You can finally back off the edge of your seats: The Boston Book Fest recently announced the lineup for its second annual bibliophile’s paradise, taking place in and around Copley Square on October 16.
The Festival has incorporated a wide range of authors and other media experts as panelists and moderators into its 2010 program. Alongside journalists, comedians, architects, designers, actors, and television and radio hosts are over 130 world-renowned writers of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Here are some highlights of celebrated writers in each main book category:
If you haven’t yet read Dennis Lehane’s books, you’ve probably at least seen one of the movies based on them: “Mystic River”; “Gone, Baby, Gone”; or more recently, “Shutter Island.” The Dorchester native also penned “Prayers for Rain,” “Sacred,” “The Given Day,” and “A Drink Before the War” (winner of the Shamus Award for Best First Novel), among others. To top it all off, Lehane recently edited and contributed to the hub-centric short story collection “Boston Noir.”
Not only does Kelly Link write short fiction about, as The New Stateman put it, “pirates and wizards, undead babysitters and dueling librarians,” she also runs Small Beer Press and Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet. She lives in Northampton and has one short story collection, “Magic for Beginners,” available for free downloading in case you want to read it now to prepare for meeting her in October. Her other collections are “Stranger Things Happen” and “Pretty Monsters.”
Brunonia Barry worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood for nearly a decade, but returned to Massachusetts (who wouldn’t?) and opened Smart Games, a puzzle company, with her husband. Her self-published novel, “The Lace Reader,” created a media sensation that sparked a bidding war, landing her a $2 million book deal. Her second novel, “The Map of True Places,” was published in May.
Non-Fiction and Memoir
Atul Gawande, author of New York Times bestseller,”The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right,” is a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. He’s also a staff writer for the New Yorker, which recently published, “Letting Go,” his look at the current state of end-of-life care inAmerica. In 2006, he received the MacArthur Fellowship (you know, the “genius prize”) for his practical improvements to surgical practices.
Nick Flynn is an accomplished poet, but he is probably best known for “Another Bullshit Night in Suck City,” a Boston-based memoir about homelessness which won the PEN/Martha Albrand Award. His new memoir, “The Ticking is the Bomb,” was released in early 2010. Flynn has also been a ship’s captain, an electrician, and a caseworker with homeless adults.
Da Zheng received his Ph.D. in English from Boston University after immigrating from Shanghai 1986. He currently serves as an Associate English Professor at Suffolk University. Zheng’s cultural biography, “Chiang Yee: The Silent Traveler from the East,” explores the life and work of the Chinese immigrant who wrote and illustrated travel books about the West from an outsider’s perspective.
Bryson’s Web site brags that he is “is the UK’s biggest selling non-fiction author since official records began.” Born in Iowa, Bryson spent the majority of his life living and writing in the United Kingdom (apart from a brief stint in New Hampshire in the 90s). He has written 17 books on travel, the English language, and science, including “The Lost Continent” and “A Short History of Nearly Everything,” which won the Aventis Prize for Science Books as well as the Descartes Science Communication Prize. They’re awards justly won: Who besides Bryson (and Mel Brooks) can tackle the history of the world with such awesome wit?
Edward Hirsch credits Emily Bronte for his love of poetry. He holds a Ph.D. in folklore from the University of Pennsylvania. His books and essays have received a slew of awards, including the Lavan Younger Poets Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the William Riley Parker Prize from the Modern Language Association, among others. Hirsch is a poetry columnist for the Washington Post Book World and president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
A poet with work in The Threepenny Review, The New Republic, and Slate, among others, Jill McDonough is an adjunct English professor who teaches creative writing to incarcerated college students through Boston University’s Prison Education Program. Her first full-length book of poetry, “Habeas Corpus,” was published in 2008.
Publisher’s Weekly has stated that, “In just ten years since his debut, Young has become a leading poet of his generation.” Kevin Young has published six books of poetry, including March 2010’s “The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief and Healing.” He is a professor of creative writing and English and curator of Literary Collections and the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library at Emory University.
All of the Above
Joyce Carol Oates is one of the most celebrated fiction writers of our time. She’s written novels for adults, young adults, and children; short stories; poetry; drama; essays and non-fiction; and has edited nearly 20 anthologies on various subjects, including H.P. Lovecraft, mother-daughter fiction, and cats. Her latest award is the Fernanda Pivano Award for American Literature, but that doesn’t even scratch the surface of her achievements. She’s lived in New York, Wisconsin, Michigan (she calls Detroit her “great subject”), and New Jersey, and it’s up to us to give her a warm welcome in Boston.
In addition, the panelists and moderators for the day’s events include some familiar names in the publishing and media worlds, including Helene Atwan, the director of Beacon Press; Peter Kadzis, Executive Editor at the “Boston Phoenix”; Tom Ashbrook, journalist and host of National Public Radio and WBUR’s “On Point”; Alan Dershowitz, Harvard University law professor, writer, and winner of the William O. Douglas First Amendment Award for his human rights advocacy; and Faith Salie, radio host (or, you might remember her as Sarina Douglas on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine). The events schedule and specific locations will be announced after Labor Day.
A full list of attending authors and media experts, with bios, is available here.