Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Boston Book Festival returns to Copley Square for the first time in two years

Julie Huynh
Authors Mia P. Manansala, Lily Chu, Kate Spencer, with moderator Callie Crossley at the “Serendipity in the Unexpected” panel.

After being held virtually for the last two years, the Boston Book Festival returned to Copley Square on Saturday, Oct. 29, to celebrate the power of words and literature with author panels, book signings and workshops. 

The BBF was founded by Deborah Z. Porter in 2009 as a nonprofit organization that promotes a culture of reading and ideas in the city. This was the 14th year the festival was held. 

Featuring over 200 authors and moderators, book lovers gathered on the crisp October day to purchase books, browse local vendors and listen to their favorite writers speak. 

Exhibitors at the Copley Square Street Fair included The Boston Globe, Brattle Book Shop, GBH, More Than Words, WBUR and many more. If attendees weren’t busy at the fair, they could be found looking through the program at the extensive event schedule and deciding where to go next.

Ranging from nonfiction and fiction to kids and young adult panels with over 70 sessions, there was something for everyone. The panels were held in various locations across Copley Square and Back Bay. 

Some of the nonfiction sessions held were “Pandemic Stories: Hope in the Darkness,” “Maus: Thoughts on a Banned Book” and “Memoir: Bold, Bright, and Badass Women.” 

The fiction sessions were broken down into genres: comics, romance, mystery and sci-fi and fantasy. 

During the “Searching for Identity in Fantastic Worlds” panel, authors Tochi Onyebuchi and Rory Power discussed their new fantasy books “Goliath” and “In a Garden Burning Gold,” respectively, and what it looks like to search for identity, family and meaning in fictional worlds. 

“It was such a joy to get to spend the day chatting about books with readers and writers alike,” said Power. “This was one of my first in-person events in a while and it was so refreshing.”   

Another fiction session was “Serendipity in the Unexpected,” featuring romance authors Lily Chu, Mia P. Manansala and Kate Spencer, with moderator Callie Crossley of GBH’s “Under the Radar with Callie Crossley” and “Basic Black.” These authors had a conversation about their strong female leads and moments of unexpected love, as well as the very personal struggles each of their characters go through. 

Headliner Malinda Lo, New York Times bestselling author of “Last Night at the Telegraph Club,” expressed on her Twitter that she had a wonderful time at the festival. 

“I love doing an event where people laugh, even if the books make people cry. Boston is a wonderful book-loving city,” Lo said. 

Following each session was the audience Q&A, book sales and author signings. Local indie bookstores such as Trident Booksellers, Porter Square Books and Papercuts J.P. were present to sell the authors’ books to attendees. 

Happening concurrently with these panels were several poetry workshops and storytimes for children. 

Back in the Square on the Berklee Festival Stage, performers Zoe Ny, Tascha, The Tiger Wizard, K Lish and Friends, Emme Cannon and Regie Gibson and Atlas Soul kept festival-goers and passer-bys entertained with their music. 

In the face of increasing pressure in some parts of the country to ban and restrict access to literature, it is now more important than ever to be hosting events that celebrate and promote diverse titles and literature.

Follow Julie on Twitter @writerinthealps

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Boston Book Festival returns to Copley Square for the first time in two years