If your dream evening revolves around a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and a Pynchon novel—or your idea of getting ruckus involves regaling amigos with Ginsberg-ian incantations after a couple stiff drinks—these upcoming literary and libation-friendly events are sure to make your heart sing. Say hello to not one but two bookish extravaganzas: Lit Crawl Manhattan and the Brooklyn Book Festival.
It seems only appropriate that such erudite offerings should cluster around the East Village and Brooklyn: the former with its long and storied literary history (Auden, Burroughs, Ginsberg, O’Hara), the latter both a modern-day hub of men and women of letters (Lethem, Lahiri, Safran Foer, Egan) and a long-standing writerly refuge (Capote, Wright, Dos Passos, Mailer, Whitman).
Next weekend’s Lit Crawl, held across East Village and the Lower East Side, sprang originally out of Litquake—San Francisco’s annual literary festival. Begun in 2008 by several Litquake alums, Lit Crawl preserves many of the elements of the Bay Area original: featuring international and local authors in an array of panel discussions and readings, plus cross-media events, games, and plenty of audience participation.
Highlights from this year’s offerings include an evening of readings by translators of New York Review of Books Classics; the Rumpus’ Stephen Elliott and BuzzFeed’s Isaac Fitzgerald reading from Drivel, a collection of “deliciously bad writing” by some of the best writers around; a Literary Pictionary competition presided over by Tiphanie Yanique, author of recently released debut novel Land of Love and Drowning; and in which journalist Susan Shapiro and a panel of industry insiders tell you how you too can become an author. Maybe.
And the best thing about the crawl? The events are all free, so you get to hang out at your favorite dive bar (ahem, Botanica) and drink cheap G&Ts while listening to salacious stories from the Liars’ League. Or go for a late-night browse at the St. Mark’s Bookshop’s new quarters, and stumble upon a reading by .
And once that smorgasbord of literary delights is over, you can immediately turn your attention to Brooklyn, where the lead up to the Brooklyn Book Fest will be kicking off. While the Fest itself isn’t for another three weeks, the preliminary Bookend Events—a week of film screenings, parties, literary games and author appearances—will be materializing throughout the borough starting September 15.
Why not start off with a collective treatise on “” from Words Without Borders, showcasing the voices of writers forced from their homes. Then lighten up with “Words on Whisky,” a caramelly conference about the good stuff (plus a reading from Guide to Urban Moonshining and a tasting) from the crew at Kings County Distillery. Superstar English novelist David Mitchell (author of Cloud Atlas) will be making an appearance to present his latest epic, The Bone Clocks, while WNYC will be hosting “,” a “conversation on literature, identity, and geography” in Kings County.
Round out your week and join the revolution, with a duo of thought-provoking feminist cultural critics: Laurie Penny, who’ll be launching her book Unspeakable Things assisted by all-round badass/artist/writer Molly Crabapple, and Roxane Gay, who’ll be reading from her lauded essay collection Bad Feminist.
LitCrawl Manhattan will be held Saturday, September 13 (6pm-9pm), at various downtown locations. Check here for a full schedule. Brooklyn Book Festival will be held Sunday, September 21 (10am-6pm). Bookend events will held September 15 through 22, at various locations. Full schedule to come.