Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Do you have an idea for a session you would like to curate at the Boston Book Festival on October 19, 2013 as part of our "BBF Unbound" series? We are looking for outside groups/individuals who can introduce fresh voices and new ideas to the BBF. Be creative! The one-hour session can involve a debate, demo, workshop, literary improv, dramatic readings, panel discussion, literary games, etc. We are not looking for product promotions, plugs for businesses, or sessions featuring a single author publicizing his or her book.
In 2012, participants presented two highly successful BBF Unbound sessions--one on the impact of books in prison and one on writing by veterans--and this year we're hoping to expand the program to have sessions all day long.
You will be responsible for running your session, i.e., gathering participants, beginning and ending on time, and covering any expenses (beyond room rental and basic A/V). We will publicize your session on our website and in our Program Guide, and we will ask you to publicize it as well.
We will evaluate proposals based on:
1. Will the content appeal to the BBF audience?
2. Does the content offer something different from standard BBF fare?
3. Is the individual/group offering a plausible plan for implementing the session?
In your proposal, please tell us:
Who You Are (your name, name of organization [if applicable], your bio, your or your org's website):
Title of Proposed Session:
Description of Session (150 words max):
Implementation Plan (400 words max, including answers to the following questions: If there are expenses associated, how will you fund your session? How will you guarantee your proposed participants' involvement? How will you communicate your plans and needs to BBF staff? Through what channels will you publicize your session?):
Deadline for Application: July 15
Notification: August 15
Submit all materials (including samples of previous work, if applicable), to:
Norah Piehl, Deputy Director
Boston Book Festival
1100 Massachusetts Ave., Suite 300B
Cambridge, MA 02138
Monday, May 13, 2013
We are excited that two of the most creative and inspiring people working in the literary arts today will be joining the Lounge Lit line-up. Neil Gaiman and Chip Kidd Discuss Make Good Art will be held at A.R.T.'s Oberon on Wednesday, June 5 at 6:30. Neil Gaiman--author of popular novels such as American Gods, Stardust, Coraline, and The Sandman--has a truly prolific output including screenplays, children's fiction, and graphic novels in addition to his highly acclaimed fiction. Chip Kidd is renowned as a jacket cover designer and author (he also designed the first ever BBF commemorative poster!).
Make Good Art, originally a commencement speech by Gaiman, has been turned into an intricately designed book under Kidd's artistic eye. This intimate evening with two exceptional artists will give special insight into their creative processes and provide nuggets of wisdom for artists at all stages. For the full details and to purchase tickets, visit the event page here.
Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Boston's Independent Film Festival features the best independent films on an international level. Curated for a cultured and curious audience, the festival combines the best of national and international films-bridging gaps in the film industry and showcasing a wide array of cinematic creations. During this weeklong event, IFF Boston will be screening animations, short films, documentaries, and narrative features. The festival also provides the unique opportunity to engage with the filmmakers following screenings. Visit the IFF Boston website for a complete schedule with locations and to purchase tickets and all-access passes to this year's festival.
Once again, Boston Book Festival is proud to be a screening sponsor at IFF Boston 2013. Be sure to check out the following BBF-sponsored titles!
Nicholas Wrathall's Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia
Location: Brattle Theatre
Featuring one-on-one interviews with the late Gore Vidal, The United States of Amnesia is an intriguing documentary and tribute to the controversial American writer. Additional intimate interviews of Vidal's friends and family along with footage from his on-air career provide insight into his life as a top critic and thinker. The documentary will also be screened at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival.
Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing
Location: Somerville Theatre
Based on Shakespeare's play of the same name, Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival and has since been making its way through the film circuit, with its US premiere at the 2013 South by Southwest Film Festival. The film has been praised for its humorous and emotionally resonant adaptation of a Shakespearean classic. The theatrical release is scheduled for June 2013.
Monday, March 18, 2013
At BBF 2012, Prison Book Program was pleased to design, develop, and deliver a panel discussion on the impact of books in prison. As one of the two "BBF Unbound" sessions at BBF 2012, our panel entitled Books Behind Bars was a riveting, standing room-only event. By bringing together panelists from various backgrounds, each with different experiences related to the impact of books and reading upon prisoners--two former inmates, a judge, and two individuals who run reading programs for incarcerated people--we had a lively discussion which included a number of questions from the audience. It was one of the highlights of our 2012 calendar.
