14:19 PM

Brooklyn Public Library Announces 2018 Fall Season


A U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Authors, Activists, Performers, Artists, Poets, and Musicians from Brooklyn and Around the World to Engage, Inspire, and Uplift New Yorkers

Highlights include:

A U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Authors, Activists, Performers, Artists, Poets, and Musicians from Brooklyn and Around the World to Engage, Inspire, and Uplift New Yorkers

Highlights include:

  • U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor celebrates the release of two of her new children’s books The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor and Turning Pages: My Life Story.
  • Award-winning author Jonathan Franzen talking about his new essay collection The End of the End of the Earth, returning to the themes – both human and literary – that have long preoccupied him
  • Feminist artist, activist, and Pussy Riot founder Nadya Tolokonnikova shares her story of becoming a fighter and an emissary of hope and discusses her new book Read & Riot: A Pussy Riot Guide to Activism
  • Author of the award-winning historical novel Manhattan Beach, Jennifer Egan discusses her research to find the Brooklyn-centered story that won her and the novel acclaim
  • Brooklyn-based artist Anne Mourier presents Women Who Read, creating an artwork that hopes to inspire a dialogue about feminine values in contemporary society
  • The return of Theater of War Productions dramatic reenactment of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s powerful sermon, The Drum Major Instinct, featuring Samira Wiley and a choir comprised of police officers, teachers, activists, and members of the faith community from New York and St. Louis
  • Poet, activist, and journalist Quincy Troupe discusses Miles and Me, his revealing portrait of Miles Davis, their friendship, and Troupe’s own chronicle of his artistic and personal growth
  • Noted poet, translator, essayist, and professor of classics, Anne Carson reprises three lectures on aesthetics
  • The most recent Man Booker International Prize-winning author Olga Tokarczuk discusses Flights, her novel exploring what it means to be a traveler, a wanderer, and a body in motion through both space and time
  • A new conversation series launches with scholar Dr. Vishakha Desai about Eastern and Western approaches to 21st century realities
  • A two-part exhibition featuring Genesis Báez, Curtis Talwst Santiago, and Ruddy Roye will explore issues surrounding environmental and social justice

Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), one of the largest libraries in the country, today unveiled its 2018 fall season, furthering its commitment to providing access to educational, economic, and cultural enrichment opportunities of the highest quality to the 2.6 million individuals who make Brooklyn home. BPL is redefining libraries as centers for ideas and exploration, providing nearly 65,000 free programs a year and resources that support personal advancement, build civic engagement, and strengthen the fabric of community.

“The array of authors, artists, and scholars coming to BPL this season is as bountiful and diverse as the individuals that make Brooklyn home, and we are thrilled the library is serving as a cultural hub connecting them all,” said Linda E. Johnson, President and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library. “As we continue to foster civic engagement and strengthen the communities we serve, we hope these programs will inspire meaningful conversations beyond the walls of the library.”

“There is no doubt that BPL’s fall line-up has something to offer everyone, and we hope to introduce Brooklyn to authors, artists, scholars, films, and music, that they may have never had the opportunity to engage with before,” said László Jakab Orsós, Vice President of Arts and Culture of Brooklyn Public Library. “We look forward to continuing to engage our communities in ever questioning the political/cultural status quo, as we again offer some of our most beloved programs such as A Night of Philosophy and Ideas, Message from the Library, Classical Interludes, and our festival LitFilm.”

BPL Presents is Central Library’s series of arts and culture events, including talks, conversations, and readings with authors, artists and scholars; live music, dance, and theater performances; film screenings; and art exhibitions. Kicking off the fall season on Friday, September 14, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic U.S. Supreme Court Judge, discusses her new children’s books The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor for middle schoolers and Turning Pages: My Life Story for younger children.

BPL will explore timely political and social themes through conversations with award-winning authors including Jennifer Egan, Anne Carson, Quincy Troupe, Olga Tokarczuk, Nadya Tolokonnikova, Kiese Laymon, and Jonathan Franzen. Through their writing these authors collectively examine a range of issues including identity, race, and politics and how we as a society can work together to better understand one another.

Brooklyn-based artist Anne Mourier will present Women Who Read, an interactive performance in which Mourier will surround herself with feminist literature while embroidering words and the names of local historical feminine figures on a length of white fabric, as a way to encourage dialogue about feminine values. As part of the inaugural Downtown Brooklyn Arts Festival: Discover the District, and in partnership with BPL, Theater of War Productions returns with The Drum Major Instinct, a reenactment by Samira Wiley (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s powerful sermon.

