8th annual Brooklyn Book Festival honors Lois Lowry

Lois Lowry. Photo by Matt McKee

Brooklyn BookBeat: Lowry to receive annual ‘BoBi’ award; joins four other ‘Bookmark’ winners

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, the Brooklyn Literary Council and Brooklyn Tourism have announced that the eighth annual Brooklyn Book Festival, which takes place on Sept. 22, will bestow its Best of Brooklyn, BoBi award on Newbery Award Medalist, Lois Lowry. The BoBi is presented to an author who has had a significant impact on the field of literature and whose body of works exemplifies and speaks to the spirit of Brooklyn.

Lowry is also one of this year’s five collectible bookmark authors together with Nick Flynn, Sapphire, the late Harvey Shapiro and Adrian Tomine. “Bookmarks” are a yearly distinction given to literary figures whose heritage and work connect back to Brooklyn. The collectible bookmarks can now be picked up at all independent bookstores in Brooklyn, as well as at every branch of the Brooklyn, Queens and New York Public Library systems. 

“Read all about it – the greatest literary minds hail from Brooklyn!” said Brooklyn Borough President Markowitz. “This year’s Bookmark honorees exemplify our local excellence in literature, poetry, comics and playwriting. They are an inspiration to aspiring authors and illustrators, young and old, who wish to put ink to paper and fingers to keyboards in the pursuit of artistic greatness. They are helping us write the next chapter in Brooklyn’s great story!” 

“We are so proud to add Lois Lowry to the prestigious list of BoBi winners, which includes Edwidge Danticat, Pete Hamill, Jhumpa Lahiri, Walter Mosley, John Ashbery and Paul Auster,” said Johnny Temple, chair of the Brooklyn Literary Council. “Ms. Lowry is our first winner whose books are primarily geared toward young readers, and she combines so well with our other 2013 bookmark honorees Sapphire, Nick Flynn, the late great Harvey Shapiro, and Adrian Tomine to beautifully represent Brooklyn’s literary legacy.”

Lowry, a two-time Newbery Medal-winner, is one of the most important writers in children’s literature today. As the author of “Number the Stars” and the dystopian novel “The Giver, her work has influenced and inspired young readers throughout the country, where her books are widely read and discussed for taking on brave subject matter. She has written 41 books overall. Lowry lived in Brooklyn as a child and went to high school in the borough as well.

"My first memories of Brooklyn are the war years...searchlights in the sky, and air raid wardens on the streets…along with neighborhood playmates in Bay Ridge,” said Lowry. “That is all so long ago. It's lovely to come back now to a grown-up Brooklyn, changed—as I have—and to be honored in this way." 

Nick Flynn is an innovative and influential poet and playwright who may be most famous for his memoir-turned-film, “Another Bullshit Night in Suck City”, which recounts the story of how he crossed paths with his absent father at a homeless shelter. Before he won any prestigious fellowships and watched Robert DeNiro play his on-screen father, he worked as a social worker and a ship’s captain. Flynn spends half the year in Brooklyn.

Nick Flynn. Photo by Joyce Ravin

Sapphire is first and foremost a poet and performer. But she is also a novelist, the author of two unforgettable bestselling books, “Push” and its sequel, “The Kid”. “Push” is about an illiterate, brutalized Harlem teenager, and became the Academy Award-winning film “Precious”. Sapphire is the author of several poetry collections, including “American Dreams”. She joined the Slam Poetry movement in New York City, where she now lives.

Harvey Shapiro was a celebrated poet and editor of The New York Times Book Review. He served as editor for forty years of The New York Times Magazine, where he suggested that Martin Luther King Jr. pen a letter in jail—“Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” In World War II, Shapiro was a radio gunner with the Fifteenth Air Force, and the Armed Forces awarded him a Distinguished Flying Cross. He wrote his last poetry collection, “The Sights Along the Harbor”, in 2006. He lived in Brooklyn Heights.

New Yorker cartoonist Adrian Tomine began his career at age 16, self-publishing the mini-comic “Optic Nerve”, which he still serializes. His graphic novels “Shortcomings”, “Summer Blonde”, “Scenes From An Impending Marriage” and “Sleepwalk and Other Stories” have received critical and popular acclaim. He most recently celebrated his life in the city with “New York Drawings”, a compilation of his city-related drawings, sketches and magazine covers. He lives in Brooklyn.

Adrian Tomine. Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Book Festival

“The Brooklyn Book Festival is an annual restoration of my faith in humanity,” said Tomine.

More details will be available as the event approaches, with programs and authors subject to change. Updated information about the Brooklyn Book Festival is available by visiting and calling (718) 802-3846.

The Brooklyn Book Festival is the largest free literary event in New York City, presenting an array of literary stars and emerging authors who represent the exciting world of literature today. The Festival’s Target Children’s Area and Youth Stoop takes place outside Brooklyn Borough Hall, located at 209 Joralemon Street, in Columbus Park. One of America’s premier book festivals, this hip, smart, diverse gathering attracts thousands of book lovers of all ages.

August 27, 2013 - 8:00am



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