FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Brooklyn Book Festival 2020 Comics and Graphic Novel Programming

Full schedule released! NYC’s largest free literary event goes virtual

Comics and Graphic Novel Programming

Featured creators include Carey Pietsch, Adrian Tomine, Yao Xiao, and Joe Sacco

BROOKLYN, NY— On September 28 – October 5, the Brooklyn Book Festival (BKBF) and its Bookend programs return as the largest, free literary event in New York City — with entirely virtual yet still engaging programming.  The festival champions graphic novel creators and programming from around the globe in an array of discussions.

As comics, graphic novels, and webcomics continue to grow across all literary genres, the lineup of related panels, signings, workshops, children’s day programming, and official Bookends events is more robust and exciting than ever. With popular and inspiring authors such as Carey Pietsch, Adrian Tomine, Derf Backderf, Yao Xiao, and Joe Sacco in attendance, BKBF Graphics has programming for each and every fan, from young adult enthusiasts to history buffs, from sci fi/fantasy to memoir.

The festival continues its commitment to supporting inclusion and diversity in its programming, highlighting graphic narratives and creators that focus on issues of identity and social justice, such as Bianca Xunise, A. Andrews, and Gene Luen Yang

The full roster of authors:

A. Andrews, Derf Backderf, Emei Burell, Dave Chisholm,  Ruth Chan, Ben Clanton, Mike Curato, Angela Dominguez, Glynnis Fawkes, Tyler Feder, Shary Flenniken, Isabel Greenberg, Julia Gfrörer, Kristen Gudsnuk, Chris Grine, Mike Hawthorne,  Carlos Hernandez, Kiku Hughes, Varian Johnson, Mikki Kendall, Juana Medina, Carey Pietsch, Raúl The Third, Jared Reinmuth, Joe Sacco, Maria Scrivan, Kevin Sherry, Bishakh Som, Mika Song, Leslie Stein, Adrian Tomine, Shannon Wright, Yao Xiao, Bianca Xunise, Gene Luen Yang, Sophie Yanow. 

All authors are available for an interview, and books are available for review or feature.

Below are the events putting comics, graphic novels and graphic storytelling center stage at the Brooklyn Book Festival. For updates, follow #BKBF, #BKBFCOMICS and #BKBFGRAPHICS on social; for the full schedule, visit


September 28 / 8 PM

Carousel: Comics Performances

Presentations of graphic novels and comics as read by the artists: Glynnis Fawkes (Charlotte Bronte Before Jane Eyre), Mikki Kendall (Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists), Sophie Yanow (The Contradictions), and Shary Flenniken (Trots and Bonnie). Hosted by R. Sikoryak (Constitution Illustrated).

October 5 / 7 PM

Leslie Stein and Adrian Tomine in Conversation

Leslie Stein‘s graphic memoir I Know You Rider takes place over the 12 month period surrounding an abortion, tackling the complex subject of reproductive choice —and choice more generally — candidly and philosophically. Adrian Tomine’s The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist is a comedic memoir about fandom, fame, and other embarrassments from the life of the New York Times bestselling author of Killing and Dying. Journalist and editor Nicole Rudick speaks to Stein and Tomine about their work. 


1pm/ Worlds within Worlds: When Fantasy Gets Real

What do you draw on — literally — to put an imaginary world with real stakes on the graphic novel page? Carey Pietsch discusses pulling readers into the D&D world of the super-popular Adventure Zone series; Isabel Greenberg’s Glass Town reveals how the Brontë children co-created a fictional world out of bereavement; Bishakh Som builds fantastic architecture from real lives in Spellbound and Apsara Engine; and Julia Gfrörer’s protagonist pulls a new life from a haunted mirror in Vision. Moderated by writer/artist Camilla Zhang.

2pm/ Makers of the Road: Writing Hidden History

What are the histories we don’t hear? A jazz legend shines brightly during a dark time in his career; a mother tells moving stories of China’s Cultural Revolution to her daughter; and, in a master comics journalist’s latest epic, the Dene Nation of Canada’s sprawling Northwest Territories grapples with the economic reward and devastating cultural costs of development. Joe Sacco (Paying the Land), Dave Chisholm (Chasin’ the Bird: Charlie Parker in California), and Emei Burell (We Served the People) discuss bringing unseen or undertold history to light. Moderated by Calvin Reid, Senior News Editor at Publishers Weekly.

