WRITTEN BY SHANTEL RISHER

Yesterday, September 21, the eighth annual Brooklyn Book Festival took over the Heights, with hundreds of people in attendance, a long list of international and local authors presenting their work, as well as the SFC Literary Prize Finalist Panel.

SFC’s own Professor Jennifer Wingate of the International Cultural Studies department presented her novel Sculpting Doughboys: Memory, Gender, and Taste in America’s World War I Memorial.

Wingate told SFC Today that she hopes she will be able to give an insight behind the art of World War I memorials in America and the way it molded people’s lives.

Wingate stated, “I’m really interested in art that serves a specific function.”

Wingate’s novel introduces readers to the significance of World War I memorials and the meanings that have been lost in today’s world. Wingate added a soldier statuette next to her works that also sits in her office as a sign of anti-radical vigilance and patriotism.

Sculpting Doughboys, according to Wingate, is “a way of bringing the past back to life.”

The plaza in front of Borough Hall was lined with kiosks sponsored by various bookstores, such as Greenlight of Ft. Greene and Community Bookstore of Park Slope, as well as the Brooklyn Museum, and other non-profit organizations.

SFC Today reporter Shantel Risher attended the festival and shares a few highlights from the day:

Brooklyn native Gloria Golden is not only an author but also photographer who organizes lectures and exhibits. Golden’s novel Remnants of Crypto-Jews Among Hispanic Americans describes the descendants of Jews from the Spanish Inquisition.

Her book Brooklyn Revisited: My Journey Back is a book of photographs of present day Brooklyn, while her third novel Desaturated Soul recounts her international travels with her family.

Author Goodloe Byron from Baltimore, Maryland tried a different approach than most. What set him apart from everyone else at the festival was that he was giving his books away for free.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Byron, who has been writing for fourteen years, and believes that giving away his books for free is “just something I do.” His novels center mainly on fables and ghost stories such as The Stone Bird as well as The Wrath.

Byron wrote one novel during his time in the hospital after being hit by a car. He explained that he had a lot of time to write about how he was feeling during that period.
Byron has invested thousands of dollars in his books and expressed his hope that the world will read and enjoy them regardless of the price.

SFC’s McArdle Hall also hosted vendors, such an an advocacy organization that helps prevent books from being banned in schools and libraries. The “Student Press Law Center” contains information on censorship in student journalism. This advocacy organization strongly advised SFC Today to continue to write and express the opinions of the student body and refuse censorship of any written material. We will.

At St. Anne and Holy Trinity Church on Montague street, authors Tao Lin, Jonathan Ames creator of the HBO series Bored to Death, and Sapphire, the author of the NY Times Best Seller Push read passages from their novels both amusing and sorrowful.

Tao Lin’s book of poems proved to be very simple, yet amusing and realistic. Ames’ Wake up Sir! was the story of a writer and his butler was both amusing and philosophical. While Sapphire’s novel The Kid was shown to be sorrowful and heartbreaking; for those that has seen the Academy Award-winning movie Precious, The Kid is based on the son Jamal-Abdul Jones and his journey after his mother’s death (the protagonist Precious).

The Brooklyn Book Festival continually proves itself to be an important event for authors, readers, non-readers, and SFC’s mission of promoting writers from Brooklyn and beyond.

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