Caribbean events and panels at the Brooklyn Book Festival

Brooklyn Book Festival
11-17 September 2017

Below are a list of Caribbean-related events and panels before and during the Brooklyn Book Festival on Sunday, 17 September. The list may be incomplete. Events are listed in chronological order.

All events free unless otherwise noted.


Bookend events
11-16 September

At Home in the World: On Writing, Immigration and Belonging.
Thurs, 14 September, 7:00 pm
The Center for Fiction, East 47th Street, New York

Rumaan Alam, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Garnette Cadogan, Rigoberto González and Porochista Khakpour talk immigration, Brooklyn/New York as a global center, and finding home as a writer. Moderated by Walton Muyumba. Reception to follow.

More info here

‘We Contain Multitudes: Latinx Representation and Identity in YA’ a Latinx in Publishing Panel.
Thurs, 14 September, 7:00 pm
Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, Crosby Street, New York

The Latinx community is diverse and multifaceted. Yet its complexity is rarely reflected in popular culture, visual media, and literature. Join contemporary Latinx authors Daniel José Older (Shadowhouse Fall), Veronica Chambers (The Go-Between), Adam Silvera (History Is All You Left Me), editor Nikki Garcia (LBYR), and moderator Shelley Diaz (School Library Journal), as they discuss what it means to be Latinx at this moment in time in publishing, and what roles publishers can play to help broaden the conversation.

More info here.

Long-Memoried Woman – An Evening with Caribbean Women Writers.
Fri, 15 September, 7:00 pm
Dreiser Community Center, Dreiser Loop, Bronx

Poets & Passion – A Caribbean Literary Lime kicks of its 12th Season with a Bookend that celebrates heritage, family and womanhood with some of the finest wordsmiths from the Caribbean diaspora. The evening of engaging and provocative newly published work features Bronx-based poets Heather A. Archibald (St. Kitts–Nevis), Home. Home, Mercy Tullis-Bukhari (Honduras), Smoke, and Paula Shaw (Jamaica), My Soul in the Morning, along with YA fiction writers Tanya Batson-Savage (Jamaica), Pumpkin Belly and Other Stories, Carol Ottley-Mitchell (St. Kitts–Nevis), Fury on Soufriere Hills, and Florenz Webbe Maxwell (Bermuda), Girlcott.

More info here.

Moonbath Booklaunch with Yanick Lahens and Lisa Lucas.
Fri, 15 September, 7:00 pm
972 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY

Join award-winning Haitian author Yanick Lahens and executive director of the National Book Foundation Lisa Lucas for a conversation on Moonbath, just released by Deep Vellum. A four generations saga of a peasant family living in a small Haitian village, the novel recounts through stories of tradition and superstition, Vodou and the new gods, romance and violence, the lives of the women who struggled to hold the family together in an ever-shifting landscape of political turmoil and economic suffering. A glass of wine will follow.

More info here.

Readings, Rum & Reasoning: Independence and Writing a Culture – A Book Party!
Sat, 16 September, 7:00 pm
South Oxford Space, 138 South Oxford Street, Brooklyn

Caribbean Cultural Theatre, CaribbeanRead and Read Jamaica are celebrating 55 years of independence for Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago with a serious, serious conversation on what is “Classic” Caribbean Literature and who is producing the ‘New Classics’. With YA author, Tamika Gibson (Trinidad), Dreams Beyond the Shore, award-winning novelist, Kei Miller (Jamaica), Augustown, and (as referee) author and storyteller, Florenz Webbe Maxwell (Bermuda), Girlcott. And yes, there will be rum.

More info here.


Festival events
Sunday, 17 September


Telling Her Own Story
Brooklyn Law School Student Lounge, 250 Joralemon St

Girls are center stage on this panel with Tracey Baptiste  (Rise of the Jumbies), Meg Medina (Burn Baby Burn), and Renée Watson (Piecing Me Together) as they discuss how their writing explores the complexities of girlhood and why it’s important for them to create bold, brave girls. Moderated by Dhonielle Clayton (Tiny Pretty Things).

More info here.

History Will Repeat Itself
Brooklyn Historical Society Library, 128 Pierrepont St

The tales that come before us and surround us are influential. It is not just our favorite novels that spark our own lives, but the gossip, local mythology, and ancient tales of the places we inhabit that weave into our own stories. Amelia Gray (Isadora), Kei Miller (Augustown), and Madison Smartt Bell (Behind the Moon) examine their incorporation of the histories of distinct cultures into their own new work, and the influence and inspiration that such narratives can provide. Moderated by Tiphanie Yanique (Wife).

More info here.


