The Boston Book Festival will return as an in-person event in October with 250 presenters

After two years of virtual programming, the 14th annual Boston Book Festival will return to Copley Square on Saturday, October 29 with a full day of free events.

Among the 250 presenters are keynote speakers: bestselling trauma researcher Bessel van der Kolk, MD, who will deliver the nonfiction keynote; MacArthur Foundation Fellow and novelist Yiyun Li, Fiction; Malinda Lo, National Book Award Winner, Young Adult (YA); Tui T. Sutherland, New York Times bestselling author, Kids; and Patrick Radden Keefe, award-winning New Yorker editor, who will deliver the Friday evening keynote on October 28.

“I’m thrilled to be back in real life with fellow book lovers after two tough, if not surreal, years. This year’s festival has a slightly smaller footprint than our last live event in 2019, but we’re still welcoming nearly 250 presenters in our in the Boston Public Library, Old South Church, Church of the Covenant and Boston Architectural College, as well as the Goethe Institut,” said Porter, founder and executive director of BBF.

“As always, we have authors from all genres: literary fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, lots of YA and non-fiction categories like memoir and public affairs, not to mention plenty of mid-level book offerings and images for the children,” says Portier. “Add to that a street fair with exhibitors, food trucks, live music and kids’ activities, and it really promises to be an amazing day!”

The initial list of authors and their most recent books is listed below by genre.

The Non-Fiction presenters are: Wajahat Ali, “Go Back Where You Came From: and Other Useful Recommendations on How to Become an American”; Dr. Deborah Birx, “Silent Invasion: The Untold Story of the Trump Administration, Covid-19, and Preventing the Next Pandemic Before It’s Too Late”; Howard Bryant, “Rickey: The Life and Legend of an American Original”; Rabia Chaudry, New York Times bestselling author, “Fatty Fatty Boom Boom: A Memoir of Food, Fat, and Family”; Ross Gay, “Inspiring Joy: Essays”; Juliette Kayyem, “The Devil Never Sleeps: Learning to Live in an Age of Disaster”; Patrick Radden Keefe, New York Times bestselling author, “Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks”; Robert Pinsky, Cambridge resident and former American poet Laurate, “Jersey Breaks: Becoming an American Poet”; Moshe Safdie, Wolf Prize winner, “If Walls Could Talk: My Life in Architecture”; Katherine Stewart, “The Power Worshipers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism”; Bessel van der Kolk, MD, professor at Boston University, “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in Trauma Healing.”
In Fiction, the announced presenters are: Steve Almond, “All the Secrets of the World”; Jabari Asim, “Over There”; Jennifer Haigh, “Mercy Street”; Gish Jen, “Thank You, Mr. Nixon: Stories”; Marie Myung-Ok Lee, “The Evening Hero”, Yiyun Li, MacArthur Fellow, “The Book of the Goose”; Sarah MacLean, “Heartbreaker: A Hell’s Belles Novel”; Ben Mezrich, New York Times bestselling author and Boston resident, “The Midnight Ride” (his first novel); Tochi Onyebuchi, “Goliath”; Rory Power, New York Times bestselling author, “In a Garden Burning Gold”; and, Kate Spencer, “Within a Minute of New York.”

Presenters announced for the Young Adult category are: Kristin Cashore, New York Times bestselling author, “Seasparrow” (Graceling Realm Series No. 5); New York Times bestselling author Tiffany D. Jackson, “The Weight of Blood”; Elizabeth Lim, “The Dragon’s Promise”; National Book Award winner Malinda Lo, “A Scatter of Light”; and, Tucker Shaw, “When You Call My Name”.

Presenters announced for Young Readers are: Peter Brown, New York Times bestselling author and Caldecott winner, “The Wild Robot”; Jason Chin, Caldecott Medal recipient and Newbery Honoree, “The Universe Within You”; Bryan Collier, New York Times bestselling author, “Music is a Rainbow”, winner of the Caldecott Distinction and winner of the Coretta Scott King Book Award; Ekua Holmes, “Hope is an Arrow: The Story of the Lebanese-American Poet Khalil Gibran,” BBF Memorial Poster Illustrator and Coretta Scott King Book Award Winner; Traci Sorrell, “Pow Wow Day”; Tui T. Sutherland, New York Times bestselling author, “The Flames of Hope” (Wings of Fire, No. 15); and, New York Times bestselling author Raúl the Third, “Team Up: El Toro and Friends.”

Brown’s “The Wild Robot” is the 2022 recipient of the Massachusetts Children’s Book Award (MCBA) in voting by fourth- through sixth-grade students from communities across the state.

“Books have the ability to inspire us, move us, make us laugh and even change the trajectory of our lives. Yet reading is by nature a solitary act. That is why it is so necessary to come together as a community of readers, which is what we will be doing again in person at the Boston Book Festival this year,” said BBF Deputy Director Jessica A. Kent. “We will have the opportunity to connect with other readers, to meet our favorite writers, to hear how our favorite stories were created, to discover new authors to read, and to find others who have been inspired or moved by the same books as us . This is your chance to turn to the person sitting next to you and say, ‘You need to read this book!'”

The full program and event schedules will be released in the coming weeks.
This year’s festival follows two successful in-person events: the Greater Roxbury Book Fair and Writers Fest, held this year as a stand-alone event, and Lit Crawl, an evening of authors and events literary events held in Kendall. and central squares in Cambridge.

Shelf Help Author School Tours will take place on Friday, October 28th. The BBF’s Shelf Help partnership is a competitive grant program that provides two school libraries in the Greater Boston area. BBF and its partner, Boston-based nonprofit literacy organization Wondermore, previously announced that UP Academy Holland at Dorchester and Malden High School are the 2022 recipients of this year’s Shelf Help grants, which will include an infusion new books and author visits by “Frizzy” author Claribel A. Ortega and illustrator Rose Bousamra, and Malinda Lo, author of “A Scatter of Light.”

The Festival locations are: Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St., Boston MA 02116; Old South Church in Boston, 645 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02116; Covenant Church, 67 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02116; Goethe-Institut German Cultural Center for New England, 170 Beacon St., Boston, MA 02116; Boston College of Architecture, 320 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02115; and, Boston Room and Board, 375 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02115.

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Founded in 2009 by Deborah Z Porter, the Boston Book Festival (BBF) is an independent nonprofit organization that presents an annual free eponymous book festival and other literary and author-focused events throughout the year. The BBF aims to “celebrate the power of words to stimulate, stir, unite, delight and inspire…and promotes a culture of reading and ideas that strengthens the vibrancy of our city”. The festival traditionally takes place every October and draws tens of thousands of attendees to Boston’s Back Bay for speaker presentations at the Boston Public Library and other locations in Copley Square. The annual book celebration combines a street festival with a series of free events with authors and other literary presenters from around the world.

Angela C. Hale