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Our Guide to the 2016 Brooklyn Book Festival & Bookend Events

By The Editors of Words Without Borders

The Brooklyn Book Festival is this Sunday, with a stellar lineup of literary conversations, preceded by exciting Bookend events all this week. Below is our itinerary of not-to-be-missed festival and bookend events featuring international writers and translators, including WWB contributors.

Wednesday, September 14

7:00pm    PEN Translation Presents “Banned But Translated” 
(Word Bookstore, 126 Franklin Street, Brooklyn; Free)

Members of the PEN America Translation Committee read from translations of books that have been banned in other countries, to raise awareness about free expression and translation. Literary translators Alex Zucker, Allison Markin Powell, Chip RossettiJenny Wang Medina, and Daniella Gitlin read from the works of authors Nawal El Saadawi (pictured), Orhan Pamuk, Yan Lianke, Magdy El Shafee, and Anna Politkovskaya. 


Thursday, September 15

8:00pm    Cuban Heavy Metal Sci-FI: An Evening with Yoss 
(ISSUE Project Room, 22 Boerum Place, Brooklyn; $15)

One of Cuba’s bestselling science fiction authors, Yoss (pictured) is a notorious literary rocker, as the lead singer for Havana band Tenaz. Cohosted by BOMB Magazine, ISSUE Project Room, and Restless Books, the event will begin with a discussion of the Cuban literary and metal scenes, and the role that science fiction plays in the culture. Then, Yoss takes the stage to perform some metal classics. Ticket price includes a free drink and a copy of Yoss’s intergalactic space opera, Super Extra Grande.


Friday, September 16

7:30pm    Seventh Annual Brooklyn Indie Party
(Greenlight Bookstore, 686 Fulton Street, Brooklyn; Free)
Greenlight partners with CLMP to throw a Brooklyn-sized party celebrating the spirit of literary independence in Brooklyn with some of our favorite publishers of work in translation, including Akashic Books, Archipelago Books, Melville House Books, Tin House Books, Ugly Duckling Presse, and more. The evening will include food, drinks, music, and a chance to win a gift bag with a book from each of the featured presses, and kick off the Brooklyn Book Festival weekend!


Saturday, September 17

7:00pm    Readings, Rum & Reasoning—A Caribbean Literary Lime
(South Oxford Space, 138 South Oxford Street, Brooklyn; $10)
Whether it's the fantastic or the realistic, six Caribbean writers gather to reason and lime about how writers shape society and how society shapes what they write. Featuring Imam Baksh, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Bernice L. McFadden, Carol Ottley-Mitchell, Elizabeth Nunez, and Olive Senior. Copresented by Caribbean Cultural Theatre, Caribbean Reads, and Read Jamaica in celebration of the 10th Anniversary Season of the Poets & Passion—A Caribbean Literary Lime. 


Sunday, September 18

10:00am    Body Language—Heart, Eyes, Blood
(Borough Hall Media Room, 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn)
A heart transplant, sudden blindness, and HIV infection—how do the traumas of the body drive the novels of French writer Maylis de Kerangal (The Heart), Chilean Lina Meruane (Seeing Red), and South African Masande Ntshanga (The Reactive)? And how do the authors’ very graphic explorations raise issues, both physical and metaphysical? Moderated by Neelika Jayawardane. 

11:00am    Exile, Within and Without
(Borough Hall Media Room, 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn)

There are various kinds of exile—from one’s country, one’s community, even oneself. Join Cameroonian Patrice Nganang (pictured), author of Mount Pleasant; Jamaican Olive Senior, author of The Pain Tree; and South African Imraan Coovadia, author of Tales of the Metric System, for a discussion of the ways, large and small, exile and displacement inform their work. Moderated by Anderson Tepper.


12:00pm    Occupy and Resist
(Borough Hall Media Room, 209 Joralemon Street)

Three prominent international writers—the Czech Republic’s Magdaléna Platzová (pictured), author of The Attempt; Cameroon’s Imbolo Mbue, author of Behold the Dreamers; and Arab-Israeli Sayed Kashua, author of Native: Dispatches from an Israeli-Palestinian Life—take on geopolitical forces and their resistance, from Zuccotti Park to the offices of Lehman Brothers to the streets of the West Bank. Moderated by Caleb Crain.


1:00pm    Marriage: In Love, Madness, and War
(Borough Hall Media Room, 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn)
What do we gain, and what do we lose, in marriage? What kind of love stories does war inspire? Jyothi Natarajan leads a conversation between Indian author and recipient of the Windham-Campbell Prize Jerry Pinto (Em and The Big Hoom; Helen), Sri Lankan debut novelist Anuk Arudpragasam (The Story of a Brief Marriage) and Czech writer Tomáš Zmeškal (Love Letter in Cuneiform; pictured left) to discuss the complexities of love and marriage in both war and peace. 

2:00pm    The Political Coming of Age
(Borough Hall Media Room, 209 Joralemon Street)

Egyptian journalist Yasmine El Rashidi, author of the debut novel Chronicle of a Last Summer, Mauritian Ananda Devi, author of the prize-winning Eve out of Her Ruins, and Slovenian-Austrian Maja Haderlap (pictured), author of Angel of Oblivion, discuss the intersections of politics and identity and the role larger political realities play in shaping the lives of their characters—and the stories they chose to tell. Moderated by Gabriel Sanders, Tablet Magazine. 

3:00pm    Obsession
(Borough Hall Media Room, 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn)

A bitter exile broods over his lost homeland in a dark bar; a translator travels to Brazil to search for a lost author; a bereaved sister dissects her brother's crime and death sentence. What is obsession in literature, and what forms does it take in recent works by Salvadoran writer Horacio Castellanos Moya (Revulsion: Thomas Bernhard in El Salvador), debut novelist Idra Novey (Ways to Disappear; pictured left), and Patricia Engel (The Veins of the Ocean)? Moderated by Eric Banks.

4:00pm    New Dimensions in Latin American Fiction
(Borough Hall Media Room, 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn)
From the futuristic fantasies of Cuban writer and rocker Yoss (Super Extra Grande) to the metafictional twists and turns of Mexican author Álvaro Enrigue (Sudden Death) and Chilean Carlos Labbé (Loquela), contemporary Latin American fiction continues to surprise and astonish in new ways. Bolaño translator Natasha Wimmer leads a conversation with these groundbreaking authors. 

5:00pm    On Identity and Sexuality
(Borough Hall Media Room, 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn)
To what extent do discriminatory politics, social and cultural distinctions, and immigration oppress and build individuality? Join Malaysian writer Tash Aw, author of The Face: Strangers on a Pier; Jamaican-born Nicole Dennis-Benn, author of the debut Here Comes the Sun; and Swedish writer Jonas Hassen Khemiri, author of Everything I Don’t Remember, for a conversation about the freedoms and burdens of identity and sexuality and the ways in which they intersect in their work. Moderated by Emily Raboteau. 

7:00pm    Aliens of Extraordinary Talent
(LMHQ, 150 Broadway, 20th Floor, New York; Free)

Three acclaimed novelists—Horacio Castellanos Moya, Israel Centeno, and Yaghoub Yadali (pictured)—do short readings from the novels causing their exile and discuss the impact of exile on their writing. Moderated by novelist Akhil Sharma. Presented by City of Asylum.

Published Sep 14, 2016   Copyright 2016 The Editors of Words Without Borders

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