4pm / Stand Up, Speak Out, Make Comics

From humor to horror, from journalism to first-person POV, these authors explore connections between uprisings of the past and speaking out loud in the present day. Travel from the protests against war and incarceration in the 1970s with Jared Reinmuth (Big Black: Stand at Attica) and Derf Backderf (Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio) to present-day combat with everyday systemic aggressions visited on race and disability with A. Andrews (A Quick & Easy Guide to Sex and Disability) and Bianca Xunise (Be Gay Do Comics, Six Chix). Moderated by Matt Lubchansky, editor of The Nib.

10pm / Putting the I in Graphic: Drawing the Self

Writing down memories is an intimate act; drawing the remembered times is even more so, whether they’re yours or of those around you. Join these authors on the journey. Join these authors on the journey. Tyler Feder‘s Dancing at the Pity Party follows her journey dealing with her mother’s diagnosis and eventual death of cancer, while Mike Hawthorne’s Happiness Will Follow recalls growing up with a single mother and a Santeria curse, and Yao Xiao’s Everything Is Beautiful And I’m Not Afraid, collecting her semiautobiographical comic Baopu, brings home a queer emigrant’s search for identity and connection. Moderated by Women Write About Comics editor-in-chief Nola Pfau.


5pm / Drawing Our Stories

What are our stories? As we grow up and figure out our place in the world, we find them — or create them. The pieces that make them up encompass queerness, racism, family history, politics, sexism, activism, and sports. A discussion with Mike Curato (Flamer), Kiku Hughes (Displacement), and Gene Luen Yang (Dragon Hoops). Moderated by New York Times Book Review editor MJ Franklin.


10am / GraphixCon: 15 Years of Graphix

Friendship can be super complicated, really intense, and totally embarrassing—especially when magic sketchbooks, broken hearts, alien adventures, and loads of family drama are involved! Join comics expert Calvin Reid as he celebrates the 15th anniversary of the Graphix imprint with Varian Johnson and Shannon Wright (Twins), Maria Scrivan (Nat Enough), Kristen Gudsnuk (Making Friends: Back to the Drawing Board), and Chris Grine (Animporphs #1: The Invasion) to meet some new best friends and see how they are drawn from life! 

11am / Draw Me A Story

Do you want to see two illustrators live-drawing a story as Pura Belpré Award Winner Carlos Hernandez (Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe) spins a tale right before your eyes? Come watch bestselling creator Ben Clanton (Narwhal and Jelly) and Pura Belpré Honoree Angela Dominguez (Stella Díaz Never Gives Up) as they sketch some wacky stories–and you can make suggestions for what should happen!

12pm / Let’s Make Comics!

Break out the art supplies and join Mika Song (Donut Feed the Squirrels) in a comics-making workshop for ages 5 and up! Mika will give tips on the basic tools in a comic-creator’s toolbox, alongside her best pals, Norma and Belly. All you need to bring is a piece of paper, something to draw with, and your ideas! DONUT miss this super-fun event!

1pm / Illustrator Smackdown

Let’s get ready to rumble! You won’t want to miss this epic live-action drawing competition refereed by the brilliant and award-winning artist Raúl The Third (VAMOS! Let’s Go Eat) and featuring talented illustrators Ruth Chan (The Great Indoors), Juana Medina (We Are the Change), and Kevin Sherry (Squidding Around: Fish Feud!).


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, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Brookfield Properties and J.P. Morgan Chase, CityPoint, Con Edison, Disney, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, Kirby Family Foundation, Little A, T D Charitable Foundation, the Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, NYC& Company Foundation, NYU, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Council Members Brad Lander, Stephen Levin and Carlos Menchaca, New York State Council on the Arts, Lit Tap, NYC COVID-19 Response and Impact Fund in New York Community Trust, and The Literary Arts Emergency Fund. The Festival’s media sponsors include C-SPAN, Book TV, WABC and the New York Review of Books.

Cultural and programming partners include BAM, Brooklyn Historical Society, Brooklyn Law School, Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College, The Center for Fiction, National Book Foundation, New York Review of Books, Poetry Society of America, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, St. Francis College, the New York Times, and the Whiting Foundation. Be sure to visit or check out the official Facebook page, follow the Festival on Instagram (@bkbookfest) and on Twitter (@BKBF). For author photos, click here.

For more information about the Brooklyn Book Festival, visit or check out the official Facebook page, follow the Festival on Instagram (@bkbookfest) and on Twitter (@BKBF).