Sunny skies and more than 130 authors and presenters greeted 25,000 festival-goers on Saturday, October 16, 2010, for a day of presentations, writing workshops, interactive kids’ events, a street festival with more than 60 exhibitors, and a live music stage. In the afternoon, close to 4000 seats were filled each hour as people flocked to hear presentations and discussions by world-renowned authors and thinkers.
Some of the most popular sessions of the day included Dennis Lehane and Tom Perrotta discussing the adaptations of their books into films; Bill Bryson and Tony Hiss talking about mindfulness at home and away; “Good Idea!,” where David Edwards, Neri Oxman, Steven Johnson, and Atul Gawande wowed everyone with ideas ranging from whiffable chocolate to simple checklists to buildings that breathe, and “The Economy,” where Joseph Stiglitz, Michael Porter, and Juliet Schor debated what went wrong and how to fix it.
Standing room only crowds were also eager to hear authors discuss everything from ancient history to sports writing. And while many sessions were entertaining enough to elicit belly laughs, the poignant stories told by Marianne Leone, Nick Flynn, and Jerald Walker at the Memoir panel moved some festival-goers to tears.
The future was on everyone’s minds at BBF 2010, and sessions such as “The Tendencies of Technology,” “Internet or Not,” and “The Novel: A Prognosis” asked where we are, where we have been, and where we are going when it comes to books, writing, and technology. Luminaries like Nicholas Negroponte, David Shields, and Nicholas Carr attempted answers.
The culmination of our very first One City One Story project drew several hundred people who were eager to discuss “The Smile on Happy Chang’s Face” with author Tom Perrotta.
Joyce Carol Oates delivered the Keynote, first reading an unsettling story from her new collection Sourland and then engaging in a contentious and at times unintentionally hilarious conversation with moderator Faith Salie.
We added many more sessions for kids in 2010, including a Kids’ Keynote presented by Jeff Kinney, the bestselling author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Jeff delighted his eager young audience with a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Greg Heffley’s beloved diary as well as some sneak peeks at the much-anticipated Diary of a Wimpy Kid #5.
We ended the day with a literary rock star revue where the ebullient Steve Almond hosted the most writerly group of rockers we’ve ever seen. People went home exhausted but happy from BBF 2010.
Audio is not available for the following sessions:
Building Books: Host: Deborah Davidson
Fun with Fancy Nancy: Robin Preiss Glasser, Jane O’Connor, Host: Maija Meadows
Guided Open Mic: Host: Steve Almond
Hidden Treasures: How Much Is It Worth? Boston Antiquarian Book Fair
History, Mystery & Art: Elyssa East, Erica Hirshler, Da Zheng, Host: Megan Marshall
Keynote: Joyce Carol Oates, Host: Faith Salie (Video)
Kids’ Keynote: Jeff Kinney (Video)
Poetry of Our Times: Elizabeth Alexander, Edward Hirsch, Ellen Doré Watson, Host: Lloyd Schwartz
Spoken Word: FreeVerse!
StoryPlace: Timothy Basil Ering, Rose Lewis, Brian Lies, Scott Magoon, Rob Scotton
Writer Idol: Host: Chris Castellani