Caribbean events and panels at the Brooklyn Book Festival 2019

Brooklyn Book Festival
16-23 September 2019

Below are a list of Caribbean-related events and panels before and during the Brooklyn Book Festival on Sunday, 22 September. The list may be incomplete. Events are listed in chronological order.

All events free unless otherwise noted.


Bookend events

16-23 September

Declaraciones: Latinx Writing Carving Out a Space
Mon, September 16, 7:00 pm
Cafe con Libros, 724 Prospect Place, Brooklyn, NY 11216

Representation in literature is still a struggle. In this discussion, authors Adriana Herrera, Claribel Ortega, and Theresa Varela delve into the challenges faced by Latinx writers creating art in niche genres—notably mystery, romance, and sci-fi/fantasy—where black and brown faces aren’t usually included.

Truth To Words Out of The Bronx
Tues, September 17, 5:30 pm
Bronx Library Center, 310 East Kingsbridge Road, Bronx, NY 10458

Join authors Keisha Molby-Baez, Anne Born, Edward D. Currelley, Lorraine Currelley, Alyssa D’Amico, Carmen D. Lucca, James Dean Rivera, Damien Tillman, Bonafide Rojas & Mercy Tullis Bukhari for an evening of passionate truth telling poetry & spoken word. Bring a poem to share during our open mic.

Seriously Entertaining: “No Sleep Till…”
Tues, September 17, 7:00 pm
Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater, 117 East 19th St., New York, NY 10003
Cost – $35

House of SpeakEasy’s literary cabaret series “Seriously Entertaining” returns this fall with a special Brooklyn Book Festival–themed program, “No Sleep Till.” Featuring the storytelling talents of William Dalrymple, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Torrey Maldonado, and Helen Phillips. Each writer will present a 15-minute monologue, offering their unique riff on the evening’s theme. The program will include a literary quiz in which the audience can compete to win a collection of books signed by the performing authors. Books will be for sale courtesy WORD Bookstore.
Doors open at 6:00 PM – Show starts at 7:00 PM. Purchase tickets here:

Image Conscious- Repainting the Imaginary of Caribbean Picture Books, Novels and Graphic Novels
Fri, September 20, 7:30 pm
Bartow Community Center – Co-op City
2049 Bartow Avenue (across from Bay Plaza), Bronx, NY 10475

From the quirky, fun take on modern parenting in #JoysOfParenting by Carlette DeLeon (Jamaica), to telling old tales in new ways in The Dark of the Sea by Imam Baksh (Guyana), to adventures and intrigue in The Carnival Prince by Daniel O’Brien (Trinidad), join us in discovering the identity and culture of a region and its peoples constantly in (re)formation. Presented by The Riverbay Fund in association with Caribbean Cultural Theatre, CaribbeanReads, Read Jamaica and the Jamaica Progressive League.

Boonoonoonous Hair with Olive Senior & Laura James
Sat, September 21, 2:00 pm
Bronx Library Center, 310 East Kingsbridge Rd, Bronx, NY 10454

Join One Book One Bronx when we celebrate the NYC release of the children’s book Boonoonoonous Hair! The day will feature children’s book author Olive Senior, illustrator Laura James (the team that created Anna Carries Water), a special art exhibit, and more! In this vibrant and exquisitely illustrated picture book, a young girl learns to love her difficult-to-manage, voluminous and boonoonoonous hair.

Reading in Celebration of Audre Lorde
Sat, September 21, 2:00 pm
Alice Austen House Museum, 2 Hylan Blvd., Staten Island, NY 10305

Acclaimed black lesbian feminist, writer, and activist Audre Lorde lived on Staten Island, just a stone’s throw from the Alice Austen House with her partner and two children from 1972 -1987. Lorde authored influential works while living on St Paul’s Avenue and also co-founded Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press. This year her residence joined the Alice Austen House as a designated NYC Individual Landmark, by virtue of its LGBTQ significance in connection with Lorde. In celebration of her legacy the Alice Austen House will host a reading of Lorde’s works chosen by Staten Island authors.

