And like last year, I’m overwhelmed by the sessions I want to attend. I’ve more than procrastinated, and now I’m scrambling to figure out what will take priority. Last year, my favorite parts were the fiction open mic where Steve Almond gave quick feedback to aspiring writers who read aloud in front of the group, and Joyce Carol Oates’ keynote that closed out the day.
Here’s what I’m thinking for this year’s Boston Book Fest:
A river? A prison? Money? Jennifer Egan says time’s a goon in her Pulitzer Prize-winning A Visit From the Goon Squad. Our times seem particularly trying, what with economic and political turmoil and major transformations to the very way we define ourselves. Egan’s novel, Peter Mountford‘s debut A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism, and Lawrence Douglas‘s The Vices take in the recent past as well as the near future, and span Europe, the US, and South America as they reflect on our world. Moderated by Henriette Lazaridis Power, editor of The Drum.
It’s your turn behind the microphone in this flash-fiction recording session. There’s no need to sign up ahead of time–just take a number when you arrive, and be ready to step up to the mic and read your very, very short story out loud for an eager audience. The Drum, an audio literary magazine, will be recording each story, choosing the best ones for publication in the magazine. Each piece must be no longer than three minutes, so rehearse! Emceed by Henriette Lazaridis Power, editor of The Drum.
Authors whose spellbinding stories take place in New England read from their work. Holly LeCraw‘s searing debut novel, The Swimming Pool, is an intimate portrait of a family drama. British-born author James MacManus‘s beautifully crafted debut novel The Languages of the Sea brings Celtic myth to New England waters. Dawn Tripp, in her assured third novel Game of Secrets, weaves a tale of murder, romance, and family secrets in a small New England town. Hosted by Michelle Hoover, whose latest novel is The Quickening.
Two talented debut authors and one local favorite read from their new works of fiction. The inimitable Steve Almond, author of My Life in Heavy Metal and Candyfreak, called “strangely endearing” by Publishers Weekly, will read from his latest, a short story collection titled God Bless America. Laura Harrington will read from Alice Bliss, her heartbreaking debut novel about a teenage girl whose father is deployed to Iraq. Michael Klein will read from Something for Nothing, his amusingly trenchant debut novel about the trials of a small town economics professor. Hosted by novelist and TV host Kim McLarin.
Other interesting sessions at the Book Fest…
Memoir: Writing a Life: Hear from four memoirists whose styles range from poignant to hilarious.
One City, One Story: This year’s story is Richard Russo’s “The Whore’s Child,” which I read on the train one morning on the way to work. A great story, but unfortunately this overlaps with the local talent readings, so I’ll have to miss it.
What are your favorite sessions at book fests? Will I see you there tomorrow?
Check out the Boston Book Festival 2011 entire schedule.