Prison Book Program's latest project is a city-wide Book Drive taking place on Saturday April 13. Are your bookshelves bursting at the seams? Do you have books you'd like to donate to a good cause? The Prison Book Program and the City Mission Society are joining forces for the sixth time to make it easier than ever for gently used books to benefit others by presenting The Great American Book DriveTM.
So bring us your books! On April 13, we'll be taking over The NonProfit Center (89 South Street, Boston - one block from South Station) as our book drive hub. Help spread the word about this event to family and friends with our handy fliers, or by sending an email, or share the info on Facebook. Many individuals and organizations perform "pre-drives" gathering up books in advance at offices, community locations, churches and temples and then deliver the books on April 13. We even have a book drive kit available to help you promote your drive.
Full details are available at: http://www.prisonbookprogram.org/bookdrive/
Thursday, March 07, 2013
It's back! The BBF's series of after-work literary outings returns for its second season this spring. There's something for everyone, whether your tastes run toward literary ephemera, gritty memoirs, or just plain tasty food. Each event will feature one of your favorite WBUR hosts, and all proceeds go to support the Boston Book Festival. Reserve your seats for these events today--or snap up our Lounge Lit package to save money on all three!
Old School Comfort Food with Alex Guarnaschelli: Thursday, April 11, 6pm-8pm
Trident Booksellers & Café, 338 Newbury Street, Boston
Food Network favorite, executive chef, and newly-crowned Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli is publishing her first cookbook, Old School Comfort Food: The Way I Learned to Cook. Join Alex for a fun evening of cooking demonstrations, family stories, and a glimpse at her 100 time-tested recipes that you can make in your own home. What's the worst thing Alex has ever tasted on Chopped? How does she handle the pressure in Kitchen Stadium? Find out the answers to these questions-and get her tips on how to build your own culinary confidence-at this lively Lounge Lit event. Tickets include free samples of the yummy food from Alex's book!
A Conversation with Damien Echols and Shaka Senghor: Thursday, May 16, 6pm-8pm
MIT Media Lab, 75 Amherst St., Cambridge
Time spent in prison has prompted some of the most profound and insightful writing we know, from Don Quixote to Civil Disobedience. Damien Echols-whose nearly twenty years spent in prison as part of the wrongfully-accused "West Memphis Three" was the subject of the documentary West of Memphis-has written a memoir of injustice, compassion, and redemption in Life after Death, which Eddie Vedder has called "a stunning piece of work." He'll be joined in conversation with Shaka Senghor, an MIT Media Lab Director's Fellow, motivational speaker, and youth mentor whose inspirational memoir of his time in and after prison is entitled Writing My Wrongs. Discover the transformative, restorative power of writing in this frank and wide-ranging conversation. This event is co-sponsored with the MIT Media Lab as part of their "Conversations" series. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Prison Book Program. Tickets include a drink ticket and light refreshments.
The Revenge of Literary Team Trivia: Monday, June 17, 6pm-8pm
Tommy Doyle's, One Kendall Square, Cambridge
Last summer's literary pub trivia was hugely popular, wicked hard, and tremendously fun. Have you spent the last several months since then brushing up on your Brontë and studying your Steinbeck? Here's your chance to show off! Meghna Chakrabarti of WBUR's Radio Boston returns as trivia jockey. She'll be handing out prizes (donated by WBUR, BBF, and our partners) for the teams with the top three scores--and there will even be a special prize for the best team name! So get creative, start studying, and join us for even more literary trivia and tidbits-now with 50% more poetry!
Hope to see you at one or more of these Lounge Lit events this spring!
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
The BBF recently hired three new interns to assist in planning the 2013 festival. Our interns play pivotal roles in organizing the BBF, so of course we want you all to be familiar with our new team! This year all three interns hail from Boston schools and are studying subjects driven by literature-a perfect fit for the BBF!