Readings, Rum & Reasoning – Discovering Where You Come From
Sat, September 21, 7:30 pm
South Oxford Space
138 South Oxford Street (bet. Atlantic Ave & Hanson Pl.), Brooklyn, NY 11217

Acclaimed short story writers Imam Baksh (Guyana), The Dark of the Sea, Anton Nimblett (Trinidad), Now, After, and Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature winner, Olive Senior (Jamaica), The Pain Tree celebrate the (in)securities of being home, abroad and home abroad. This free-spirited book party, Poets & Passion – A Caribbean Literary Lime series, is hosted by the Brooklyn-based Caribbean Cultural Theatre and in partnership with publishers CaribbeanRead from St. Kitts – Nevis, and Read Jamaica. Books, music, good company, ol’ talk, and yes… rum!


Festival events
Sunday, 22 September

The Art of Belonging
Borough Hall Courtroom, 209 Joralemon St

A bold sense of self and strong grounding can emerge from disparate and challenging lives and experiences. In Angie Cruz’s Dominicana, a fifteen-year-old Dominican girl agrees to be married so that she can move to New York City. In Courtney Maum’s Costalegre, an isolated daughter travels with her mother, a wealthy art collector, to Costalegre, Mexico, in advance of WWII. The stories in Nafissa Thompson-Spires’ Heads of the Colored People examine how the intersection of racial identity, class, and social institutions create or impede a sense of belonging. The narrators of these stories explore their multifaceted identities with unabashed wit and boldness. Moderated by Jennifer Baker (Everyday People: The Color of Life).

Village People: Rural Lives in a Global World
Borough Hall Media Room, 209 Joralemon St

What becomes of rural life and literature in an overwhelmingly urbanized world? The verse of Windham Campbell Prize author Ishion Hutchinson’s House of Lords and Commons evokes a Jamaican countryside of revolutionary cane cutters and brilliant musical magpies. Maxim Osipov’s story collection Rock, Paper, Scissors updates the rich literature of Russia’s provinces with contemporary woes like medical tourism and nationalist politics. And in Jean-Baptiste del Amo’s Animalia, a French peasant smallholding evolves, over generations, into a hellish factory farm. Moderated by Emily Nemens, editor of The Paris Review

11:00 am
Coming Out and Of Age, presented by BAM
Borough Hall Courtroom, 209 Joralemon St

Nicole Dennis-Benn (Patsy), Casey Gerald (There Will Be No Miracles Here), and T Kira Madden (Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls) join Alexander Chee (How to Write an Autobiographical Novel) for a conversation about their books, which each pay specific attention to how class, race, sexuality and nationality change our sense of what a coming out story even is, and what might define a coming-of-age story now. This discussion is presented in conjunction with The End of Eddy, an adaptation of Édouard Louis’ autobiographically inspired novel presented as part of Next Wave 2019 at BAM.

11:00 am
Identity and Belonging
Brooklyn Historical Society Great Hall, 128 Pierrepont St

WNYC’s Rebecca Carroll leads a spirited discussion with three very different authors– Very Smart Brothas’ Damon Young (What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir In Essays), Sharmila Sen (Not Quite Not White: Losing and Finding Race in America), and David Chariandy (I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You: A Letter to my Daughter)– about their personal journeys navigating the vagaries of race and culture in their respective families and environments. What emerges is often harrowing, sometimes hilarious, but always intensely human.

12:00 pm
Decolonized Epics: History, Fantasy, and Futurism in African Writing and its Diaspora
Borough Hall Media Room, 209 Joralemon St

Three novelists from Africa and its diaspora set their stories in the widest possible canvas. Braiding Zambian history with futuristic speculation, Namwali Serpell’s The Old Drift follows three families trapped in a cycle of revenge that lasts from the beginning of colonial settlement to the advent of superintelligent mosquito drones. In House of Stone, Novuyo Rosa Tshuma interrogates history’s silences in a panoramic narrative of Zimbabwe before and after independence. And in Marlon James’s Black Leopard, Red Wolf, folklore from across the continent shapes a fantasy quest of epic dimensions. Moderated by Hafizah Geter, Little A/Topple Books.

