The Brooklyn Book Festival

The Brooklyn Book Festival held from Monday, September 11, to Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Brooklyn Book Festival

Brooklyn Borough Hall & Plaza | Brooklyn Heights

The Brooklyn Book Festival held from Monday, September 11, to Sunday, September 17, 2017, is one of America’s premier book festivals and the largest free literary event in New York City.

Presenting an array of national and international literary stars and emerging authors, it includes a week of Bookend Events throughout New York City, a lively Children’s Day and a celebratory Festival Day with more than 300 authors and 200 booksellers in a vibrant Literary Marketplace at Brooklyn Borough Hall & Plaza. This hip, smart, diverse gathering attracts thousands of book lovers of all ages.

The 2017 festival welcomes authors including Karl Ove Knausgård, Joyce Carol Oates, Colson Whitehead, Jacqueline Woodson, Jonathan Lethem, Claire Messud, Chris Hayes, Carolyn Forché, Sarah Dessen, Alexandra Bracken, Thi Bui, Lynn Nottage, Hisham Matar, Maira Kalman and hundreds more.

Check out our selection of events and pick where you will go during this remarkable week long celebration of the Literary World!


Bookend Events from September 11 to 17

Literary events for the Brooklyn Book Festival are scheduled all around town including The Langston Hughes House on East 127th Street in Manhattan, St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church on Montague Street in Brooklyn, The Kings Beer Hall on Saint Marks Place in Brooklyn, and many more.

The week kicks off at St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church on Montague Street in Brooklyn with a special presentation by iconic artist, performer, and author Patti Smith to coincide with the release of her new book Devotion. Two companion essays and a beautifully crafted tale about a tragic young skater comprise this deeply personal look into the alchemy of Smith’s creative process. The $25 ticket price includes a copy of Devotion.

Some of the other Bookend events that captured our fancy include:

The Nocturnals at The Prospect Park Zoo on September 12, 2017 at 3:30 pm
Prospect Park Zoo, Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, Free with zoo admission.
Join The Nocturnal Brigade at The Prospect Park Zoo! Listen to a read-aloud from author Tracey Hecht‘s The Fallen Star, explore the nocturnal animals found at the zoo with an educator, and work together to develop new characters using the physiology of animals. The program will include crafts, face painting, bingo and other fun activities. Perfect for elementary school children ages 5-12! Free with zoo admission—$5 for kids 3-12; $8 for adults 13 and up.

Death Need Not Be Fatal: Book Talk on September 12, 2017 at 6:30 pm
Green-Wood Cemetery Chapel, Historic Chapel, 25th Street; Free
New York Times bestselling author Malachy McCourt joins us for a very special literary evening to discuss his new work Death Need Not be Fatal, a personal memoir that shows readers how to live life to its fullest, how to grow old without acting old, and how to die without regret. McCourt finds humor in all that life has thrown him so as to look at the prospect of his own demise with emotional clarity and insight. He will be introduced by the book’s co-author Brian McDonald.

A Tree In Brooklyn on September 13, 2017 at 6:00 pm
Vale Lawn, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn NY; Free
Call Me Ishmael. Bibliophiles are invited to join storytelling platform Call Me Ishmael at a tree in Brooklyn Bridge Park for an evening of stories about books. Bring a  picnic and take turns telling stories about our favorite books. The Call Me Ishmael team will record these stories and turn the best ones into transcribed videos to be shared in a playlist on

Power Moves: Sex, Violence, Feminism on September 14, 2017 at 7:00 pm
61 Local, Bergen Street, Brooklyn; Free
Johanna Fateman, Laura Kipnis, Larissa Pham, Sarah Nicole Prickett, and Charlotte Shane (in conversation with Bookforum’s senior editor Lidija Haas) will explore the intimate entanglement of sexual freedom, violence, and autonomy—in politics, on campus, and in art, literature, and entertainment—and discuss what feminist writers might make of it, now and in the future. Program in partnership with Books Are Magic.

Annual Brooklyn Indie Party! on September 15, 2017 at 7:30 pm
Greenlight Bookstore, Fulton Street, Brooklyn; Free
Featuring Akashic Books, Archipelago Books, Belladonna, Enchanted Lion, Ig Publishing, Kicks Books, Melville House, One Story, powerHouse Books, The Song Cave, Stonecutter, Tin House Books, and others. Co-hosted by the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP). Greenlight once again partners with CLMP, as well as some of Brooklyn’s best independent book and magazine publishers, to kick off Brooklyn Book Festival weekend with a Brooklyn-sized party celebrating the spirit of literary independence in Brooklyn with food, drinks, music & more!

For a full list of the Bookend events, click here.


Childrens Day on Saturday, September 16

Features events throughout Metrotech Commons with an Art Spot, Workshop Room, a Picture Book Stage, and a Young Readers Stage.