Throughout the season BPL will feature Dr. Vishakha Desai, former president of Asia Society and a leader in politics, arts, and culture in a moderated conversation series with scholars, writers, artists, and policy makers discussing political and cultural issues in light of the East and West comparison.

In addition to launching Culture Pass this past July, giving New York City residents with a valid library card free access to 36 cultural institutions throughout all five boroughs, BPL will feature multiple art exhibitions in its Central Branch throughout the year. Beginning in September a two-part exhibition featuring Genesis Báez, Curtis Talwst Santiago, and Ruddy Roye will explore issues surrounding environmental and social justice. In January, interdisciplinary artist Kameelah Janan Rasheed, also based in Brooklyn, presents “Scoring the Stacks.” As part of her exhibition and artist-led workshops she will “score the library” – using prompts and questions on printed scores guiding visitors to discover multiple pathways through the building as well as through the books in the stacks, an adventure in experiential learning and publishing. The exhibition includes a commissioned 150-foot photomural in BPL’s Grand Lobby.

The eleventh season of BPL’s Classical Interludes series continues in October, providing free access to professional-caliber chamber music in partnership with prominent New York organizations.

BPL will host the Citizens’ Gala on Saturday, December 1, inviting people far and wide to wear their most inventive attire to exhibit fashion savviness and imagination. The event will feature live music, guest speakers discussing freedom of imagination, and a Catwalk for All.

The upcoming season will include its popular Message from the Library – the continuation of the international lecture series produced by Brooklyn Public Library with leading thinkers. Speaker and event details will be announced at a later date.

Looking ahead to February 2019, Brooklyn Public Library will host the return of its successful program A Night of Philosophy & Ideas, from Saturday, February 2 at 7:00 p.m. to Sunday, February 3 at 7:00 a.m. – an all-night marathon of debate and performances with philosophers and Brooklynites produced in collaboration with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. BPL’s festival LitFilm also returns February 27 through March 3. Details about both series will be released later in the fall.

Except where noted, Brooklyn Public Library events are free and open to the public. For more information on events and ticketing please visit: https://www.bklynlibrary.org/bpl-presents



* Please note these events and programs are part of Brooklyn Public Library’s season of arts and culture events for adults all taking place at its Central Branch, unless indicated. *

Justice Sonia Sotomayor Presents Her New Children’s Books Turning Pages: My Life Story and The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor

Friday, September 14 6:30p.m.

Join us in welcoming U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to celebrate the release of her two new children’s books. Sotomayor will discuss her life story, from her birthplace in the South Bronx through her journey to become the first Hispanic and third woman appointed to the Supreme Court. Her picture book Turning Pages, vibrantly illustrated by Lulu Delacre, shares how Sotomayor’s life was shaped and propelled forward by her family, her own determination, and the books she read. The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor is the middle grade adaptation of My Beloved World, her #1 New York Times-bestselling memoir. In sharing her own story, Sotomayor encourages children to read widely and dream big.

Anne Mourier: Women Who Read

Performance Dates: Friday, September 7; Saturday, September 8; Friday, September 14; Saturday, September 1512:00 – 5:00p.m.

Anne Mourier’s work implements the materials and heritage of women’s craftwork to take part in the continuing dialogue about feminine values in contemporary society. For her performance Women Who Read, Mourier will be seated in a chair, surrounded by feminist literature, and will embroider words on a length of white fabric that express her vision for women, intertwined with names of local historical feminine figures. Visitors are encouraged to participate. An accompanying display on the first floor Grand Lobby will include objects accompanying the performance September 3 – 15.

One Book, One New York: Jennifer Egan on Researching Manhattan Beach

Monday, September 17 at 6:30p.m.

Named one of the best books of the year by NPR, Vogue, Time and others, with the atmosphere of a noir thriller, Jennifer Egan’s first historical novel follows its characters into a world populated by gangsters, sailors, divers, bankers, and union men. Manhattan Beach, which won the 2018 popular vote as winner of NYC’s One Book One New York contest, is an exploration of a transformative moment in the lives and identities of women and men, of America and the world. Egan discusses for the first time her research with Meredith Wisner, former Assistant Director of Archives at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Manhattan Beach researcher and oral historian Zaheer Ali from the Brooklyn Historical Society who were instrumental in her finding the Brooklyn-centered story that won her and Manhattan Beach such incredible acclaim.

