Perhaps you’ve read an article or two or three on your iPad or tablet or computer claiming the imminent demise of the hardbound book. But a walk through Brooklyn’s Borough Hall Plaza during the Brooklyn Book Festival will give book lovers of all ages hope, inspiration, and insight into the pages of books and minds of famous and up-in-coming authors from Brooklyn and abroad in the place cited as the country’s most literary city.
Billed as a festival with, “best-selling authors, the highbrow and lowbrow, famed journalists, emerging novelists and book lovers,” the week-long fest boasts more than 280 authors, more than 150 booksellers and publishers from around the country taking part.
Actors and Authors and Memoirs Oh My!
Some other famous authors that took part in the festival’s Main Stage conversations ranged from Naomi Wolf to Dennis Lehane, Sapphire to Jimmie Walker–that’s right, Jimmie Walker was there for the good times,” discussing “Dyn-O-Mite: A Memoir.”
Artisanal Pencil Sharpening
There was even a chance to learn all you’d probably ever hope to know about artisanal pencil sharpening. Author David Rees of “How to Sharpen Pencils” (who claims to be the world’s only artisanal pencil sharpener–hand-sharpening pencils for mail order customers, and shipping back both the pencil, the shavings and a certificate of authenticity) took up with Sam Anderson of the New York Times Magazine to discuss the, “artisanalization of everything in Brooklyn, from soda to mayo.”
Comics, Clues and Class
There’s also plenty for kids to do. And they don’t have to be complete bookworms to enjoy . The Youth Stoop featured programs including a “Comics Quick Draw!” contest in which three famous cartoonists race to draw while using audience suggestions. Some lucky kids in attendance walked away with the original art. Gordon Korman of “39 Clues”joined Jon Scieszka of “Spaceheads” and “Stinky Cheese” fame and Joseph Bruchac of “Wolf Mark” to discuss reading with humor in a program moderated by Lisa Yee of “Bobby the Brave.“ Most of the authors who speak also sign autographs following–so if you love their work, bring your books and they’ll sign them for you.
The Bookmobile was on site for kids to take out books and do arts and crafts projects, and the Target Children’s Area allowed youngsters to hear readings by authors ranging from Judith Viorst (“Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day)” to Paul Zelinsky (“Z is for Moose”). Other workshops allow teens and adults to create their own comics, create fantasy fiction, and learn to make a “simplified tunnel book” as part of a bigger 3-D collage.
And for those authors who may want to participate but haven’t exactly gotten major backing, you’ll discover there were a number who’d self-published and simply pulled up a bench or chair or box, working to get your attention, or someone’s attention in the biz, to look at what they can only hope will be the next big book.
So be sure to mark your calendars for next year’s Brooklyn Book Festival now so you don’t “fuggedaboutit” later!