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WNYC's Picks for the Brooklyn Book Festival

Friday, September 16, 2011

More than 260 authors and panelists will be in downtown Brooklyn on Sunday for the sixth annual Brooklyn Book Festival. Panels are devoted to a wide range of topics during the day-long free fest. Everything from food politics to the Arab Spring to mystery writing to Mad Libs will be on the table. ( Leading up to the festival, you can also check out these bookend events.) Here are some of WNYC's festival picks:

"Laugh Your Head Off" at Youth Stoop at Borough Hall Plaza/Columbus Park Did someone say Mad Libs? That's what Jon Scieszka (Spaceheadz), Libba Bray (Beauty Queens), Paul Acampora (Rachel Spinelli Punched Me in the Face) and Tommy Greenwald (Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading) will be working on during this early morning event. The audience is invited to participate. Moderated by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich. At 10 A.M.

"Arab Spring and the Seasons Ahead" at the St. Francis Volpe Library at 180 Remsen St. Libyan novelist Hisham Matar (Anatomy of a Disappearance), Egyptian writer Yasmine El Rashidi (The Battle for Egypt), Egyptian-Jewish memoirist and Wall Street Journal reporter Lucette Lagnado (The Arrogant Years) and Iraqi-American writer Sinan Antoon (The Baghdad Blues) will be talking about all things Arab Spring, which will surely make for some interesting discussion. Moderated by Adam Shatz, editor for the London Review of Books. At 11 A.M.

"The New India" at the Borough Hall Community Room at 209 Joralemon St. Bharati Mukherjee (Miss New India), Amitava Kumar (A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb) and Siddhartha Deb (The Beautiful and the Damned: A Portrait of the New India) talk about tradition clashing with modernization in India. Moderated by Jonah Straus. At 11 A.M.

"Food From All Sides" at North Stage at Borough Hall Plaza/Columbus Park Annia Ciezadlo (Day of Honey), Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan (Tiger In the Kitchen) and Tracie McMillan (The American Way of Eating: Undercover on the Front Lines of Our Nation’s Meals) talk food politics. At 12 P.M.

Brooklyn writer Colson Whitehead"Extreme Weather, Scarce Resources and Climate Change" at the Borough Hall Courtroom at 209 Joralemon St. If you've got climate change on the brain, get some information from Christian Parenti (Tropic of Chaos), Mark Hertsgaard (Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth) and Anna Lappé (Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do About It). Moderated by Betsy Reed. At 12 P.M., tickets required.

"Apocalypse Now, and Then What?" at the Borough Hall Courtroom at 209 Joralemon St. Colson Whitehead (Zone One; pictured at ledt), Tananarive Due (My Soul to Take) and Patrick Somerville (The Universe in Miniature in Miniature) talk about writing about the end of the world. Moderated by (aptly) Paul Morris of BOMB Magazine. At 1 P.M., tickets required.

"From Wisconsin With Love" at the St. Francis Volpe Library at 180 Remsen St. Steven Greenhouse (The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker) moderates this panel about unions, the left and workers' struggles in recent decades. The panelists are Clarence Taylor (Reds at the Blackboard: Communism, Civil Rights and the NYC Teachers Union), William Adler (The Man Who Never Died: The Life, Times, and Legacy of Joe Hill, American Labor Icon) and Brian Purnell (Black Power at Work: Community Control,Affirmative Action, and the Construction Industry). At 1 P.M.

"Worlds of Personal" at the St. Francis Auditorium at 180 Remsen St. We're not sure what exactly ties these three writers together but we know one thing: they're all good. A Q&A follows readings by Jonathan Safran Foer (Eating Animals, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close), Joyce Carol Oates (A Widow’s Story, Sourland) and Nina Revoyr (Wingshooter). Moderated by Brigid Hughes of A Public Space. At 2 P.M., tickets required.

Brooklyn novelist Jhumpa Lahiri"Brooklyn Book Festival Honors Jhumpa Lahiri" at St. Ann and the Holy Trinity Church at 157 Montague St. Borough President Marty Markowitz gives Brooklyn's own Jhumpa Lahiri (Interpreter of Maladies, The Namesake) the Best of Brooklyn, Inc. award for creating work that speaks to the spirit of the borough. Afterward, Lahiri (pictured right), who won a Pulitzer in 2000, talks with book critic Liesl Schillinger. At 2 P.M.

