Many thanks to the scores of writers and readers who dropped by the PEN booth at the Brooklyn Book Festival. In addition to the wonderful writers listed below, we had unexpected visits from George Saunders and Jonathan Lethem. Mo Willems, left, enthusiastically hawked our wares and entertained the crowd; Mary Gaitskill and Jonathan Lethem, right, chatted with each other as well as our many visitors; and Mohammed Naseehu Ali, center, brought his beautiful family along. (Click on the photos to enlarge.)
Garth Riske Hallberg nicely captures the general atmosphere.
Among the many other "vendors" at the festival were our friends at CLMP (the Council for Literary Magazines and Presses). Together with the Virginia Quarterly Review, they've recently made available this interesting discussion about the commercial challenges facing literary fiction, featuring Jonathan Burnham, Morgan Entrekin, Jonathan Galassi, and Sonny Mehta, and moderated by Sarah Nelson.
Speaking of VQR, their next issue looks terrific. It's a special issue, "dedicated to the topic of South America in the 21st century," and includes contributions from Daniel Alarcon and the late Roberto Bolaño among other luminaries.
If you're free on Wednesday evening, in New York, and interested in children's literature, don't miss "Dreadful Lies, Peculiar Truths," "a PEN Children’s Book panel discussion featuring Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Susan Kuklin, Robert Lipsyte, and Vera B. Williams."
This panel of prize-winning authors will explore the quandary in which many children’s book writers often find themselves: how do we respect the boundaries, and imaginations, of our young audiences when writing about harrowing topics? How do we portray difficult circumstances without foisting an adult point of view on our readers? Come to this free discussion of these issues and more.