Special to the Sun
Boston Book Festival founder Deborah Z Porter and the Board of Directors announced that after two years of virtual programming, the 14th annual the Boston Book Festival (BBF) returns to Copley Square on Saturday, Oct. 29 with a full-day of free events.
Among the 250 presenters are keynote presenters: best-selling trauma researcher Bessel van der Kolk, M.D., who will deliver the Non-Fiction keynote; MacArthur Foundation Fellow and novelist Yiyun Li, Fiction; National Book Award-winner Malinda Lo, Young Adult (YA); New York Times best-selling author Tui T. Sutherland, Kids; and, Patrick Radden Keefe, an award-winning staff writer at The New Yorker, who will deliver the Friday night address on Oct. 28.
“I am excited to be gathering in real life with fellow book lovers after a difficult, even surreal, two years. This year’s festival has a slightly smaller footprint than our last live event in 2019, but we are still welcoming nearly 250 presenters to our venues in the Boston Public Library, Old South Church, Church of the Covenant and Boston Architectural College, as well as the Goethe Institut,” said Porter, BBF founder and executive director.
“As always, we have authors from every genre: literary ﬁction, mystery, romance, sci-ﬁ, lots of YA, and nonﬁction categories like memoir and public affairs, not to mention plenty of middle grade and picture book offerings for kids,” Porter said. “Add to that a street fair with exhibitors, food trucks, live music and activities for kids, and it really promises to be an amazing day!”
The initial lineup with authors and their most recent books is listed below by genre.
Presenters in Non-Fiction are: Wajahat Ali, “Go Back Where You Came From: and Other Helpful Recommendations on How to Become American”; Dr. Deborah Birx, “Silent Invasion: The Untold Story of the Trump Administration, Covid-19, and Preventing the Next Pandemic Before It’s Too Late”; Howard Bryant, “Rickey: The Life and Legend of an American Original”; New York Times best-selling author Rabia Chaudry, “Fatty Fatty Boom Boom: A Memoir of Food, Fat, and Family”; Ross Gay, “Inciting Joy: Essays”; Juliette Kayyem, “The Devil Never Sleeps: Learning to Live in an Age of Disasters”; New York Times best-selling author Patrick Radden Keefe, “Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks”; Cambridge resident and former US Poet Laurate Robert Pinsky, “Jersey Breaks: Becoming an American Poet”; Wolf Prize recipient Moshe Safdie, “If Walls Could Speak: My Life in Architecture”; Katherine Stewart, “The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism”; Boston University professor Bessel van der Kolk, M.D., “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma”.
In Fiction, the announced presenters are: Steve Almond, “All the Secrets of the World”; Jabari Asim, “Yonder”; Jennifer Haigh, “Mercy Street”; Gish Jen, “Thank You, Mr. Nixon: Stories”; Marie Myung-Ok Lee, “The Evening Hero,” MacArthur Fellowship recipient Yiyun Li, “The Book of Goose”; Sarah MacLean, “Heartbreaker: A Hell’s Belles Novel”; New York Times best-selling author and Boston resident Ben Mezrich, “The Midnight Ride” (his ﬁrst novel); Tochi Onyebuchi, “Goliath”; New York Times
best-selling author Rory Power, “In a Garden Burning Gold”; and, Kate Spencer, “In a New York Minute”.
Presenters announced for in the Young Adult category are: New York Times best-selling author Kristin Cashore, “Seasparrow” (Graceling Realm Series No. 5); New York Times best-selling author Tiffany D. Jackson, “The Weight of Blood”; Elizabeth Lim, “The Dragon’s Promise”; National Book Award-winner Malinda Lo, “A Scatter of Light”; and, Tucker Shaw, “When You Call My Name”.
The presenters announced for Young Readers are: New York Times best-selling author and Caldecott honoree Peter Brown, “The Wild Robot”; Caldecott Medal recipient and Newbery honoree Jason Chin, “The Universe in You”; New York Times best-selling author Bryan Collier, “Music is a Rainbow,” a Caldecott honoree and a Coretta Scott King Book Award winner; Ekua Holmes, “Hope Is an Arrow: The Story of Lebanese-American Poet Khalil Gibran,” illustrator of the BBF commemorative poster and recipient of a Coretta Scott King Book Award; Traci Sorrell, “Powwow Day”; New York Times best-selling author Tui T. Sutherland, “The Flames of Hope” (Wings of Fire, No. 15); and, New York Times best-selling author Raúl the Third, “Team Up: El Toro and Friends”.
Brown’s “The Wild Robot” is the 2022 recipient of the Massachusetts Children’s Book Award (MCBA) in voting by students in grades four to six from communities throughout the state.
“Books have the ability to inspire us, move us to tears, make us laugh, and even change the trajectory of our lives. Yet reading is inherently a solitary act. That’s why it’s so necessary to gather together as a community of readers, which is what we’ll do again in person at the Boston Book Festival this year,” said BBF Deputy Director Jessica A. Kent. “We’ll have a chance to connect with other readers, to meet our favorite writers, hear how our favorite stories were created, discover new authors to read, and ﬁnd others who have been inspired or moved by the same books as we have. It’s a chance to turn to the person sitting next to you and say, ‘You have to read this book!’”
The full lineup and event times will be released in the coming weeks.
This year’s Festival comes on the heels of two successful in-person events: the Greater Roxbury Book Fair and Writers Fest, which was held as a stand-alone event this year, and Lit Crawl, an evening of author and literary happenings held in Kendall and Central squares in Cambridge.
The Shelf Help author school visits will take place on Friday, Oct. 28. The BBF’s Shelf Help partnership is a competitive grant program that provides two Greater Boston area school libraries. BBF and its partner the Boston-based nonproﬁt literacy organization Wondermore previously announced that UP Academy Holland in Dorchester and Malden High School are the 2022 recipients of this year’s Shelf Help grants, which will include an infusion of new books and author visits by “Frizzy” author Claribel A. Ortega and illustrator Rose Bousamra, and Malinda Lo, author of “A Scatter of Light.”
The Festival’s venues are: Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St., Boston MA 02116; Old South Church in Boston, 645 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02116; Church of the Covenant, 67 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02116; Goethe-Institut German Cultural Center for New England, 170 Beacon St., Boston, MA 02116; Boston Architectural College, 320 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02115; and, Room & Board Boston, 375 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02115.
For more information: https://bostonbookfest.org
Founded in 2009 by Deborah Z Porter, the Boston Book Festival (BBF) is an independent nonproﬁt that presents an annual free eponymous book festival and other literary- and author-focused events throughout the year. The BBF aims to “celebrate the power of words
to stimulate, agitate, unite, delight, and inspire…and promotes a culture of reading and ideas that enhances the vibrancy of our city.” The Festival is traditionally held each October and draws tens of thousands of attendees to Boston’s Back Bay for speaker presentations in the Boston Public Library and other locations in Copley Square. The annual book celebration combines a street festival with an array of free events with authors and other literary presenters from around the world.