Following the book promotion dictum to “say ‘yes!’ to everything,” I volunteered to help out for an hour at the Brooklyn Book Festival yesterday. What fun (it should have been)! Alas, the windy weather put people and tents and books at risk, so as much as possible was moved indoors, and the Mystery Writers of America and other booths in the Marketplace were cancelled. I’m looking forward to next year now.
Sunday was day seven of the eight-day festival—a free event, being held on the street and in the parks and plazas surrounding the Brooklyn Korean Veterans Park (at the entrance to the pedestrian access to the Brooklyn Bridge), all the way down to Brooklyn’s Borough Hall. It advertises “more than 100 literary events over 9 days.” And that’s not even counting my planning to be there to sign copies of Architect of Courage, a major missed opportunity (yes, I’m kidding).
With the goal of celebrating published literature and connecting readers with authors and booksellers, the festival began in 2006 as a one-day event involving some 300 authors. Except for today, it also hosts a Marketplace with 250 book publishers and literary organizations, including Mystery Writers of America. My would-have-been co-hosts at the MWA booth were Tim O’Mara (Crooked Numbers, Sacrifice Fly) and Phillip Cioffari (novels, story collections, a movie, and plays). Sorry to have missed becoming acquainted with them.
Sunday was Festival Day, a highlight of the event. Included were US and international authors, including such well-known names as Jonathan Lethem (Motherless Brooklyn, The Feral Detective), Gary Shteyngart (Our Country Friends, Lake Success), Jennifer Egan, (The Candy House, A Visit from the Goon Squad), Geraldine Brooks (March, Horse), and many, many others.
Getting into Brooklyn from where I live in Central New Jersey takes some time—an hour plus on New Jersey Transit, then connecting to the subway to Borough Hall in Brooklyn. Just enough enforced sitting to work up a good appetite. For excursions like this, my friend Joanne is often my companion and chaperone, and we’d worked out a good schedule and picked an enticing place for lunch. Next year!
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