There’s no better time to be a book nerd in Brooklyn than September, when the annual blockbuster Brooklyn Book Festival takes over town. With a week’s worth of offsite “Bookend” events and a full day of free panels, readings, discussions, as well as a bustling book fair, if anything there is too much to take in. Let us guide you through the busy, and sometimes bewildering, field of parties and panels. Secure your bookmarks and strap in: it’s BKBF time.

The Parties (September 12-17)

Monday, September 12

Brooklyn Book Festival Opening Night Party

The Bell House, 149 7th Street
7:00pm, free, 21+
If you go to one Bookends event, this is the one to choose: crowded, sweaty, jubilant, and thoroughly nerdy. Watch out for swinging tote bags on the dance floor.

Tuesday, September 13

Franklin Park Reading Series & Brooklyn Public Library Present: The 2016 Brooklyn Eagles Literary Prize Finalists

Franklin Park Bar, 618 St Johns Place
8:00pm, free
Brooklyn’s premier literary institution (our public library system duh) and it’s best reading series (double duh, Franklin Park) present the finalists for BPL’s second annual Brooklyn Eagles Literary Prize.

Wednesday, September 14

Cave Canem at the National Book Awards

Weeksville Heritage Center, 158 Buffalo Avenue
7:00pm, $10 suggested donation

It’s Cave Canem’s 20th anniversary and there’s no better way to celebrate than with its incredible roster of poets: Terrance Hayes, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Marilyn Nelson.

Thursday, September 15

Cuban Heavy Metal Sci-Fi: An Evening with Yoss

ISSUE Project Room, 22 Boerum Place
8:00pm, $15
Lead singer for the Havana-based metal band Tenaz and bestselling science fiction writer Yoss shows off both his talents at this event, with both literary conversation and a musical performance. Included in the ticket price is a copy of Yoss’s “intergalactic space opera” Super Extra Grande and a free drink.

Friday, September 16

What Is Political Writing?

n+1, 68 Jay Street #405, Brooklyn
7:00pm, free

Some of my favorite writers—Dayna Tortorici, Jia Tolentino, Doreen St. Félix—join Adam Shatz of the London Book Review to talk politics. You could not plan a more interesting Friday night.

Saturday, September 17

Literati Present: The Comedy Book Fair 2016

Union Hall, 702 Union Street, Brooklyn
2:30pm, $6 in advance, $8 at door

A midday event, it pays homage to the school book fairs of yore—but, you know, it’s funny this time. Comedians Colin O’Brien, Michael Wolf, Mark Vigeant, Jim Tews, Tim Platt, and Priya Patel are all pitching in for this “immersive comedy experience.”

Sunday, September 18

Get your butt to the Festival!

The Panels (September 18)

10 – 11 AM

The Legacy of Octavia Butler presented by Greenlight Bookstore

Borough Hall Courtroom, 209 Joralemon Street
Writers and artists Daniel José Older (Shadowshaper), Ben Winters (Underground Airlines), Ytasha L. Womack (Afrofuturism), and John Jennings (Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation) reflect on the legacy on one of science fiction’s—and literature’s—greatest authors.

11 AM – 12 PM

Best of Brooklyn: Jacqueline Woodson

St. Francis College Auditorium, 180 Remsen Street
Brooklyn literary superstar, Jacqueline Woodson, talks with New York Times critic A.O. Scott about her work (most recently Another Brooklyn) and the borough where she makes her home.

12 – 1 PM

New Works: A Poetry Reading

Main Stage, Columbus Park
Simply are some of the best poets working today, don’t miss them: Camille Rankine (Incorrect Merciful Impulses), Ocean Vuong (Night Sky with Exit Wounds), Monica Youn (Blackacre), and Rickey Laurentiis (Boy With Thorn).

1 – 2 PM

Youth in Revolt

North Stage, Cadman Plaza East
Tony Tulathimutte (who’s funny, smart debut, Private Citizens, aka the “great millennial novel,” has been lauded by the likes of Jonathan Franzen) is never not engaging, and here’s he’s talking “the youths” with Stephanie Danler (Sweetbitter) and Teddy Wayne (Loner). Kids these days???

2 – 3 PM

Social Media and the Future of Criticism

St. Francis College Auditorium, 180 Remsen Street
Heavy-hitters Margo Jefferson (Negroland), Hua Hsu (A Floating Chinaman), and A.O. Scott (Better Living Through Criticism) consider what criticism means today, a discussion lead by the New York Times’s critic-at-large, the equally incredible Wesley Morris.

3 – 4 PM

Something Strange in the Neighborhood

Brooklyn Historical Society Library, 128 Pierrepont Street
Well-Read Black Girl founder Glory Edim leads Hellen Phillips (Some Possible Solutions), Kaitlyn Greenidge (We Love You, Charlie Freeman), and J. Robert Lennon (See You in Paradise) in conversation about the sometimes surreal secrets a community can keep.

4 – 5 PM

Now and Then and Now

Congregation Mt. Sinai, 250 Cadman Plaza West
Australian Helen Garner (Everywhere I Look), Nigerian Okey Ndibe (Never Look an American in the Eye), and American Rob Spillman (All Tomorrow’s Parties) talk im- and emigration and lives lived (and written) globally.

5 – 6 PM

Not So Generic: Diversity in Science Fiction presented by the Center for Fiction

Borough Hall Courtroom, 209 Joralemon Street
Whiting Award-winning Alice Sola Kim, our foremost chronicler of teen witches, guides three science fiction writers, Catherynne Valente (Radiance), Seth Dickinson (The Traitor Baru Cormorant), and 2015 Nebula Award-winner Alyssa Wong, in a discussion of gender, sexuality, and representation in the genre.


Image courtesy of Chip Kidd