and that is precisely what this festival will achieve.”

Additionally, the Festival is recognizing Whitehead and four more of Brooklyn’s own—Maira Kalman, Lynn Nottage, Sean Qualls, and Selina Alko—with collectible bookmarks that will be available in 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 in Fort Greene, Community Bookstore in Park Slope, Powerhouse in DUMBO, and WORD in Greenpoint.

This year’s poster art will be drawn by Brooklyn illustrator and cartoonist Adrian Tomine and designed by Farrar, Straus and Giroux creative director Rodrigo Corral. Chip Kidd designed the Festival’s inaugural art poster in 2016.

The Brooklyn Book Festival includes a full week of Bookend events literary special events. Bookends are curated with presenting partners including international cultural embassies, publishers, bookstores and institutions such as PEN America, the Baffler, BAM, the Center for Fiction and more. Venues are in all five boroughs in bookstores, parks, bars, bakeshops, ferries, libraries and more each hosting programming ranging from trivia nights, poetry slams, workshops, prose and flash fiction events, books to movie events, debates and more each featuring national and international authors.

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 made possible with the generous support of the Amazon Literary Partnership, Author’s Guild, Brooklyn Borough President’s Office/NYC & Company Foundation, Con Edison, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, Forest City Ratner Companies, National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, New York State Council on the Arts, St. Francis College, NYU Tandon School of Engineering, and WeWork. The festival’s media sponsors are abc7NY, C-SPAN 2, and WNYC.

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

Be sure to check out the official Facebook page, follow the Festival on Instagram (@bkbookfest), on Twitter (@BKBF), on Tumblr, and past Festival photos on Flickr.

For the full list of confirmed authors, click here.