Some examples of events include:

Adventure Awaits on the Young Readers Stage at 1pm
On a panel where imagination and illustration collide, five worlds are on the brink of destruction. A school is beset by zombies and pirates. And a hopeful teen races for control of a vast space empire. Guided by moderator Gregg Schigiel (PIX: Too Super for School), authors Mark Siegel (5 Worlds Book 1: The Sand Warrior), Marcus Emerson (Recess Warriors and Diary of a 6th Grade Ninja), and Amy Chu (Ana and the Cosmic Race) reveal the secrets to writing and illustrating stories in which heroes rise, villains fall, and destinies are fulfilled.

May the Folds Be with You: Origami Workshop in the Workshop Room at 2pm
Learn to make your own origami Yoda with Tom Angleberger, New York Times bestselling author of the Origami Yoda series!

Growing Pains on the Young Readers Stage at 3pm
Newbery Honor-winning author Victoria Jamieson (All’s Faire in Middle School) and NYT bestseller Sharon Draper (Stella by Starlight) join debut novelist Holly McGhee (Matylda, Bright and Tender) to discuss the hurdles and humiliations of growing up, and the bravery it takes to survive. Moderated by National Book Award finalist and author of The Great Treehouse War, Lisa Graff.

For a full list of the Childrens Day events, click here.


Festival Day on Sunday, September 17

Features events in Borough Hall, St. Francis College, Brooklyn Law School, Brooklyn Historical Society, and a Main Stage in Brooklyn Borough Hall & Plaza with events beginning at 10am with a yoga class followed by a poem read live by its author, D. Nurkse, the author of numerous collections of poetry, including most recently Love in the Last Days: After Tristan and Iseult. Please bring your own yoga mat.

The Main Stage contines with events each hour:

An Afternoon with the National Book Awards, presented by the National Book Foundation at 11am
Now in its 68th year, the National Book Awards, presented by the National Book Foundation, celebrates the best fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people’s literature in America. In anticipation of the 2017 Awards (winners will be announced in NYC on November 15), NBF invited four authors previously recognized by the Awards to share their work: Laurie Halse Anderson (Ashes), Ibram X. Kendi (Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America), Karan Mahajan (The Association of Small Bombs), and Monica Youn (Blackacre). Moderated by Lisa Lucas, executive director, National Book Foundation.

Eyes Wide Open at 12pm
Three poets and adventurous trailblazers of the personal Eileen Myles (Afterglow), Jeremy Sigler (My Vibe), and award-winning poet and novelist Nathaniel Mackey (Late Arcade) discuss their most recent books – a memoir celebrating the life of a dog; city life as experienced through an enhanced personal lens, and jazz novel based on a series of letters. Moderated by David Kaufman, George Mason University.

Intersectionality and Activism at 1pm
The term “intersectionality” was coined by black feminist scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw decades ago but has gained wider attention in recent years — and has informed (and challenged) many of the defining activist movements of our times, from trans rights to the Women’s March on Washington to Black Lives Matter. How does this concept of intersectionality help us understand this remarkable (for better and worse) historic moment we’re living in? Jennifer Baumgardner (We Do! American Leaders Who Believe in Marriage Equality) leads a panel including Brittney Cooper (The Crunk Feminist Collection), Daisy Hernández (A Cup of Water Under My Bed), and Mychal Denzel Smith (Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching: A Young Black Man’s Education).

Rock, Race, Influence and Appropriation at 2pm
At the Grammys this year, Adele broke her trophy in half so that she could share it with Beyonce. A month later, Chuck Berry died and much of the media coverage looked at how admirers like the Rolling Stones made a fortune off his riffs. How has the discourse on music, influence and appropriation changed over the decades? Farai Chideya (The Episodic Career) leads a panel including Nelson George (To Funk and Die in L.A.), Jeff Chang (We Gon’ Be Alright), and Jack Hamilton (Just Around Midnight).

All Talk: Whiting Award-Winning Novelists and Playwrights on How the Spoken Word Brings Stories to Life at 3pm
Playwright John Guare (Six Degrees of Separation) speaks with four Whiting Award winners – fiction writers Deborah Eisenberg (Twilight of the Superheroes) and Matthew Klam (Who Is Rich?), and fellow playwrights Clarence Coo (Beautiful Province) and James Ijames (WHITE) – about the art of dialogue in stories/novels and on stage.

Words on the Page/Words on the Stage at 4pm
Elizabeth Acevedo (Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths), Sam Sax (Madness), Aja Monet (My Mother Was a Freedom Fighter), and Danez Smith (Don’t Call Us Dead), four poets whose work lives both in performance and on the page, share their work. Moderated by Tina Chang (Of Gods & Monsters).

Writing About Rock, Pop, and Hip-Hop at 5pm
It wasn’t always the case that rock and pop music were considered subjects worthy of serious writerly analysis or exploration. How has rock journalism, hip-hop journalism, and music writing evolved over the decades? How has it been impacted by new technologies and new ideas about race and gender? Join panelists Jonathan Lethem (Shake It Up), Ann Powers (Good Booty), and Jeff Chang (We Gon’ Be Alright) in a discussion moderated by Daphne Brooks (Jeff Buckley’s Grace).

For a full list of the Festival Day events, click here.