Library of America put together a wall-to-wall schedule for our third appearance at the Brooklyn Book Festival on Sunday, September 22nd. At 12:30, we welcomed Kate Bolick, Jenny Zhang, and Carmen Maria Machado—three of the four authors of LOA’s new book March Sisters: On Life, Death, and Little Women, released for the 150th anniversary of the publication of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel of girlhood and growing up—to the Library of America booth for a signing. More than three dozen fans met the authors (who gamely persevered under a broiling sun) and went home with a signed copy, safely tucked away in a matching March Sisters tote bag, which was given free with every purchase at the booth.
At 2:00, as part of the Festival’s observance of the bicentennial of Brooklyn’s own favorite son, historian Brenda Wineapple joined us to sign copies of Walt Whitman Speaks, a compact edition of Whitman’s late-in-life reflections on a wide range of topics which Wineapple and Library of America editor James Gibbons culled from a nine-volume scholarly edition of Traubel’s unabridged transcripts.
Finally, at 4:00, the action moved up to the Festival’s North Stage, where Andrew Blauner, editor of Library of America’s forthcoming anthology The Peanuts Papers: Writers and Cartoonists on Charlie Brown, Snoopy & the Gang, and the Meaning of Life, moderated a conversation with contributors Kevin Powell, Nicole Rudick, and David L. Ulin about the extraordinary legacy of Charles M. Schulz’s inimitable creation as it approaches its seventieth anniversary year. Brooklyn independent bookstore Books Are Magic, which was on hand to sell special advance copies of the book (it officially goes on sale on October 22), sold out at the event.
Throughout the day, our booth was a popular stopping place for festival-goers, both longtime LOA readers and supporters and a great many new friends who took the time to learn about our unique nonprofit mission. Everyone who stopped by was encouraged to sign up for our e-mail newsletter and be entered to win a Library of America boxed set of their choosing.
We also distributed stacks of bookmarks and postcards promoting LOA membership, The Peanuts Papers, and the forthcoming anthology African American Poetry: 250 years of Struggle and Song, centerpiece of our major public humanities initiative for 2020, “Lift Every Voice: Why African American Poetry Matters.”
All in all the day was a great success, thanks in large measure to the generosity of our guest authors and the hard work of LOA staff. Honorable mention to Office Manager Hilma Rosa, who came by to take some promotional photos wearing her custom made Charlie Brown shirt (see below).
Heartfelt thanks to everyone who came out in the heat—and we look forward to doing it all over again next year.