From discussions on detainment to feminism in literature, Sunday’s Brooklyn Book Festival is especially timely. Its flagship affair, the jam-packed Festival Day, features nearly 90 discussions with hundreds of writers every hour throughout Downtown Brooklyn. Since you can’t possibly hit up everything, here’s our guide on how to spend the day.
Explore contemporary issues in activism, gender, economics and more at “How Do We Change the World?,” a discussion with Anand Giridharadas (“Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World”), Eric Klinenberg (“Palaces for the People: How To Build a More Equal and United Society”), Kristen Ghodsee (“Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism: And Other Arguments for Economic Independence”) and Blair Imani (“Modern HERstory: Stories of Women and Nonbinary People Rewriting History”). (Borough Hall Courtroom, 209 Joralemon St.)
Three buzzy, debut female novelists — R.O. Kwon (“The Incendiaries”), Lydia Kiesling (“Golden State”) and Alexia Arthurs (“How to Love a Jamaican”) — discuss “The Feminist Future of Fiction” with Books Are Magic co-owner Emma Straub. (North Stage, Cadman Plaza East)
At “Detained,” hear from the writers behind three powerful nonfiction works that cover the 2014 Boko Haram kidnapping (Helon Habila’s “Chibok Girls”), ISIS abductions (Dunya Mikhail’s “The Beekeeper”) and a Kenyan prison memoir (Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s “Wrestling with the Devil”), in a conversation with Clarisse Rosaz Shariyf (PEN America). (St. Francis College Founder’s Hall, 180 Remsen St.)
Take time to grab a bite to eat and explore the marketplace, where you can pick up some recommended reads, magazine subscriptions and literary swag from the publishers themselves.
Family is a topic that’s rife for continual literary exploration. At “Modern American Family,” Steph Optiz (“Wordplay”) moderates a discussion with three authors who explore how race and sexuality shape the traditional family unit today: Rumaan Alam (“That Kind of Mother”), Chelsey Johnson (“Stray City”) and Luis Alberto Urrea (“The House of Broken Angels”). (North Stage, Cadman Plaza East)
Here’s your requisite hashtag panel. “#Resist” brings together Sara Farizan (“Here to Stay”), Justina Ireland (“Dread Nation”) and Mark Oshiro (“Anger Is a Gift”) in a conversation tackling power structures, from racism to toxic masculinity, moderated by Brendan Kiely (“Tradition”). (Brooklyn Law School, Student Lounge, 250 Joralemon St.)
You can be a fly on the wall at what will surely be an illuminating conversation between Tayari Jones (“An American Marriage,” an Oprah and Obama fave) and Pulitzer Prize-winner Jennifer Egan (“Manhattan Beach”), with National Book Foundation Director Lisa Lucas. (St. Francis College Founder’s Hall, 180 Remsen St.)
Touré moderates “Cultural Sampling as Cultural Critique,” a conversation on cultural appropriation with A.M. Homes (“Days of Awe”), John Keene (“Counternarratives”) and Hari Kunzru (“White Tears”). (Main Stage on Borough Hall)
IF YOU GO
The Brooklyn Book Festival is Sept. 16 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. in and around Brooklyn Borough Hall in Downtown Brooklyn. For the full schedule of free events, visit brooklynbookfestival.org.