"You Say You Want a Revolution?" at the St. Francis Volpe Library at 180 Remsen St. Mark Yarm (Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge), Marisa Meltzer (Girl Power: The Nineties Revolution in Music) and Marcus Reeves (Somebody Scream: Rap Music’s Rise to Prominence in the Aftershock of Black Power) talk punk, hip hop and riot grrrls. Bring it! Moderated by Will Hermes (You Say YouWant a Revolution). At 2 P.M.

"Politically Incorrect Parenting" at St. Francis Screening Room at 180 Remsen St. Adam Mansbach (Go the F**k to Sleep), Ta-Nehisi Coates (The Beautiful Struggle) and Alice Bradley (Let’s Panic About Babies) talk about how to put the kids to bed. Need we say more? Moderated by Jennifer Senior (“All Joy No Fun:Why Parents Hate Parenting.”) At 2 P.M.

"Comics Writ Large and Small" at the St. Francis Auditorium at 180 Remsen St. If comics are your thing, check out this panel: writers Craig Thompson (Habibi), Anders Nilsen (Big Questions) and Adrian Tomine (Optic Nerve) talk about storytelling through comics. Moderated by Meg Lemke. At 3 P.M., tickets required.

"Obama and the Popular Imagination" at the Main Stage at Borough Hall Plaza This panel is guaranteed to generate conversation, whether you like our president or not. Jodi Kantor, who is writing the forthcoming The Obamas, Touré (Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness?) and author and activist Marc Lamont Hill discuss the meaning of a man of color being elected president, and how the Obama family participates in culture and pop culture. Moderated by Ben Smith of Politico. At 4 P.M. 

Fran Lebowitz"Defining the Moment: USA 2011: Where are We?" at St. Ann and the Holy Trinity Church at 157 Montague St. New York writers Deborah Eisenberg, Fran Lebowitz (pictured at left) and Wally Shawn unpack where we are, what this moment is and why we feel so much anxiety around this moment. Then, they have a look at why that anxiety is not well understood. Don't forget to bring your notebooks and thinking caps for this one! Moderated by Harold Augenbraum of the National Book Foundation. At 4 P.M.

"The Center for Fiction Presents Criminal Intent" at the Borough Hall Courtroom at 209 Joralemon St. Who doesn't love a good mystery? Lawrence Block (A Drop of the Hard Stuff), Susan Isaacs (As Husbands Go), Persia Walker (Black Orchid Blues) and Peter Blauner (Slipping into Darkness) discuss how to write one and they are so much fun to read. Moderated by Jonathan Santlofer (Anatomy of Fear). At 5 P.M., tickets required.

"New Works: A Poetry Reading" at the Brooklyn Historical Society Library at 128 Pierrepont St. During this reading, poets will read from recently published works: Albert Mobilio (Touch Wood), Aimee Nezhukumatathil (Lucky Fish) and Matthew Rohrer (Destroyer and Preserver). Introduced by Joseph O. Legaspi of Kundiman. At 5 P.M.

"The Sacred and the Profane: A Modern Pilgrim's Progress" at St. Francis Auditorium at 180 Remsen St. During this panel, authors Darcey Steinke (Easter Everywhere), Michael Muhammad Knight (The Taqwacores), and Peter Bebergal (Too Much to Dream) talk about unusual approaches to faith. Moderated by Meera Subramanian, editor of Killing the Buddha. At 5 P.M. 

"Moving Pictures" at St. Francis Screening Room at 180 Remsen St. If film's your thing, stop by the screening room to hear J. Hoberman (Army of Phantoms), Jason Zinoman (Shock Value) and Roberta Seret (World Affairs in Foreign Films) talk movies and how they help us understand ourselves. Moderated by film critic and the founder of Light Industry, Ed Halter.

***When tickets are required, they can be picked up one hour before the scheduled program at festival information booths at Borough Hall Plaza. Check out the full schedule of events here.

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