BBF 2017 kicks off TONIGHT, 10/26, with Lit Crawl Boston, presented by Boston’s Literary District, and continues tomorrow, 10/27, with The Book Revue, a free author variety show featuring poetry, monologues, live music, and even a surprise or two. But the big event takes place Saturday, 10/28, in Copley Square and at indoor locations around Back Bay. This year’s BBF theme is “Where We Find Ourselves”—we encourage you to consider what this theme means for you, our city, and our culture as you explore the many choices for fun and thoughtful programs at this year’s BBF. And read on for some essential tips to help you make the most of your day at the BBF!
It’s all free. This year every single session, workshop, and event at the BBF is free, and no tickets or preregistration are available for any session. If you’ve been using Sched’s interactive planning and scheduling tools on our website, that’s great, but that’s all they are—convenient planning tools for you, not registration or a guarantee of admission from us. Admission and seating at all our events is first-come, first-served, so we recommend you arrive early for sessions that are especially important to you! Need help navigating our online schedule? Visit this brief tutorial.
Plan ahead if you plan to drive. This year, we’re partnering with ParkWhiz to help BBF attendees find and book the best deals on parking near the festival. You do need to book parking in advance in order to take advantage of the ParkWhiz deals, however, so take a few minutes and have one less thing to worry about as you head into the city.
Heck, plan ahead if you plan to take the T, too. Again this weekend, the MBTA is using shuttle bus replacements on the red line from Cambridge, so allow extra time if you’re coming across the river!
Bring a tote bag (or buy one from us!). Thanks to our partner booksellers, book sales and signings follow all of our sessions, so bring a bag (or buy a new one at our merch booth!) to stock up on new finds (not to mention goodies from our 75+ exhibitors on Copley Square!).
Love the BBF? Help keep it free to all. If you love the BBF, help support it! The BBF is run by an independent nonprofit, and we rely on donations from individuals to help keep the festival thriving and free to all. Donations in any amount are appreciated, but membership benefits start at $50; more substantial donations of $500+ can get you priority seating, party invitations, and more! You can contribute to the BBF online anytime or at the membership table at the big BBF tent on the day of the festival. Thank you for your support!
Most importantly? Have fun! We hope you enjoy this free celebration of books and literary culture. We’ve certainly had fun putting it together for you. Tag us on Twitter and Instagram and use the hashtag #BBF2017—we can’t wait to see how you spend your day!
The theme for this year’s Boston Book Festival is “Where We Find Ourselves.” The theme speaks in part to our political moment, to how we arrived at this strange and often disconcerting place in history and what we can collectively and individually do next. Sessions like “Politics” with Maureen Dowd and Jared Yates Sexton, “Geopolitics” with Graham Allison, Meghan O’Sullivan, and Nick Burns, and “Racism in America” with Carol Anderson, Chris Hayes, and James Forman Jr. address these questions directly, while sessions like M. T. Anderson’s YA Keynote and and “#LookItUP: Knowledge Matters” with Brian Halley, Marilynn Johnson, and Tom Nichols explore them more implicitly.
Ideas of travel, migration, and home also surface throughout our sessions, featuring works of both fiction and nonfiction, as authors explore the literal places we reside in or journey through. “This Is the Place” explores women’s writings about home, while “Arrivals and Departures” features Adam Gopnik and Kristen Radtke’s memoirs about inhabiting, and traveling through, unfamiliar places. In “Strangers in a Strange Land,” three fiction writers—Jonny Sun, Lisa Ko, and Hala Alyan—probe questions of migration and rootlessness. And in “Voices of America,” writers Ha Jin and Grace Talusan as well as publisher Ilan Stavans examine how writers address the immigrant experience.
Of course, in addition to these and other thematically linked sessions, we have dozens of other eclectic events and activities designed to appeal to all sorts of readers. Sessions on food, suspense novels, and the Beatles, as well as plenty of programs for teens and younger readers, remind us that there’s nothing wrong with finding a little fun in our reading, too. We have more BBF Unbound and Reading Like a Writer sessions than ever before (including one on poetry), and we’re pleased to be hosting a full slate of readings in fiction, memoir, and essays at the BPL’s new Newsfeed Café—a great spot for book clubs to grab a cup of coffee and a bite to eat while getting inspiration for their reading choices in the coming year.
We’re pleased to partner with Boston’s first-in-the-nation Literary District, which is presenting its second annual Lit Crawl in Back Bay on the Thursday before the BBF. You’ll find the full schedule of their Lit Crawl events on our website as well—it’s the perfect way to kick off the BBF festivities!
This year every single event at the BBF—including Lit Crawl—is absolutely free, and tickets are not required to attend any session. If you’re still familiarizing yourself with our new interactive schedule, you might want to refer to this tutorial blog post from last year. Our mobile app will soon be updated for 2017 as well. Enjoy getting to know our schedule and planning your BBF day—in the meantime, we’ll be busy behind the scenes getting ready to welcome nearly 250 authors—and you!—to Copley Square in just a few short weeks. For all of us who find ourselves through books and literature, it’s sure to be a memorable weekend.