BBF 2018: Team BBF’s Most Anticipated Sessions

The BBF schedule released earlier this week, and if you’re having a hard time narrowing down your choices from the 100+ separate events taking place in Copley Square on October 13, we’re here to help! We asked the BBF team which sessions they’re most excited about this year, and here’s what they said!

Deborah Z Porter:
Well, this is a little like being forced to say which is your favorite child, but I am very excited about the kickoff keynote with Michael Pollan, because he’s just great. On Leadership brings together three such amazing people who know each other well, and I am eager to hear the insights they’ve gleaned from being in power and studying leaders.  And, I am looking forward to Not Just a Game.  While I am not a big sports fan, I am very interested in how athletes are showing leadership around social justice issues.  Can I cheat and add one more?  Authoritarianism–what a great lineup and important topic.

Norah Piehl:
In reality, most of us spend festival day dashing from one place to another, but every year I like to choose one venue where I imagine spending the whole day if I could! This year it’s a new venue for us–Cascieri Hall at the Boston Architectural College–which is featuring three sessions on topics of special interest to me. Graphic novelist Jason Lutes is starting the day with a presentation of his landmark historical graphic novel Berlin, decades in the making (and let’s just say, even if it’s historical, it’s pretty darn relevant now). He’ll be followed by Ryan North, writer of many smart and hilarious things (including my personal favorite, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl), who will be here to talk about his new book How to Invent Everything. And after that is what promises to be a fascinating session on Urbanism, including the issue of walkability, which is a passion of mine. Someone save me a seat in this venue, because if I have a chance, I’ll be swinging through!

Owen Elphick:
I am particularly excited by Rage Against the Screen: Gathering IRL and BBF Unbound: Twitter Ate My Brain, because I am absolutely fascinated with the way human interaction and our ability to connect with one another has been affected by social media and the Internet, and the effect this technology has on our behavior, how it affects us at a neurological level. I am specifically curious about what this means for the future of books, and the role they serve as (for the most part) one of the only major forms of media we do not consume from our phone or other screens. Bullets into Bells: Poetry and Music also has me very interested, as I have been asking myself a good deal lately how I, in my own art, can and should respond to tragedy, particularly the violent tragedy that is all too common in this country. The Martín Espada poem for which the session is named was a balm for me in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, which happened in my home state of Connecticut and deeply affected me; and I would love to see how this poem, and the art and writing of others, is being brought to the Boston Book Festival to speak to today’s situation, and to show the way forward.

Katie Montgomery:
I can’t wait for the Youth Activism event at the BBF. Thankfully, I won’t have to wait much longer as the festival is only 2 weeks away! America’s youth are no longer waiting until they are allowed to vote to make a difference. The younger generations have made their voices be heard just as these panelists will on October 13. This powerhouse panel includes Jenn Abelson, Eric David Dawson, Melissa Falkowski, Amanda Matos, Alexandra Styron, and DiDi Delgado all discussing important social issues, like sexual assault, gun violence, and inequality. Each panelist is actively engaged in making social change in America and creating a better, safer, more inclusive, and peaceful future. These influential panelists will be discussing how to take steps to turn anger into  action, transform the norms, and speak against injustices. Though titled “Youth Activism,” this panel is for everyone ready to make changes in our society. Be there. Listen. Be heard.

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Join Us to Give the King K-8 School Some Shelf Help!

It’s back to school season, and this year, we’re pleased to help make school time (even) more fun and rewarding for the students at the Martin Luther King, Jr. K-8 School in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood. Following  a competitive application process, the Boston Book Festival, along with participating publishers, is donating brand-new books to the King K-8 library as part of this year’s Shelf Help partnership. We’re also teaming up with Wondermore to bring award-winning author Meg Medina to the King for a school visit the day before her public BBF appearance on October 13.

We’re off to a great start, but there are still a lot of shelves to fill, and that’s where you come in! We’re asking friends and fans of the BBF to join us in donating books and funds to stock the shelves at the King’s library. Focusing primarily on a diverse collection of award-winning books, the King’s online wish list will make hundreds of young readers very happy.

Here are some ways you can get involved:

  • Peruse the King’s wish list online and donate a book directly to the school library (click the blue “Donate Now” button and then choose “Donate books.”
  • Contribute funds directly to the Shelf Help project by visiting the donations page and selecting a dollar amount. Or stop by the merchandise booth at BBF 2018 on October 13 and donate on-site!
  • Spread the word about the King School’s library and Shelf Help by sharing this post on social media, using the hashtag #ShelfHelp and tagging @bostonbookfest and @MLKK8School!

Thanks so much for your help–together we’re bringing the love of reading to a new generation of Boston kids!


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