To celebrate the Brooklyn Book Festival (which is taking place this weekend), PEN is hosting a Literary Pub Quiz tomorrow at St. Ann’s Warehouse, 38 Water Street in Dumbo, Brooklyn, from 7 to 9.
PEN American Center is pleased to announce the return of our popular Literary Pub Quiz! This Brooklyn Book Festival Bookend event gives you the chance to compete with (and against!) editors and writers from your favorite literary magazines, including Cabinet, Gigantic, Harper’s, and Electric Literature, as well as writers Matthea Harvey, Ben Greenman, and many more. Come early to reserve your spot on the team with the writer-captain who also knows where Hemingway was born. We’ll supply the paper and the pencils; you bring the literary smarts!
Team captains include Gabe Boylan of Harper’s, George Prochnik of Cabinet Magazine, James Yeh of Gigantic Magazine, Scott Lindenbaum and Andy Hunter of Electric Literature, translator Susan Bernofsky, Ben Greenman, Matthea Harvey, Amy Sohn, and more; hosted by Katie Halper.
This is free, open to the public, and should be a lot of fun . . .
The Brooklyn Book Festival took place this past Saturday, and as always, I wish I could’ve been there. I was able to attend a few years back, and was really impressed by how many people were out browsing the stands, attending panels and readings, and generally getting excited about books. And from what I’ve heard the festival has grown every year since.
As covered in The Mantle, this year’s BKBF included a “Reading the World” panel featuring some of my favorite publishers and translators including Karen Emmerich, Susan Bernofsky, Ugly Duckling, and Zephyr. Here’s a clip from Shaun Randol’s write-up:
Great stuff all around, an excellently curated panel. Every single one of the works presented is worth purchasing (skip the library and give these people some money!). (Note to participants: correct me if you see a mistake! There were no Cliffs Notes for what we were listening to on stage.) Karen Emmerich (representing Team Archipelago) read the poetry and prose from the Greek writer Miltos Sachtouris, skipping us across Aegean waters from Greek isles to ancient Greece. And then . . . Ms. Emmerich read an outstanding piece of poetry on the life of plant, by the poet/author Helenē Vakalo. The Mantle audience pleads for an answer—what is this poem and where can we find it? This vegetative poetic genius!?!? Ms. Emmerich, if you are reading this, please put the information in the comments section below!
Next up, Susan Bernofksy (Team New Directions), reading from German author Jenny Erpenbeck’s Visitation. I have nothing written down in my notebook here. This is what happens when the story is too absorbing—you neglect your reporter duties. A complete blank because my eyes were closed and I just listened to the pitter-patter of her voice as she conveyed one of a dozen stories taking place in a single house over generations in what must be an exceptionally intricate novel penned by Erpenbeck. The house is/was real (it belonged to Erpenbeck’s family), so how much of the story is as well? Ahhhh . . . German intrigue . . .
Sounds like a fun panel—one of many that took place. Ah well. Next year . . . There’s always next year . . .
Aside from bringing some attention to this fair/panel, it’s worth spending some time looking around The Mantle. Embarrassed to say that this is the first time I’ve come across the site, which is dedicated to providing “a forum for the next generation of leaders to be heard—a space for opinions that are different from those found in traditional, established outlets.” It’s an interesting publication, with a very international focus, and an intriguing book review section. Definitely worth checking out.
He claims his mouth is open because he’s pitching a book, which is proof that he works when he goes to NYC. Should we believe him?
The Brooklyn Book Festival is on Sunday, and has a host of interesting events scheduled. (I’d include the link, but the website doesn’t allow it.)
One that I’m definitely going to attend is “Brooklyn Bridges to Europe,” 3pm on Sunday at St. Francis College (180 Remsen St.):
Brooklyn authors Jonathan Lethem and Jonathan Safran Foer, in conversation with their French and German publishers, explore the appeal of their work to European audiences. Presented with The Cultural Services of the French Embassy, the French-American Foundation and the German Book Office in New York. Moderated by literary critic Liesl Schillinger.
This is part of the “Editors Exchange Program in New York” that the German Book Office, Cultural Services of the French Embassy, and French-American Foundation are putting on.
In addition to the BBF event, there’s a panel on “Promoting Literature in Translation Online” Monday at 11am and an “Editors’ ‘Buzz’ Panel” on Monday at 5. Both of these events will take place at the Deutsches Haus NYU (42 Washington Mews, off University Place).
Both events should be pretty interesting. I’ll be on the Translations Online panel with people from Words Without Borders, In Translation, PEN America, and elsewhere, and the Buzz panel will give editors from L’Olivier, Editions Allia, Harcourt, DuMont, Wylie Agency (?!), P.O.L., Houghton-Mifflin, and Tropen Verlag a chance to discuss their latest publications or books in progress.
At 30, the Mexican writer Valeria Luiselli is already gathering her rosebuds. Faces in the Crowd, her poised debut novel, was published by Coffee House Press, along with her Brodsky-infused essay collection, Sidewalks. The essays stand as a theoretical map. . .
Fantomas Versus the Multinational Vampires: An Attainable Utopia (narrated by Julio Cortázar) is, not disappointingly, as wild a book as its title suggests. It is a half-novella half-graphic novel story about . . . what, exactly? A European tribunal, Latin. . .
Marie NDiaye has created a tiny, psychological masterpiece with her Self-Portrait in Green. In it she explores how our private fears and insecurities can distort what we believe to be real and can cause us to sabotage our intimate relationships.. . .
Reading a genre book—whether fantasy, science fiction, crime, thriller, etc.—which begins to seem excessively, stereotypically bad, I have to make sure to ask myself: is this parodying the flaws of the genre? Usually, this questioning takes its time coming. In. . .
The Sicilian Mafia has always been a rich subject for sensational crime fiction. The Godfather, Goodfellas, and The Sopranos worked the mob’s bloody corpses and family feuds to both entertainment and artistic value. Giuseppe di Piazza’s debut novel attempts this,. . .
Antoine Volodine’s vast project (40 plus novels) of what he calls the post-exotic remains mostly untranslated, so for many of us, understanding it remains touched with mystery, whispers from those “who know,” and guesswork. That’s not to say that, were. . .
It hasn’t quite neared the pitch of the waiting-in-line-at-midnight Harry Potter days, but in small bookstores and reading circles of New York City, an aura has attended the novelist Elena Ferrante and her works. One part curiosity (Who is she?),. . .