Into the Void: Searching for Lost, Unknown and Stolen Family
Borough Hall Media Room, 209 Joralemon St

The trauma of families torn apart by events beyond their control drive these powerful narratives by Pulitzer Prize winner Hisham Matar (The Return), and Windham-Campbell Prize recipients Ali Cobby Eckermann (Inside My Mother), and Erna Brodber (Nothing’s Mat). They show an interminable void between generations —from Qaddafi’s Libya, to Australia’s stolen generation, and Jamaica’s tumultuous past —recovering lost histories; the half of the story that has not been told. Moderated by Michael Kelleher, Director, Windham-Campbell Prizes, and author of Visible Instruments.

More info here.

All About Me (And Sometimes You)
Center Stage (Columbus Park)

‘Til death do us part, best friends forever, honor thy father … Promises that seem certain one day can be tested over the course of a lifetime, as personal priorities shift and pull us away from our obligations to those we love the most. Authors Marita Golden (The Wide Circumference of Love), Rumaan Alam (Rich and Pretty), and Nicole Dennis-Benn (Here Comes the Sun) discuss how self-interest and compassion can be at odds, even in one’s closest and strongest relationships. Moderated by Molly Rose Quinn.

More info here.

Moral Culpability in Global Crises
Borough Hall Courtroom, 209 Joralemon St

From America to Cuba to a dystopian world, at first glance these novels seem like a whirlwind trip through worlds that could not be more different. Yet, novelists Lidia Yuknavitch (The Book of Joan), Jonathan Safran Foer (Here I Am), and Achy Obejas (The Tower of the Antilles) show that no matter the setting, characters share common struggles. Across time and place, these protagonists search for their role in a crisis larger than themselves – whether as rebel fighters in a futuristic police-state, Jewish-Americans coping with the conflict in the Middle East, and Cubans haunted by the islands they inhabit. Moderated by Michele Filgate.

More info here.

Head Over Heels
Brooklyn Law School Student Lounge, 250 Joralemon St

Love is in the air when NYT bestselling superstar Sarah Dessen (Once and for All) and newcomers Lilliam Rivera (The Education of Margot Sanchez) and Gabby Rivera (Juliet Takes a Breath) sit down to talk romance, relationships, and the riskiness of opening your heart. Moderated by bestselling author Adam Silvera (They Both Die at the End).

More info here.


Following Clues
Borough Hall Media Room, 209 Joralemon St

Literature, like life, can be riddled with mysteries, subterfuges, and half-truths. Follow the path of revelations in work ranging from Trinidadian-Canadian author and recipient of the Windham-Campbell Prize André Alexis’ off-beat noir (The Hidden Keys), to South Korean Young-ha Kim’s adrenaline rush through underground Seoul (I Hear Your Voice), and Swiss author Pascale Kramer’s exploration of political—and familial—scandal (Autopsy of a Father). Moderated by Dwight Garner, NYT.

More info here.


Where Are We From? Who Are We Now?
Borough Hall Media Room, 209 Joralemon St

Origin stories—of communities, families, individuals—can take a variety of forms and be told in multiple ways.  Kei Miller magically recounts the roots of a Jamaican hill town and the legend of its flying prophet in Augustown, while Yanick Lahens’ multi-generational Moonbath graphically reflects the upheavals of Haiti itself. Kosovan-Finish author Pajtim Statovci slyly depicts a lonely immigrant’s personal awakening in My Cat Yugoslavia. Moderated by Kaiama L. Glover (Haiti Unbound: A Spiralist Challenge to the Postcolonial Canon).

More info here.


Words on the Page/Words on the Stage
Main Stage on Borough Hall Plaza

Elizabeth Acevedo (Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths), Sam Sax (Madness), Aja Monet(My Mother Was a Freedom Fighter), and Danez Smith (Don’t Call Us Dead), four poets whose work lives both in performance and on the page, share their work. Moderated by Tina Chang (Of Gods & Strangers).

More info here.

Shapeshifters: Novelist Write Comics!
Brooklyn Historical Auditorium, 128 Pierrepont St

More and more comics writers also create acclaimed novels and short stories. What does it take to shape-shift between these publishing cultures? Prose authors reveal the challenges of working with an artist, or writing a beloved comics character, or creating a new one. Three literary novelists writing exciting new DC, Marvel, and BOOM! Studios projects tell all: Victor LaValle (Destroyer), Gabby Rivera (America) and Ben Percy (Green Arrow), moderated by Alitha E. Martinez (World of Wakanda).

More info here.


Congregation Mt. Sinai, 250 Cadman Plaza W

Readers love to be transported away from their everyday lives and into a different world – a promise some writers take so seriously that they create a whole new universe unlike our own. Step into the imaginations of Daniel José Older (Shadowhouse), N.K. Jemisin (The Stone Sky), and Fiona Maazel (A Little More Human) and learn about the creative process behind their visions of everything from shadowshapers to post-apocalyptic magical powers to flawed superheroes. Moderated by Alice Sola Kim (Monstrous Affections: An Anthology of Beastly Tales).

More info here.