A Guide to the Brooklyn Book Festival’s Bookend Events This Year

Writers really know how to party.

One of the nice things about Brooklyn and the fear of missing out (FOMO) is that there are too many things to do, you can never make them all. And so (this is a pet theory) because the experience of missing out is omnipresent, fear itself fades. You really can’t go wrong with any of the Brooklyn Book Festival’s nearly sixty Bookend events, some of which are as far afield as the Bronx and Queen. These events—encouraged by the Festival, but not organized by it—fill the week preceding (and one day following) the Festival itself, which falls this year on Sunday, September 20th. (A Children’s Day—the Festival’s first—will take place on Saturday the 19th.) Check out all the Bookend events at the Festival’s website, but here are our picks for each day of this book-filled week.

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Monday: Brooklyn Book Festival Opening Night Party
The Bell House // 149 7th Street, Gowanus
September 14, 2015  7:00pm – 10:00pm 
Free
If there’s one thing I trust Tumblr with (and I trust Tumblr with many things), it’s book parties. I am not sure how everyone who has RSVPed for this party will fit in the physical space of the Bell House, but I am genuinely looking forward to finding out. There will be at least some free drinks, prizes, and music by DJ Shiftee. With Catapult, Electric Literature, Literary Hub, PEN America and the aforementioned social media network, this is the party not to miss.

Tuesday: LIC Reading with Akhil Sharma, Justin Taylor, and Sam Lipsyte
LIC Bar // 45-58 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City
September 15, 2015 8:00pm 
Free
It’s worth the trip to Queens. LIC Bar, the oldest drinking establishment in Long Island City, is host to LIC Reading Series, which gathers together Akhil Sharma (Family Life), Justin Taylor (Flings), and Sam Lipsyte (The Fun Parts). There will be Queens-themed prizes.

Wednesday: Joy Williams in Conversation with Siri Hustvedt
Community Bookstore // 143 7th Avenue, Park Slope
September 16, 2015 7:00pm
Free
Slate culture editor Dan Kois recently called Joy Williams, the 71-year-old author of 11 books (mostly fiction), “the writers’ writer’s writer.” Writer Siri Hustvedt (The Blazing World) talks to Williams about her new book of short stories, The Visiting Privilege, Williams’ first in ten years.

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Thursday: ringShout: A Place for Black Literature Presents
Franklin Park Bar & Beer Garden // 618 St. John’s Place, Crown Heights
September 17, 2015 7:00pm – 8:30pm
$6 (includes one free drink)
Franklin Park, and by that I mean its founder Penina Roth, knows how to run a reading. On Thursday, Brooklyn’s most popular reading series joins forces with ringShout, a group of writers, editors, and booksellers promoting contemporary black writing, to offer up one of the reliably best readings of the Festival week. (They’ve boasted Saeed Jones, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, Kiese Laymon in past years.) Hear Angela Flournoy (The Turner House), James Hannaham (Delicious Foods), and Pulitzer Prize-winner Greg Pardlo (Digest) read from and talk about their work.

Friday: A Poetry Reading Featuring Anne Cecelia Holmes, Kelin Loe, Kristen Evans & Zoe Mungin
Berl’s Poetry Shop // 126A Front Street, DUMBO
September 18, 2015 7:00pm
Free
There are poetry readings and then there are poetry readings with costume changes. These women—five poets and one spectacular writer of fiction—will inspire you to get up and put on a gold lame jumpsuit: Victoria Cho, Kristen Evans (Mammal Room), Anne Cecelia Holmes (The Jitters), Kelin Loe (These are the Gloria Stories), Daniela Olzewska (Citizen J), poets from Brooklyn to Massachusetts to Chicago; and Zoe Rana Mungin, a fiction writer and native of East New York. Okay, I can’t promise costume changes but I know Loe owns that jumpsuit. Expect to laugh and think and being inspired, but also laugh.

Saturday: Mellow Pages Summer Vacation @ Silent Barn
Silent Barm
603 Bushwick Avenue, Bushwick
September 19, 2015 2:00pm – 4:00pm
Free
A blockbuster lineup in Bushwick: Jami Attenberg, whose recent novel, Saint Mazie, will make you fall in love with New York all over again; Alice Sola Kim, whose short fiction will make you wish she was in charge of every witch movie ever made; Julia Pierpont, whose debut novel, Among the Ten Thousand Things, pries open a family; Chinelo Okparanta, whose stories (Happiness, Like Water) engage thrillingly with sexuality and gender; and Sara Nović, whose novel Girl at War explores how far combat can follow you.

Sunday: The Brooklyn Book Festival
Borough Hall, Downtown Brooklyn
September 20 10:00am – 6:00pm
The reason for the season! Full of panels hosted by and featuring some of our favorite literary talent (both local and not), this is the premiere book-lover’s event of the year.

Monday: Happiness: The Delight-Tree
St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church 157 Montague Street, Brooklyn Heights
September 21, 2015 7:00pm
Free
An international group of poets (Meena Alexander, Dara Barnat, Rei Berroa, Rosebud Ben-Oni, Sharon Dolin, Michèle Voltaire Marcelin) and musicians drawn from the United Nations community reflect on the subject of peace on September 21, the International Day of Peace.

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