Boston Book Festival Highlights

Caitlin Muchow ‘18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Every year all of Boston’s book lovers get together to celebrate the value of reading at the Boston Book Festival, which was held at Copley Square from October twenty-third to the twenty-fourth. They had many great (and mostly free!) speakers come and events planned for this year.

There were only two ticketed keynotes at the festival, which cost ten dollars each. The weekend began with the Kickoff Keynote by Margaret Atwood, an award winning author popular for her poetry and novels such as The Handmaid’s Tale and her latest work The Heart Goes Last, and Kelly Link, another award winning author of short stories of somewhat elusive genres surrounding fantasy and horror such as “Magic for Beginners” and “The Specialist’s Hat”. Their keynote was on Friday the twenty-third at 7:30 pm.

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The other ticketed keynote was on Saturday with Neil Gaiman, #1 New York Times bestselling author of books like Coraline, American Gods, and his newest collections of shorter works entitled Trigger Warning, and his wife-singer-songwriter Amanda Palmer, author of The Art of Asking. In this memoir keynote Amanda shares thoughts from this newest book. Tickets sold out quickly for this event.

Saturday was jam packed with amazing speakers and free events. Speakers included authors from M. T. Anderson, Massachusetts bred author of the Young Adult series The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, to Robin Chase, former CEO of Zipcar and author of her new book Peers Inc. There were many other speakers that weren’t even authors but journalists, professors, librarians, booksellers, and agents, etc. The discussions ranged from serious topics such as “New Threats in the Modern Age: Terrorism, Violence, Surveillance” to “Star Wars and D&D: Flights of Fancy or Serious Buisness?”, and many, many more.

There were also many other kinds of events as well, such as children and teen events, music events, and writing talks. For children and teens there were be several talks by children’s and YA authors, a character tent (featuring characters such as Paddington and Mouse from If you Give a Mouse a Cookie), and craft events. There were also be several talks by writers about subjects like reading like a writer and how to get your writing to stand out online. The Berklee Stage also featured several bands and singers including many local bands such as RIP, a soul band, mar|o, a pop duo, and several others.

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BBF also has an annual event called “One City One Story” in which they print and distribute one story free of charge at many bookstores, libraries, etc. and online to anyone who wants to take part, in order to facilitate a city wide discussion. According to the Boston Book Fest website the purpose of this is to “celebrate the power of words, to promote a culture of literature and ideas, and to enhance the vibrancy of the city of Boston”. This year’s story is “Home Movie” by Jennifer De Leon about a Guatemalan husband and wife living in Boston with their children, covering topics such as immigration home, and memory. There are many places holding discussions about it around the city.

Boston Book Festival weekend is a time to celebrate love of reading and the power of words, and this year’s event did not disappoint.

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