This weekend, the Copley Square area will be home to the fifth annual Boston Book Festival (BBF). From October 17 – October 19, the 2013 BBF offers lectures, author talks, and events for readers of all ages. With the exception of three events, all programs are free and open to the public thanks to the non-profit organization of the same name (BBF), presenting partner WBUR 90.9 FM, and a myriad of generous sponsors.
This year’s BBF kicks off with “Writing Terror: An Exploration of Fear” on Thursday, October 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the Back Bay Events Center (180 Berkeley St., Boston). Writers Valerie Plame Wilson, Mary Louise Kelly, movie legend Wes Craven, and Jessica Stern are all part of this ticketed event moderated by “Time” magazine’s Joe Klein. Tickets can be purchased on the BBF website for $6 - $12.
On Friday, October 18, Simmons College’s Megan Lambert will moderate “Meet the Medalists: Newbery Medal Winners,” featuring past Newbery winners Lois Lowry (“Number the Stars,” “The Giver”), Jack Gantos (“Dead End in Norvelt”), Kate DiCamillo (“The Tale of Despereaux”), and Rebecca Stead (“When You Reach Me”). This family-friendly panel will take place 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Old South Sanctuary (645 Boylston St., Boston).
Friday’s Keynote is being delivered by Salman Rushdie at 7:30 p.m. in the Old South Sanctuary. Advance tickets are already sold out, but the BBF advises that a “limited number of tickets may be available at the door for $10, starting at 7 p.m. at Old South Church.”
The final ticketed event of the Fest is “You’re the Expert” on Saturday, October 19 at 7 p.m. at Boston Common Hancock (40 Trinity Place). Local comedians Myq Kaplan, Brendan Pelsue, and Robert Woo will use their skills to “try to get to the bottom of what John Overhold, Harvard’s Curator of Early Modern Books and Manuscript, does all day.” Tickets are $10 and available for purchase on the BBF website. You’re the Expert perform regularly at Oberon in Cambridge.
Saturday is the busiest day of the festival with a slew of free events happening all over Copley Square. Notable authors speaking on Saturday include Alan Dershowitz, Andre Dubus III (“House of Sand and Fog”), Chuck Klosterman (“Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs”), Tom Perrotta (“Little Children”), and U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky.
From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., a street fair in celebration of the BBF will be in full swing with local and national vendors such as Dunkin’ Donuts, Women’s National Book Association, Small Beer Press, and several local colleges. Be on the lookout for food trucks! At press time, Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, had confirmed their participation.
Starting at 11 a.m., attendees may enjoy free performances on the Berklee College of Music Stage. Hadley Kennary, Fate & the Family Band, Berklee Poetry Slam, Maddie Rice, Charles Johnson Band, Los Rumberos de Boston, and Alissia Benveniste are all slated to perform.
For a full schedule, visit the Boston Book Fest website. Free program guides (in print!) are available, while supplies last, at Brookline Booksmith, Trident Booksellers & Cafe, and the Harvard Book Store. Follow the Boston Book Festival Twitter account for updates and breaking news.