Reclamation/Reclamación: Genesis Báez

September 29 – October 31

Part one of a two-part exhibition dedicated to issues surrounding environmental and social justice, Reclamation/Reclamación presents the work of emerging photographer Genesis Báez, who uses the double meaning of “reclamation” in her work: to salvage or reclaim material and to reassert rights through visual storytelling. In her new photographs and research, Báez has documented and interviewed Puerto Rican evacuees of 2017 Hurricane Maria in New Haven, CT, where the artist currently resides, who have been displaced state-side, as well as photographing Puerto Rico after the storm. An open call invites climate refugees from any part of the world to share their stories with the artist as part of the BPL oral history initiative, Our Streets, Our Stories. Their stories of climate migration will be archived in BPL’s collection.

Martin Luther King’s The Drum Major Instinct

Sunday, September 23 at 2:00 – 4:30p.m.

Plaza at 300 Ashland Place

A dramatic reading by acclaimed actor Samira Wiley of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s sermon delivered 50 years ago on February 4, 1968, The Drum Major Instinct, a powerful, cautionary speech about the impulse in all humans to be "out front" and recognized as leaders, often for self-aggrandizing purposes rather than a sense of service to others. Following the reading is a town hall-style dialogue about racism, inequality, and social justice, fostering compassion, understanding, and positive action. Accompanied by original and arranged music composed and conducted by Phil Woodmore, featuring a choir of diverse singers, including police officers and their spouses, teachers, activists, and members of the faith community from St. Louis, Missouri. Directed and facilitated by Bryan Doerries, Public Artist in Residence (PAIR), City of New York. Presented in partnership with the New York City Department of Veterans Services and the New York City department of Cultural Affairs.

Quincy Troupe on Miles and Me

Wednesday, September 26 at 7:30p.m.

Poet, activist, and journalist Quincy Troupe's candid account of his friendship with Miles Davis is a revealing portrait of a great musician and an engrossing chronicle of the author's own artistic and personal growth. Miles and Me describes in intimate detail the sometimes harrowing processes of Davis's spectacular creativity and the joys and travails Davis's passionate and contradictory temperament posed to the two men's friendship. Preceded by the film Miles Davis & Quincy Troupe Live at the Studio Museum at 6:00p.m.

Olga Tokarczuk Discusses Flights

Thursday, September 27 at 7:30p.m.

In this Man Booker International Prize-Winning Novel, a 17th-century Dutch anatomist discovers the Achilles tendon by dissecting his own amputated leg. Chopin's heart is carried back to Warsaw in secret by his adoring sister. A woman must return to her native Poland in order to poison her terminally ill high school sweetheart, and a young man slowly descends into madness when his wife and child mysteriously vanish during a vacation and just as suddenly reappear. Through these brilliantly imagined characters and stories, interwoven with haunting, playful, and revelatory meditations, Tokarczuk discusses Flights with BPL audiences along with John Freeman, discussing what it means to be a traveler, a wanderer, a body in motion not only through space but through time.

Silent Movie Matinee: Buster Keaton in THE GENERAL

Sunday, October 14, 12:30-2:30p.m.

Keaton often referred to THE GENERAL as his favorite feature. He adapted the film from a real-life Civil War event that he read about in the book “The Great Locomotive Chase.” He plays Johnnie Gray, a train-engineer with two loves: a woman named Annabelle Lee and an engine named The General. When Northern spies enter Southern-territory and steal his engine and train, as well as Annabelle (who is on-board), Johnnie attempts to rescue them in an action-comedy with slapstick that many consider to be Keaton’s masterpiece. Directed and written by Buster Keaton and Clyde Bruckman. 78 minutes with live piano accompaniment by Bernie Anderson. Hosted and curated by Ken Gordon.

Eagles BPL Literary Prize Shortlist Reading

Tuesday, October 2 at 7:30p.m.

An evening of discussion with the finalists for the BPL Literary Prize, literary awards presented by the Brooklyn Eagles for outstanding works of nonfiction and fiction. Finalists for the prize will be announced in early September.

Classical Interludes: The Knights

Sunday, October 7, 4:00 – 6:00p.m.

Driven by an open-minded spirit of camaraderie and exploration, The Knights inspire listeners with vibrant programs that encompass their roots in the classical tradition and passion for artistic discovery. The orchestra has toured and recorded with renowned soloists including Yo-Yo Ma, Dawn Upshaw, Béla Fleck, and Gil Shaham, and have performed at Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood, and the Vienna Musikverein

Nadya Tolokonnikova on Read & Riot: A Pussy Riot Guide to Activism*

Tuesday, October 9 at 7:30p.m.