Becca is a third-year student in the honors program at Emerson College pursuing a BFA in writing, literature, & publishing. Her involvement with the festival began two years ago as a volunteer, and her interest has continued since. Becca is writing a thesis as a collection of flash fiction pieces and plans to pursue her MFA shortly after she graduates from Emerson. Her interests currently lie in book design and book crafts. At Emerson, she is the managing editor for Stork Magazine, a biannual literature magazine that strictly publishes fiction. Along with her position at the BBF, she is also an intern for Rose Metal Press. Her favorite (living) authors are Zadie Smith, Don DeLillo, Jonathan Franzen, and Junot Diaz.
Nadine is also a student at Emerson, a first-year graduate student in the publishing and writing master's program. Her hope after graduation is just to get a job, but specifically to work as an acquisitions editor at a genre fiction publisher. She is a proofreader for Redivider and an office assistant in the Emerson College Office of Graduate Admissions. She is new to Boston, and therefore to the festival, because she spent the last four years getting her undergraduate degree in English and economics in Morris, Minnesota. Her favorite authors are Terry Pratchett and Ian Sansom, and her favorite book is Good Omens, with a whole list of others coming in as close seconds.
Amelia is a senior completing a degree in English and philosophy at Boston College. She has volunteered with the BBF for the past three years and is excited to participate in a fuller capacity in the fifth annual festival. At BC she works as a publishing assistant in the undergraduate sociology department, and she has served as an editorial assistant for Voices, an undergraduate sociological publication, and for Professor Sharlene Hesse-Biber as she prepared her most recent book for publication. As a lifelong lover of books, Amelia aims to enter the publishing and editorial industry after graduation. Her favorite contemporary authors are Ian McEwan, Sherman Alexie, Tim O'Brien, and Jan Brett, though she also loves the plays she is reading in her class on Shakespeare.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Whether you're looking for a great book as a gift for someone on your list or as a companion for the long, cold nights of winter ahead, the BBF team has compiled a list of some of the best books we read this year. We hope our favorites will become yours, too!
Thinking about my favorite recent reads, I realize that many of the most memorable works I've enjoyed over the last couple years have been memoirs. In addition to memoirs by great BBF presenters like Nick Flynn and Carlos Eire, there were the excellent Hare with the Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal, Wild by Cheryl Strayed, and The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch. The best memoirs succeed, as these do, in turning personal history into art. In addition to the ones mentioned above, two other notables are:
One Day I Will Write About This Place by Binyavanga Wainaina
The blurb by Colum McCann on the cover is correct--this is a portrait of the artist as a young Kenyan. Told in dazzling, impressionistic language, it describes the author's childhood as a middle-class Kenyan who is exquisitely aware of every experience, conversation, sensation. Although the path is far from linear, this bookish, sensitive child and young man becomes a writer. In the process of telling his story, Wainaina paints a dynamic portrait of east and south Africa, with its mutivariate cultures, languages, and tribal affiliations.
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Lives Other Than My Own by Emmanuel Carrere
Emmanuel Carrere describes himself as having been constantly dissatisfied in his life and "laying waste to my loved ones because I always imagine that one day, somewhere else, I'll find something better." That is, until the day he and his girlfriend, along with their respective sons, experience the tsumami in Sri Lanka. Safe on the high ground of their hotel they are untouched by the giant wave, but not so a couple to whom they have become close who lose their four-year-old daughter. The tsumani changes Carrere irrevocably. When he returns home to Paris he confronts another, more personal tragedy--the death from cancer of his girlfriend's sister. Carrere choses to write about the sister, whom he barely knew, and the people close to her as a kind of tribute to love, courage and commitment--values he suddenly esteems above all others. Lives Other Than My Own does not lend itself to easy classification as it is not truly a memoir, but rather nonfiction in which the author plays a part. It is a thought-provoking meditation on the things that matter most.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
I'm usually skeptical of YA novels about terminal illness, which often veer toward the maudlin. But I knew that if anyone could pull off a heartbreaking and nevertheless down-to-earth novel about teens with cancer, it would be the masterful John Green. Just like the protagonist Hazel, I fell in love with the inimitable Augustus Waters, whose quirky and optimistic spirit saves the day despite looming tragedy. Green's novel abounds with moments of grace and truth, as well as unexpected humor and unabashed romanticism: "I fell in love the way you fall asleep; slowly, then all at once." I admit I sobbed at the end of this book, but the heartache is evoked by emotional honesty, not emotional manipulation.
