Are you still up in the air about your weekend plans? Think you’ll just end up reading a book before you go out looking for a Halloween party to crash (this is the only time of the year you get to wear that Pennywise/Lizzie Borden/Scantily-clad Salt Shaker costume without arising suspicion and unwanted attention)?
While reading a good book is a great option, if you’re looking to get out this weekend on the cheap, head over to Boston’s Copley Square on Saturday, October 27 for the 4th Annual Boston Book Fest and enjoy a full day of literary celebrities geeky out on a whole list of topics, from how to write a great short story to the almighty power of the brain and its evolution.
You know what, if you have plans, cancel them. This day-long event is worth it. Besides the long roster of well-known and high-respected speakers, including Keynote Speaker Richard Ford (Independence Day, Canada), there are over 45 planned events and workshops, so you’re definitely going to find something to pique your interest and will probably be the best part of your day (besides making out at the party with the guy in the Ron Swanson costume, just because his mustache is so devilishly handsome).
With over 3 dozen options at this year’s BBF, your friends at Junkyard Arts thought we’d give you the heads up on a few events you might see us at this weekend.
Friday, October 26th
From Page to Screen
7:30 pm – Old South Church, 645 Boylston Street – This is one of two ticketed events at the festival.*
Ever watched a movie adaption of a book and think “This is nothing like the book! How the hell did that happen?” Well, here’s your chance to talk with authors whose films have made the transition from paper to celluloid and find out on what the process is like. While they’re not going to be screening the films at the discussion, there will be clips shown to illustrate points and start dialogues with the panel of writers, including:
Buzz Bissinger – Friday Night Lights
Rachel Cohn – Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
Andre Dubus III– The House of Sand & Fog
Nick Flynn – Being Flynn (adapted from Another Bullshit Night in Suck City
Daniel Handler – A Series of Unfortunate Events
Saturday, October 27th
One City One Story: The Lobster Mafia Story
12:45 pm –Hotel Hancock, Boston Common
This is the third year BBF organizers have picked a short story to flood the streets of Boston with in an effort to encourage open discussion not just about the story, but literature itself and its role in society. “The Lobster Mafia Story” is a quick read by Anna Solomon about a woman from a community that will seem like home to a lot of New England residents and the quick moments that have a long-lasting impact on her life.
The concept has been around since the late 90s: organizers pick one book or story they feel will spark interest and provide free, paperback copies throughout the city. Now, with the power of technology, the story and message can reach even larger audiences.
Once you read Solomon’s story (which you can download to your computer or reading tablet for free), join in a discussion with the author and festival organizers about Marcella, Emma, and what it takes to inspire a city to read.
The Brain: Thinking about Thinking
2:30 pm – Trinity Sanctuary, 206 Claredon Street
There is going to be a Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist and a world-acclaimed inventor/futurist in the same room together discussing the brain, memory, and the rapid progress of artificial intelligence. It’s like a no-holds barred match-up at TED Talk to decide who’s got the bigger brain when it comes to brains! Seriously, this conversation between Eric Kandel (The Age of Insight) and Ray Kurzweil (How to Create a Mind) sounds brilliant, in a very nerdy kind-of-way. Check out Kurzweil speaking about the singularity.
BFF Unbound: Books Behind Bars
4 pm- Boston Public Library
What do you do when you’re out of options and all you have left is time? This panel, made up of formerly incarcerated men and advocates for literacy programs in the nation’s prisons, discusses the positive effect reading has had on those whose lives have led them behind bars. Personally, I’m looking forward to this because reading and education are huge weapons in the fight against crime, poverty, and ignorance and I’m excited to learn about any noticeable improvements in the lives of those most affected.
Fiction: Time and Place
4:15 pm – Old South Sanctuary, 645 Boylston Street
Boston’s own Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone) will be one of the panelists discussing one of the most fundamental elements of writing: setting. The ability to capture both the time and place of the events surrounding their story is one of those things that can keep authors up late at night in doubt. This is just one of several tutorial discussions and workshops BBF has set-up throughout the day centered on the craft of writing.
Future of Reading
4:15 pm –Rabb Lecture Hall, Boston Public Library
For more than five years, pretty much any conversation about the publishing industry and books in general – from the kitchen to national television – has always ending being a debate over how people are reading books today and what that means for the business of writing in general. Early on this was a scary conversation with many people calling the rise of the Internet and the iPad the doom of reading as we know it. Now, as publishers continue to develop new ways to embrace the technological revolution and more companies begin to manufacture new reading tablets, things aren’t as scarier and now the conversation can turn to what reading will look like in the future. For anyone who has ever worried that their precious hardcover books will became artifacts rarer than vinyl records, this panel discussion is for you.
Poems and Pints
5 pm – Cuffs at the Back Bay Hotel, 350 Stuart Street
There are plenty of events meant for children at this year’s BBF. This isn’t one of them. After a long day of geeky out with other bibliophiles, it’s time to claim your reward: pints of beer while listening to Irish-American poets recite from their works. I’m a big fan of writing conferences and book festivals ending on a boozy note, and hearing Nick Flynn and Aidan Rooney read seems like an appropriate send off for the 4th Annual Boston Book Festival. Just don’t show up in your Pennywise Halloween costume. Wait until after you leave to change.