September 12, 2011 / GO Brooklyn / Downtown / Books / Brooklyn Is Awesome

Book ‘em! Marty’s annual literary festival features heavy hitters

The Brooklyn Paper
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Pulitzer winners, naughty bedtime books, gay cowboys and a sneak peak at Russell Banks’s unreleased book — all that and more at this Sunday’s Brooklyn Book Festival, the annual star-filled orgy for bibliophiles now in its sixth year.

The world-famous Borough Hall event is growing every year — and the festival’s organizer promises this year to be bigger than the past five, as heavy-hitters incluing Joyce Carol Oates, Fran Leibowitz, and — inconceivably! — Wallace Shawn join nearly 300 authors for readings, talks, workshops and autograph sessions.

“If there’s one main attraction this year, it’s the big names,” said Johnny Temple, chair of the Brooklyn Literary Council, who has run the festival for Borough President Markowitz since its inception six years ago. “Joyce Carol Oates is a big get for us.”

But Banks, author of such heartbreaking works of staggering genius as “Cloudsplit­ter” and “The Sweet Hereafter,” is no slouch either — and a peek at his forthcoming book, “Lost Memory of Skin,” is worth the price of admission (yes, we know it’s free).

The big event is on Sunday, but the party lasts four days, with dozens of events “bookending” the festival.

Highlights include:

• Adam Mansbach, the author of “Go the F—k to Sleep,” discussing parental frustration with Atlantic editor Ta-Nehisi Coates and Alice Bradley.

• “Brokeback Mountain” screenwriters Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana discussing writing and moviemaking.

• All-around literary badass Colson Whitehead will also be around to talk about his forthcoming book, “Zone One,” a post-apocalyptic nightmare that critics are calling a reinvention of the zombie genre.

•Local luminaries such as Pulitzer Prize-winner Jennifer Egan and Jonathan Safran Foer just being on hand to be awesome.

Don’t feel bad if you bring your favorite book — your autograph book.

Brooklyn Book Festival at Borough Hall [209 Joralemon St. between Adams and Court streets in Downtown, (718) 802-3700], Sept. 18. Other events, Sept. 15-17. For full list, visit

Updated 5:26 pm, July 9, 2018
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