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Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time by Jeff Speck
Speck--a co-author of the landmark book Suburban Nation--convincingly and inspiringly makes the case that improving a city's pedestrian experience dramatically enhances overall quality of life, not to mention affords a bounty of associated environmental and economic benefits. Speck points out the folly of many recent (and expensive) city planning decisions and makes even the most seemingly mundane topics--from the width of traffic lanes to the timing of crosswalk signals to the distribution of street trees--both fascinating to consider and critical to address. Most importantly, Speck offers readers whose cities are far from walkable an arsenal of ideas and arguments to make the case for walkability. You'll never view your neighborhood the same way again.
Gold by Chris Cleave
Feeling nostalgic for the Olympics? Relive all the drama (and then some) with this nailbiter set in the elite world of competitive cycling. Set amid the British trials for the Olympic track cycling team, Cleave's novel offers suspenseful sports writing at its best, while simultaneously considering the nature of friendship, sacrifice, and genuine strength and courage.
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
I spend a fair amount of time reading aloud, so I'm always grateful for children's books that make me laugh. This is bound to become a bedtime favorite--a simple tale of a bear looking for his hat in a forest full of animals (some more honest than others).
Bright Brave Phenomena by Amanda Nadelberg
Nadelberg's poetry is like a good song lyric--modern, fidgety, and a bit whimsical. She may not be as accessible as Billy Collins, but something about her writing strikes a familiar chord, while offering an entirely fresh, and indeed bright, perspective.
The Beginners by Rebecca Wolff
This mysterious coming-of-age story follows two teenage girls as they latch onto the newest (and weirdest) residents of their sleepy, creepy New England town. Wolff's first novel recalls vividly the innocence and fragility of adolescence, as well as the darkness and confusion that muddy the boundaries of age, and in this case, time and reality.
Netherland by Joseph O'Neill
A truly moving book that continuously surprised me in the way O'Neill conveys ideas, emotions, and truths so that they seem at once familiar and revelatory.
Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead
Excellent in the detail of personality, class, and culture. You wince at the characters' bad behavior but you ache for things to turn out all right for them.
The Keep by Jennifer Egan
Egan plays with various conventions of the novel form--the sensation novel, the prison novel, the Victorian sprawler--while creating a narrative that is contemporary and compelling. It's fascinating to watch her push the form, as if she's trying to see what more it can be capable of.
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
I started 2012 off by picking this book up on the first day of the year. Bel Canto has been one of my favorite books for a long time, so I was looking forward to reading another Patchett novel. State of Wonder is gorgeous and Patchett's writing is as beautiful as the tropical rainforest in which the story takes place. It's a slow read, and occasionally gets bogged down in a bit of science, but by the end Patchett creates a world so foreign and beautiful it's hard to put the book down and return to reality.
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
I can't believe this is my first Murakami novel, but I've been convinced to read more after this. They way Murakami explores the (literal) depths of the human mind and human consciousness is astounding. It's hilarious, powerful, and easily one of the strangest books I've ever read.
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
I love novels with intersecting narratives, and McCann's Let the Great World Spin does just that as he explores several lives in 1973 New York City. Not all of the narratives are equally effective, but the finished product is a powerful collection of ordinary lives tied together by extraordinary events.
One Drop: My Father's Hidden Life by Bliss Broyard
My nonfiction workshop at Emerson College has been reading this book all semester and it's a fascinating study of nonfiction, the history of race relations in the United States, and personal identity. Broyard, daughter of the late NY Times writer Anatole Broyard, learns after her father's death that he, and her family, are actually part Creole. The book dives deep into United States history, Anatole's family and personal history, and, ultimately, explores questions of personal, professional, and racial identity on both an individual and societal level. Bliss weaves the personal memoir and her research effortlessly, creating a captivating read.
When Women Were Birds: Fifty-Four Variations of Voice by Terry Tempest Williams
After discovering that all of the journals her mother left Williams were blank, Williams dissects voice and what it means to be a woman with multiple identities, each with its own particular voice. This book reads like poetry, detailing nature, the environment, and emotions with powerful language. William's prose and reflections allows readers to evaluate their sense of voice and personal identity.