12:00 pm
Love and Myth
Brooklyn Historical Society Great Hall, 128 Pierrepont St

What drives the human impulse to create myths, and what can these stories tell us about the enduring power of love? Here, literary heavyweights Chigozie Obioma (An Orchestra of Minorities), Jaime Manrique (Like This Afternoon Forever), and Edwidge Danticat (Everything Inside) explore the mythology of love as it traverses borders and cultures. Whether exploring forbidden romance between two Catholic priests in Colombia, a Nigerian poultry farmer who sacrifices everything for love, or the ways in which the power of love can confront the horrors of war and displacement, these writers reveal the fundamental truths behind the myths we create for ourselves, and the role of love in writing humanity’s story. Short readings and discussion moderated by Tiphanie Yanique (Wife), followed by Q&A.

12:00 pm
Poetry at the Crossroads
North Stage, Cadman Plaza East

“One ever feels his two-ness… two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings,” said W.E.B. Du Bois, describing the state of double consciousness. Poets Marwa Helal (Invasive species), Joseph O. Legaspi (Threshold), Vanessa Angélica Villarreal (Beast Meridian), Keith S. Wilson (Fieldnotes on Ordinary Love) discuss their explorations of identities that resist the boundaries of easy classification, and what it means to write the complexities that define us. Moderated by Ricardo Alberto Maldonado, 92Y’s Unterberg Poetry Center.

1:00 pm
Uncharted Territory: Families in the New Frontier
Brooklyn Law School, Room 401

The word “frontier” evokes a world of possibility, along with corresponding notions of freedom and exploration. Here, three of today’s novelists—Téa Obreht (Inland), Julia Phillips (Disappearing Earth), and Nicole Dennis-Benn (Patsy)—explode and reimagine that definition, through the prism of families that are wrenched apart by both geography and personal misfortune. From the Arizona Territory of 1893, to Russia’s remote Kamchatka peninsula, to the contemporary frontiers traversed by Jamaican immigrants in New York, these authors explore the various forces that pull families apart—and the sometimes unexpected bonds that tie them back together. The program will include short readings and a discussion moderated by Jonny Diamond, editor-in-chief, Literary Hub.

2:00 pm
My Brother’s Keeper: Tragedy and Trauma
Borough Hall Media Room, 209 Joralemon St

From The Farming of Bones to nonfiction works like Brother, I’m Dying and The Art of Death, acclaimed Haitian writer Edwidge Danticat has long been preoccupied by questions of grief and loss—within families and communities, literature and history. Similar themes, not surprisingly, reappear in her latest story collection, Everything Inside. They also reverberate in Windham Campbell Prize author David Chariandy’s quietly devastating novel, Brother, and the collage-like essays of cultural historian Maria Tumarkin’s Axiomatic. Together, the three offer a powerful portrait of personal and collective responses to trauma. Moderated by Anderson Tepper, Vanity Fair.

2:00 pm
NBF Presents: An Afternoon with the National Book Awards
Brooklyn Historical Society Library,128 Pierrepont St

Join four acclaimed authors honored by the 2018 National Book Awards for an engaging discussion on craft, recognition, and the vital importance of literature. Featuring writers working widely across subject and genre, the panel includes translator Jennifer Croft (Flights by Olga Tokarczuk, Finalist, Translated Literature), Victoria Johnson (American Eden, Finalist, Nonfiction), Raquel Salas Rivera (lo terciario / the tertiary, Longlist, Poetry), and Nafissa Thompson-Spires (Heads of the Colored People, Longlist, Fiction). Moderated by Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation.

5:00 pm
Marlon James and Joyce Carol Oates in Conversation
St. Ann & The Holy Trinity Church, 157 Montague St

Two of today’s most revered titans of literature, Marlon James (Black Leopard, Red Wolf) and Joyce Carol Oates (My Life as A Rat), discuss their craft and offer short readings from their latest work. Moderated by Leigh Haber, books editor at O, the Oprah Magazine.

1 thought on “Caribbean events and panels at the Brooklyn Book Festival 2019”

  1. I would also like to add that I will be doing the storytimes and book signing for my new picture book, A LIKKLE MISS LOU: How Jamaican Poet Louise Bennett Coverley Found Her Voice.
    10:30-11:30 Bank Street Bookstore in Manhattan, NY Sat. Sept. 21
    11:30am Greenlight Prospect Leffert Garden bookstore in Brooklyn, NY Sun. Sept. 22
    1:30pm Greenlight Fort Greene bookstore in Brooklyn, NY Sun. Sept. 22

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