Ever since Gutenberg invented the printing press in the basement of his Prospect Heights brownstone, Brooklyn has been the center of the literary universe. Hence, the annual Brooklyn Book Festival, which I believe originated with a memo written by Marty Markowitz to his top aides: “Guys, it’s too expensive for anyone not in finance or public housing to live in Manhattan, so lots of creative types and authors live here in relative comfort and camaraderie. What can we do to play this up?”
The answer, as it turns out, is an all-day event around Borough Hall this Sunday, featuring a lot of free readings and discussions with Brooklyn authors, named Jonathan and not. “You’d have to be a bit dense to confuse a geographical and economic accident with an aesthetic movement,” as a Card-Carrying Brooklyn Writer has pointed out for us, in presumed response to people who’d corral literature produced in America’s fourth largest city into any kind of movement; what’s good about the Book Fest — aside from all the, you know, talks and readings and such — is that it treats the Brooklyn literary scene not as something far too vast and varied to be qualified as a, you know, scene.