Caribbean Writers at the Brooklyn Book Festival

Below are the panels featuring Caribbean writers at the Brooklyn Book Festival this Sunday, 22 September. Events are listed in chronological order, with location noted at the end of each description. Of special note is the “Bookend” event on Thursday, 19 September, 6pm at MoCADA. More information available at the Brooklyn Book Festival’s site.

**Bookend event**

Thursday, 19 September, 6:00 – 8:00 PM

The Best in Caribbean Literature.  Presented by Akashic Books, Bocas Lit Fest, MoCADA, and Caribbean Cultural Theatre. Featuring Robert Antoni (As Flies to Whatless Boys), Montague Kobbé (The Night of the Rambler), Oonya Kempadoo (All Decent Animals), Elsie Augustave (The Roving Tree), Barbara Jenkins (Sic Transit Wagon), Diana McCaulay (Huracan) and Ifeona Fulani (Ten Days in Jamaica).

MoCADA, 80 Hanson Place (btw. S. Portland & S. Elliott)


Festival events
Sunday, 22 September

10:00 A.M. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter: We love to talk about love: new love, old loves and—the worst kind of all—love interrupted. More than that, we love to read about love. Jess Row (The Train to Lo Wu),Colin Channer (Lover’s Rock), and J. Courtney Sullivan (The Engagements) bring us stories about the history of the diamond ring across America, the decline of a marriage in London, and the intimate lives of characters in Hong Kong. Moderated by Rachel Fershleiser.

11:00 A.M. Personal Stories, National Memory: Fiction can be as narrow or contained as a single consciousness, or open up and embody something intrinsic to an era or nation. Alexander Maksik (A Marker to Measure Drift), probes the shattered inner world of a Liberian war refugee; Colombian author Juan Gabriel Vásquez (The Sound of Things Falling) captures the dread and violence of his country’s drug war years, and Oonya Kempadoo (All Decent Animals) offers a polyrhythmic, panoramic view across contemporary Trinidadian society. Moderated by Anderson Tepper. Special thanks to the Colombian Film Festival New York.

11:00 A.M. Mommy Dearest: Some women would sacrifice anything to have a child. Others consider having a child a sacrifice in itself. The complications of adoption, of lost chances, and of the relationship between past and present are all held together by a mother’s instinct, or lack thereof. Jennifer Gilmore (The Mothers), Claire Messud (The Woman Upstairs), and Jamaica Kincaid (See Now Then) debate the different roles that motherhood plays in their latest novels.  Moderated by Harold Augenbraum, National Book Foundation.

12:00 P.M. Lessons Learned: We all like to think of what could have been. Christopher Beha (What Happened to Sophie Wilder), Paul Harding (Enon), and Robert Antoni (As Flies to Whatless Boys) discuss how their characters look to the past to find peace in the present, whether that means reconnecting with ex-lovers, facing the death of a loved one, or reflecting on decisions could have, should have, would have changed the world. Moderated by Erika Goldman.

1:00 P.M. Storytelling: How Do We Tell Our Most Essential Stories?This discussion about narrative and the art of storytelling features a trio of voices from around the globe. With Antiguan-American writer Jamaica Kincaid (See Now Then), Guatemalan writer Eduardo Halfon (The Polish Boxer) and Nigerian writer Chinelo Okparanta (Happiness, Like Water). Moderated by Eric Banks.

2:00 P.M. Creating Dangerously in a Dangerous World: How do different forms—fiction, reportage, memoir and essay—capture different realities, especially when the principal subject is the trauma of war and violence? Join three authors whose work explores horrific visions from a variety of angles: Edwidge Danticat (Claire of the Sea Light), Courtney Angela Brkic (The First Rule of Swimming) and Dinaw Mengestu (How to Read the Air). Moderated by Bhakti Shringarpure, editor of Warscapes.

3:00 P.M. Real People, Imagined Stories: These novels are so fascinating that it’s easy to forget they’re based on the lives of very real historical figures. Amy Brill (The Movement of Stars), Colum McCann(TransAtlantic), and Montague Kobbé (The Night of the Rambler) examine the lesser-known stories of the first female astronomer, a fifteen-hour revolution in Anguilla, and three generations of Irish women whose stories of hope and survival are played out against a century and a half of Irish-American history. Moderated by Jeffrey Lependorf (CLMP)

3:00 P.M. Rolling the Dice: These characters are doing some risky business. A woman leaves behind a life in New York City to return to Jamaica as an outsider. A man ditches an unfulfilling but innocent life of cab-driving to steal a Nigerian artifact. A woman terrorizes another woman’s wedding with a wedding dress, a gas mask, a shotgun and a bomb trigger. Okey Ndibe (Foreign Gods), Lisa Zeidner (Love Bomb), and Diana McCaulay (Huracan) discuss what drives us to risk everything—love, honor, or the greater good? Moderated by Jon Fine (Amazon).
ST. FRANCIS MCARDLE (180 Remsen Street)

3:30 P.M. Idols, Gods, and Kings: Literary forces Teddy Wayne (The Love Song of Jonny Valentine), Tom Wolfe (Back to Blood) and Cristina García (King of Cuba) explore the concept of power with three very different casts: an eleven-year-old superstar’s road to fame; the varied, shady folks running an election in Miami; and a fictionalized Fidel Castro and his vengeful exile. Moderated by Greg Cowles (The New York Times).
ST. ANN & THE HOLY TRINITY CHURCH (157 Montague Street)

5:00 P.M. Something to Hide: Writers Against the Surveillance State.  Recent leaks have revealed the breathtaking reach of the National Security Agency’s secret surveillance programs. Should writers and readers be concerned? Brooklyn Book Festival authors Edwidge Danticat,Francine ProseAndre Aciman, and radio host Leonard Lopate join an NSA whistleblower, Tom Drake, and others for a reading to provoke reflection on the dangers surveillance poses to the freedom to think and create, and to celebrate the role writers have played in defying those dangers. Presented by PEN American Center, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the New York Civil Liberties Union)
ST. ANN & THE HOLY TRINITY CHURCH (157 Montague Street)

5:00 P.M. Visitors and Intruders: Talented writers A.X. Ahmad (The Caretaker), Jessica Hagedorn (Manila Noir) and Robert Antoni (As Flies to Whatless Boys) remind us of the thin line between visitor, intruder, and citizen in these tales about immigration, lost homelands, and, always, the power of location. Moderated by Karolina Waclawiak (The Believer).