This Sunday is the Brooklyn Book Festival. While we search for a proper play on “Brooklyn” to go as the title for this (“No Sleep ’til Brooklyn Book Festival”? “Motherless Brooklyn Book Festival”? “Last Exit to Brooklyn Book Festival”?), we heartily recommend that you check out the schedule; some noteworthy panels follow. Though, really, the whole thing has left us collectively impressed, and we’re constantly reminded that writers whose work we enjoy (Amelia Gray! Patrick Somerville!) will be in attendance.
Some panels that struck our fancy, arranged chronologically; information cut’n’pasted from the BKBF’s site. Bi- or tri-location may be required:
10:00 A.M. In and Out of Time: Talking about Time Travel. WritersDiana Gabaldon (An Echo in the Bone), Samantha Hunt (The Invention of Everything Else) and Seth Fried (The Great Frustration) read from their work and discuss what happens when you go beyond a non-linear narrative and remove the boundaries of space and time from a novel. Moderated by Andrea Montejo, Indent Agency. [St. Francis McArdle Hall]
11:00 A.M. Presented by Housing Works Bookstore Cafe: Radical Fictions. A family confronts the end of the Cold War in Washington, DC, 1979. A group of drunk punks await their prophet as the millennium looms in Gainesville, Florida, 1999. A beautiful eco-terrorist bombs an office building in New York, New York, 2010. Jennifer Gilmore (Something Red),David Goodwillie (American Subversive), and Justin Taylor (Gospel of Anarchy) read from their work and discuss the extremist ideologies and cultish communities their characters find themselves entangled in. Moderated by Marcela Landres. [Brooklyn Historical Society Main Hall]
12:00 P.M. The Phantom Tollbooth at 50. From the fantastic imagination of Norton Juster and the unforgettable sketch of Jules Feiffer, the classic children’s story The Phantom Tollbooth was created 50 years ago in Brooklyn Heights. Join the famed author/ illustrator pair in a conversation with Leonard Marcus (Golden Legacy: How Golden Books Won Children’s Hearts, Changed Publishing Forever, and Became an American Icon Along the Way). [St. Francis Auditorium]
12:00 P.M. Epic Confusion. Readings from Nadia Kalman (The Cosmopolitans), Chuck Klosterman (The Visible Man), Sam Lipsyte (The Ask) , and Tiphanie Yanique (How to Escape from a Leper Colony) followed by a discussion of confusion, the difficulties of communicating with others and the obstacles that create this confusion. Moderated byTiphanie Yanique (How to Escape from a Leper Colony). [St. Francis McArdle Hall]
12:00 P.M. Genres Crashers. Join authors whose work defies classification: crashing the genre borders of science fiction/ fantasy and the supernatural. Cory Doctorow (For The Win, Little Brother), Kelly Link, author of cult favorite stories in Pretty Monsters and Magic for Beginners, and best-selling author Jewell Parker Rhodes, winner of the American Book Award, uses magical realism to examine race and memory in her New Orleans vampire trilogy Seasons, Moon, and Hurricane. Moderated byStephanie Anderson, WORD [St. Francis Screening Room]
1:00 P.M. The Writer as Illusionist. What are the tricks of technique and perspective that can push fiction ever deeper into the realm of fantasy? Acclaimed authors Steven Millhauser (We Others: New and Selected Stories), Steve Stern (The Frozen Rabbi), and Emma Straub (Other People We Married) consider the mysteries of the page. Moderated byHarold Augenbraum, National Book Foundation. [St. Francis McArdle Hall]
1:00 P.M. Apocalypse Now, and Then What? Sure you survived an earthquake and hurricane in the same week, but what about the apocalypse? Writers Tananarive Due (My Soul to Take), Patrick Somerville (The Universe in Miniature in Miniature), and Colson Whitehead (Zone One) look at iterations of the end of the world as we know it and what that means for their characters. Moderated by Paul Morris, Bomb Magazine. [Borough Hall Courtroom]
2:00 P.M. Politically Incorrect Parenting. What constitutes acceptable parenting when you just want the kids to go the *bleep* to sleep is a daily concern for the urban mom and dad. Adam Mansbach (Go the F**k to Sleep), Ta-Nehisi Coates (The Beautiful Struggle and contributor to Rad Dad) and Alice Bradley (Let’s Panic About Babies) confront the subject with startling honesty and good humor in search of healthy childrearing. Moderated by Jennifer Senior, author of the 2010 NY Mag cover story “All Joy No Fun: Why Parents Hate Parenting,” which will be the foundation for her first book, to be published by Ecco in 2013. [St. Francis Screening Room]
3:00 P.M. Comics Writ Large and Small. Three of the most exciting artists working in the comics medium today—who work on canvases both epic and poetic—will discuss their craft and the artistry of long and short form graphic stories. Harvey, Ignatz, and Eisner-award winner Craig Thompson’s much-anticipated Habibi is a 672-page quest of spiritualism and love. Ignatz winner Anders Nilsen’s 658-page Big Questions weaves together surreal tales the artist released as shorter works over many years, and Harvey award-winner Adrian Tomine’s Optic Nerve series, with #12 newly released, typifies the concision of his storytelling—also loved by many in New Yorker covers and strips that offer a thousand words in a few quiet frames. Moderated by Meg Lemke. [St. Francis Auditorium]
4:00 P.M. Drawing a Life. How do you draw someone else’s memories? Eisner-nominated Dean Haspiel (Cuba: My Revolution) illustrated the memoir of revolutionary turned refugee Inverna Lockpez. Pulitzer nominee Lauren Redniss (Radioactive: A Tale of Love and Fallout) blends research and imagination in a haunting portrait of Marie Curie and rising star artist GB Tran (Vietnamerica: A Family’s Journey) turns to his own family’s history to portray a war-torn, transnational generation. Moderated by Hillary Chute, author of Graphic Women: Life Narrative and Contemporary Comics. [St. Francis Screening Room]
4:00 P.M. Obama and the Popular Imagination. Jodi Kantor (author of the forthcoming The Obamas) and Touré (Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness?) and author/activist Marc Lamont Hill look at the meaning and symbolism of Obama’s presidency for various constituencies, and how the President and his family participate in and are represented in pop culture and the culture at large. Moderated by Politico’s Ben Smith. [Main Stage]
5:00 P.M. Short and Sweet (and Sour). Short Story weavers Clark Blaise (The Meagre Tarmac), Seth Fried (The Great Frustration), Amelia Gray (AM/PM) read from their works followed by Q&A. Moderated byStephanie Opitz. [St. Francis Volpe Library]
Also of note: WORD will be in attendance, bringing with them recommendations from multiple fine authors (Simon Van Booy! Emma Straub!) along with donut holes. This strikes us as a fine plan.