Feminist artist, activist, and Pussy Riot founder Nadya Tolokonnikova offers a timely guide to radical protest and joyful political resistance, structured around Nadya’s revolutionary philosophies and illustrated with stunning examples from a life of inspired action and creative rebellion. On February 21, 2012, Tolokonnikova, founding member of the female Russian activist group Pussy Riot, was arrested for performing an anti-Putin protest song in a Moscow church, and was sent to prison for eighteen months—an event that transformed this imaginative activist and professional protestor into an international symbol of radical resistance. Now, this international activist tells her story in her own words, drawing on her hard-won wisdom to share her core principles and formative experiences, offering inspiration for opposing authoritarian leaders and governments that threaten to suppress individual rights and freedoms. Co-presented with Greenlight Bookstore.

*Ticket comes with book purchase.

Classical Interludes: Machiko Ozawa Tango Duo

Sunday, October 14, 4:00 – 6:00p.m.

A formidable virtuoso violinist, Machiko Ozawa is internationally esteemed as an interpreter of the tango repertoire. This performance features her most recent project: a duo with the Argentinian pianist Pablo Cafici. They will perform works by the great composer Astor Piazzolla as well as a variety of traditional Argentine tangos and selections from her newest CD, "Mi Oblivion." The combination of violin and piano, interpreting the passionate and melodic tango classics, highlights this beautiful music in a dramatic and innovative way.

Geocultural Conversations with Vishakha Desai

Wednesday, October 24 at 7:30p.m.

Dr. Vishakha Desai and leaders in politics, arts, and culture from around the globe investigate current events and consider themes ranging from the history of global power to attitudes toward social responsibility. Join for a new series of conversations about places of convergence and contrasts between Eastern and Western approaches to the 21st century realities.

Kiese Laymon

Tuesday, October 30 at 7:30p.m.

In this powerful and provocative work, genre-bending essayist and novelist Kiese Laymon explores what the weight of a lifetime of secrets, lies, and deception does to a black body, a black family, and a nation teetering on the brink of moral collapse. Kiese Laymon is a fearless writer. In Heavy: An American Memoir, personal stories combine with piercing intellect to reflect both on the state of American society and on his experiences with abuse, which conjure conflicted feelings of shame, joy, confusion and humiliation. Laymon invites us to consider the consequences of growing up in a nation wholly obsessed with progress yet wholly disinterested in the messy work of reckoning with where we’ve been. Co-presented with Greenlight Bookstore.

Silent Movie Matinee: All Quiet on the Western Front

Sunday, November 11, 12:30 – 2:30p.m.

We commemorate Veterans Day today, which marks the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended World War One. All Quiet on the Western Front is based on the German novel by Erich Maria Remarque, which tells the story of Paul Bäumer (played by Lew Ayres), who enlisted in the German army with dreams of heroism but was disillusioned by the reality and futility of war. It was released as an early sound-talkie that won Academy Awards® for Best Picture and Direction, but today’s print is a rare silent-version created for theaters not yet wired-for-sound. Directed by Lewis Milestone. 133 minutes with live piano accompaniment by Bernie Anderson. Hosted and curated by Ken Gordon.

Reclamation: Curtis Talwst Santiago and Ruddy Roye

November 5, 2018 – January 6, 2019

The second of a two-part exhibition dedicated to issues surrounding environmental and social justice, Reclamation brings together Jamaican-born, Brooklyn-based photographer Ruddy Roye and Canadian sculptor and painter Curtis Talwst Santiago around the double meanings of “reclamation”: to salvage or reclaim material and to reassert rights. Santiago’s Infinity Series epitomizes the dual meanings of reclamation, as he repurposes jewelry boxes to narrate episodes of contemporary life and history in miniature dioramas contained within them. These microcosms show scenes of police brutality, incarceration, and migration, as well as mythology and human prehistory. Brooklyn Public Library will debut four new works and present eight works of this series. Ruddy Roye’s ongoing photo project “When Living Is a Protest” is potent storytelling, capturing glimpses of Black life and addressing issues of police brutality and structural inequality throughout the country in the wake of the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

Classical Interludes: Schulte and Nico Namoradze

Sunday, November 4, 4:00 – 6:00p.m.

Violinist Rolf Schulte and pianist Nico Namoradze perform a program of Debussy, Ravel and Stravinsky.

