As you’ve probably experienced from past Boston Book Festivals, the sheer number of sessions is like a literary feast set out for hungry readers (the last in-person Festival we hosted had over 150 sessions!). But you’ve also probably felt that panic of “What do I choose?” when you open up that two-page multi-colored spread of sessions in the program guide. (I know I have!)
Because that schedule can be a bit daunting, even in a virtual year, we’re here to help you find the sessions you want to attend so you can see a favorite author, learn something new, think about the world around you in different ways, or discover some new reads for your TBR pile. And because the majority of our sessions will be virtual this year, you don’t need to worry about sprinting down Boylston Street or Washington Street to get to the next session (being sure to grab a grilled cheese on the way). Let’s get started!
Sessions for Writers for 2021
The Boston Book Festival doesn’t just cater to readers and fans of authors and books, but wants to train and inspire the writers creating those books, too. Each year we host a series of sessions for writers to help better understand the craft or the business of writing. This year, writers can examine the role of climate change in fiction (BBF Unbound: A Warming World and Your WIP: Facing Up to the Climate Emergency in Your Fiction), prepare to apply to MFA programs (Under the Hood: A Look at What’s in a Low-Residency MFA Program), learn the path to self-publishing (Self-Publishing Your Children’s Book), discuss craft and audience with other Black writers (Who We Are Writing For: Black Authors Discuss Craft and Audience), or simply hear other writers read their flash fiction (Boston in 100 Words Awards Ceremony).
Here’s your guide to our sessions for writers.
Boston in 100 Words Awards Ceremony
Saturday, October 16 at 6:00pm | In Person/Virtual
This session is for writers interested in…: Hearing flash fiction writers read their work in person at Trident (or virtually).
What you’ll find in this session: Boston in 100 Words will be announcing the winners of their second annual flash contest that highlights everyday writers crafting stories about the neighborhoods they live in. Hear about the local and global initiative, and meet the winners.
What you’ll take away from it: A night out (or in) hearing inspired, well-crafted, insightful short stories about the city we love.
Session is hosted by Boston in 100 Words.
Under the Hood: A Look at What’s in a Low-Residency MFA Program
Danielle Legros Georges, Heather Hughes, and Janet Pocorobba
Sunday, October 17 at 2:00pm | Virtual
This session is for writers interested in…: Pursuing an MFA and who want to know more about what to look for in a program.
What you’ll find in this session: Lesley University program director Danielle Legros Georges, associate director Janet Pocorobba, and MFA alum Heather Hughes will answer all your questions about what attending a low-resident MFA program is like, the work required, what to look for in a program, and more.
What you’ll take away from it: Knowledge and insight to make the right decision for the future of your writing career.
BBF Unbound: A Warming World and Your WIP: Facing Up to the Climate Emergency in Your Fiction
Julie Carrick Dalton and Erica Ferencik
Monday, October 18 at 12:30pm | In Person
This session is for writers interested in…: Investigating climate change in their fiction—or who know they’ll have to someday soon—in an outdoors session at the waterfront.
What you’ll find in this session: Held on the Seaport’s waterfront, authors Julie Carrick Dalton and Erica Ferencik will lead a discussion of how climate change is represented in fiction, how fiction writers should approach climate change in their writing, and writing prompts for further story creation.
What you’ll take away from it: Further your awareness of craft by learning how to tackle new themes, and how to use them in future work.
Session is presented in partnership with GrubStreet and ICA Boston.
Who We Are Writing For: Black Authors Discuss Craft and Audience
Tatiana Johnson-Boria and Simeon Marsalis, with host James Bennett II
Thursday, October 21 at 5:30pm | Virtual
This session is for writers interested in…: Discussions around how to craft stories and narratives for certain audiences.
What you’ll find in this session: Authors Tatiana Johnson-Boria and Simeon Marsalis will have a craft talk on how Black writers can approach their work and their audiences. They’ll be in conversation with GBH News Arts & Culture reporter James Bennett II.
What you’ll take away from it: A better understanding of the Black literary community.
Delanda Coleman, Valerie Foxx, and Candelaria Silva, with host Cagen Luse
Friday, October 22 at 3:00pm | Virtual (prerecorded)
This session is for writers interested in…: Learning the ins and outs of how to self-publish a children’s book.
What you’ll find in this session: Three self-published children’s authors—Delanda Coleman, Valerie Foxx, and Candelaria Silva—will share their journey from story idea to story writing to how to successful take the self-publishing journey. They’ll be in conversation with co-founder of Comics in Color Cagen Luse, whose son Coleman will join to tell about how he’s self-publishing his own comic book.
What you’ll take away from it: Both the knowledge and the confidence on how to self-publish the children’s book that you’ve always wanted to write and send out into the world.
I hope this guide has helped you get a glimpse into the vast array of writers and what they’re working on who will join us for the 2021 Boston Book Festival. Head to the main schedule to browse all sessions and for registration links, and we’ll see you there!