House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday
In this novel, Abel, a young Native American man, leaves his reservation and ancestral homelands to serve in World War II, jail, and a string of jobs in Los Angeles. What he learns about himself, his ties to nature and his homeland, and his Native American identity, is the foundation of Momaday's book. Momaday weaves various viewpoints with beautiful, poetic prose to create a view of Abel and his world that has been affected and shaped by history and adversity.
If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino
Calvino manages to use the second person voice masterfully, weaving you, the reader, in and out of stories of different styles and genres. This novel is a beautiful postmodern reflection on the experience of reading.
The Passion According to D.H. by Clarice Lispector
A wealthy Brazilian woman has a mystical crisis that involves a cockroach and a mental breakdown. This story is both maddening and enlightening.
"What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" by Raymond Carver
A short story from a collection under the same title. I think this story is a brilliantly written and thoughtful, though negative, view on love. I plan to read the entire collection of stories very soon.
Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Readers' tastes are very personal, but here's one thing book lovers everywhere can agree on: BBF merchandise makes great gifts! We've just re-launched our store, chock-full of gifts for readers of all ages, including this year's popular t-shirts, tote bags, and commemorative poster. Our literary pins make great stocking stuffers! Do all your shopping in one place, but do it quickly--orders must be received by December 19 to ensure Christmas delivery! Keep the BBF with you all through the year, with great gifts from our store!
Sunday, October 28, 2012
While you're still basking in the glow of a terrific day at BBF 2012 (and maybe figuring out which new book to read first), we're already looking ahead to next year. Help us make our 5th BBF the best yet--take our survey, and if you give us your e-mail address, you'll be entered to win a new iPad! Winners will be announced on our website on Nov. 10! Thanks to everyone who attended BBF 2012!
Thursday, October 25, 2012
It's almost here . . . a full day jam-packed with presentations, discussions, writing seminars, activities, live music, fantastic food, and so much more! Excited yet? We sure are!
With nearly four dozen sessions and almost 150 world-class presenters, BBF 2012 is bound to satisfy, but we have a few tips to help you make even more of the day.
Plan ahead. Check out our schedule grid online (it'll also be on a massive banner in Copley Square), plan your personal schedule for the day, and plan to arrive early for the sessions that are most important to you-admission for everything except pre-registered seminars and the keynote is on a first come-first served basis, and even our biggest venues fill up!
Buy your tickets today. Richard Ford's keynote is an entirely ticketed event. Tickets are just $10 and are available online until 9am on Friday, October 26-after that they'll be available at our merchandise booths in Copley Square and at Old South Church while supplies last. Buy why take your chances? Order advance tix while you still can.
Print your tickets. If you do purchase advance tickets to the keynote, be sure to print your e-tickets at home before heading out for the day!
T it, drive it, park it. Copley Square is just steps from the Copley T stop on the green line or a short walk from the Back Bay orange line/commuter rail station. Or, if you plan to drive, take advantage of the terrific parking deal from our friends at LAZ parking--just make sure to print your voucher before leaving home!
Dress for the weather. The BBF has dozens of great activities, indoors and out, but we all know that New England autumn is unpredictable at best. Check the weather forecast and pack accordingly-it sounds like Hurricane Sandy will hold off until next week, but the BBF proceeds, whatever the weather!
Visit our booksellers. Book signings follow every session, thanks to our friends at Harvard Book Store, Brookline Booksmith, Porter Square Books, Trident Booksellers, and Wellesley Booksmith! Their sales tables will be open in our venues all day--stop by, say hi, and buy a book or two!
Stop by the BBF Pavilion. The hub of Saturday's action will be the BBF Pavilion, located right in front of Trinity Church on Copley Square Plaza. It's the location of the main BBF info table, as well as all our cool new merchandise (you'll love this year's umbrellas, totebags, and commemorative posters!). Plus, our presenting partner 90.9 WBUR will be there, as well as the Brookline Booksmith.
Take our survey. Let us know what you think of the BBF! You can take our survey on paper or on your smartphone on-site, or online after the festival. No matter what medium you choose, if you give us your e-mail when you complete your survey, you'll have a chance to win a new iPad!
And most importantly, have fun! You'll be in the company of thousands of other book lovers at New England's largest literary event. Relax, take it all in, and enjoy this opportunity to mix and mingle with folks who love books and reading just as much as you do!