Boston Book Fest Brings Joy of Reading to the City


With a goal of promoting reading and celebrating the importance of literature for people of all ages, the Boston Book Festival is an independent nonprofit group based in Cambridge. Each year, the organization hosts a festival offering an assortment of presentations tailored to various reading interests and age groups. In 2016, the event will take place on October 15th in Copley Square.

The History of the Boston Book Festival

Founded in 2009 by Deborah Z Porter, the goal of the Boston Book Festival was to “celebrate the power of words to stimulate, agitate, unite, delight, and inspire” by holding events throughout the year that culminate in an annual free festival. In order to promote a culture of reading, the annual festival combines a street festival with an array of authors and other presenters from around the world. The festival has grown in so much popularity that approximately 32,000 people attended in 2014.

In addition to the festival, the organization hosts literally events throughout the year. Many of these events fall under the “Lounge Lit” series of literary outings and include things such as cookbook author demos, readings and an annual literary pub trivia night. Over the past few years, the organization has also hosted evening “kick-off” activities leading up to the actual festival, which always takes place on Saturday.

The 2016 Boston Book Festival

As always, the 2016 Boston Book Festival will include talks within a variety of categories and genres. These include fiction, non-fiction, romance memoirs, poetry, fantasy and young adult works. With around 200 presenters planned for this year’s event, participants will certainly have plenty of activities available to keep them busy.

Among the presenters at this year’s event will be author Aaron Mahnke, who is the author of the award-winning and critically acclaimed podcast Lore. Focusing on true life scary stories, each episode of Lore examines the dark side of history as it explores the people, places and creatures that nightmares are made of. Mahnke will present three hand-picked stories to his audience, but tickets are limited. In addition, the $20 ticket only guarantees admission to the venue and not a seat. Therefore, it is best to arrive early in order to obtain the best seat possible.

Other presenters will be offering their time at no cost to attendees. Presenters range from fiction and non-fiction authors to podcasters, journalists, bloggers, editors, essayists, vocalists and other artists that are connected in some way to the written word.

The Boston Book Festival will also have a street fair filled with vendors featuring something for everyone. Exhibitors range from performance companies to literary magazines, media outlets and arts organizations. Of course, it also includes food vendors as well as a kids area featuring the popular Passport to Imagination scavenger hunt. Exhibitors will be available from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm.

Each year, the festival also distributes a short story throughout the city as part of its One City One Story event. The goal of One City One Tory is to make a short story available for free in an effort to spread the job of reading to people of all ages while creating a community around a shared reading experience. This year’s story is Kelly Link’s “The Faery Handbag,” which began distribution on August 22.

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