Jonathan Franzen*

Friday, November 16 at 7:30p.m.

A sharp and provocative new essay collection, The End of the End of the Earth, from the award-winning author of Freedom and The Corrections, gathers essays and speeches written mostly in the past five years. Jonathan Franzen returns with renewed vigor to the themes―both human and literary―that have long preoccupied him. Whether exploring his complex relationship with his uncle, recounting his young adulthood in New York, or offering an illuminating look at the global seabird crisis, these pieces contain all the wit and disabused realism that we’ve come to expect from Franzen. Co-presented with Greenlight Bookstore.

*Ticket comes with book purchase

Anne Carson Delivers Her Harvard Lectures

November 17 and Sunday, November 18Dweck Center, 3:00p.m.

Noted poet, translator, essayist, and professor of classics, Carson reprises three lectures on aesthetics.

Classical Interludes: counter)induction

Sunday, November 25, 4:00 – 6:00p.m.

counter)induction’s mission since its inception has been straightforward: world-class performances of contemporary chamber music, without hype and without agenda other than its complete commitment to the most compelling music of our day. With five exceptional players (Miranda Cuckson, violin; Jessica Meyer, viola; Karen Ouzounian, cello; Benjamin Fingland, clarinet; Ning Yu, piano) and three composers (Kyle Bartlett, Douglas Boyce, Ryan Streber), counter)induction focuses on programming that is provocative, insightful, and unexpected. This concert was curated by Peter Weitzner.

Silent Movie Matinee: Lucky Star

Sunday, December 2, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell first co-starred in director Frank Borzage’s 7th Heaven. Lucky Star is their third and final work with Borzage, from a story by Tristram Tupper, who wrote for movies between serving in both World Wars. Farrell plays Timothy Osborne, a repairman, and Gaynor plays Mary Tucker, an impoverished farm-girl. They are initially adversarial, but after Tim is injured serving in World War I, and returns as a wounded veteran, they are drawn together and find a love that transcends and heals many wounds. Directed by Frank Borzage. 99 minutes with live piano accompaniment by Bernie Anderson. Hosted and curated by Ken Gordon.

Classical Interludes: Lara St. John

Sunday, December 9, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Canadian-born violinist Lara St. John has been described as "something of a phenomenon" by The Strad and a “high-powered soloist” by The New York Times. She has performed as a soloist with the orchestras of Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and the major orchestras of Europe, Asia, South America and Australia/New Zealand.

Kameelah Janan Rasheed: Scoring the Stacks

January 10 – April 1, 2019

Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artist Kameelah Janan Rasheed present’s Scoring the Stacks, where Rasheed will “score the library,” offering visitors prompts and questions that lead them to discover multiple pathways through the building, its stacks, and the books accessible there, and to then compile and publish what they discover in group workshops. Guided by the ideas of experiential learning, the exhibition and public program invites participants to make new connections and activate their experience as learners throughout the library. Activating language as art, Rasheed’s exhibition includes a commissioned 150-foot site-specific photomural on the balcony of the Library’s grand Lobby, and dynamic displays that will change to reflect activities of its ongoing public programs. Guided and independent walkthroughs of the building will use Rasheed’s “scores”—printed materials that are instructional and conceptual and made available as the first step in an ongoing audience engagement cultivated through programs. Programs are free to youth and adults and center on learning and self-publishing, culminating in an artist talk and collectively-authored publication. Scoring the Stacks embraces chance, inquiry, and open-endedness as generative forces in the process of participatory, art-driven learning.


WNYC is a media sponsor for the BPL Presents 2018–2019 Season


New York State Council on the Arts

Carnegie Hall Citywide Concert Series

New York City Department of Veterans Services

New York City Department of Cultural Affairs

Stavros Niarchos Foundation

Brooklyn Book Festival

One Book One New York

Greenlight Bookstore

Poetry Foundation

Poetry Society of America


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Media Contacts

Julie Danni

Resnicow and Associates



Fritzi Bodenheimer

Brooklyn Public Library



About Brooklyn Public Library

Brooklyn Public Library is the nation’s sixth largest library system and among the borough’s most democratic civic institutions. We offer 65,000 free programs a year for people from all walks of life—immigrants learning a new language, students preparing for college, older adults seeking companionship, aspiring entrepreneurs launching their dreams, children discovering the world and people of all ages exploring arts and culture. And we provide patrons 3.9 million opportunities to enjoy one of life’s greatest satisfactions: the discovery of a good book. Learn more at bklynlibrary.org