Best Unexpected Brooklyn Lit Collaboration
Ben Greenman cowriting Questlove’s Autobiography
We’ve been big fans of The New Yorker’s Ben Greenman’s work for a while now, having both published his fiction in Brooklyn Magazine and benefitted from his literary wisdom as a longtime Literary Upstart judge. But even we were surprised that Greenman cowrote Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s memoir Mo’ Meta Blues. Which, we guess that only shows our own lack of imagination when it comes to the second jobs of Park Slope lit types. We look forward to what Greenman will do next.
Best Indie Publisher
While we hate to see publishing giants fall left and right, we’re also hopeful about some of the smaller companies rising up. Emily Books, founded and run by Emily Gould and Ruth Curry, is one such indie company that has surfaced amid the industry turmoil. Using a subscription-based model to sell one e-book a month, Emily Books offers an alternative to the Amazon monopoly and chooses intelligent, provocative texts that promise to engage readers and keep them coming back for more.
Best New Bar-Slash-Bookstore
Not that there were so many others to compete with, but regardless, we’re happy they’re doing what they’re doing.
Best Substitute for an MFA
Sackett Street Writers Workshop
MFA programs in this city are incredibly expensive, selective, and time-consuming. And their ability to broaden post-grad career options is debatable. So where should aspiring writers go to hone their craft? Sackett Street Writers Workshop, of course. Started and run by Julia Fierro (a novelist and holder of a Fiction MFA from the University of Iowa), Sackett Street offers top quality classes at reasonable prices that give all writers—even those who can’t afford grad school—a chance to be critiqued in a top-notch workshop environment.
Best Time Henry Stewart Was Mentioned In the New York Times
When the Gray Lady Mentioned his Tweet about How He Screams Like a Child
So perhaps this Best Of category is a little insidery, but if we can’t occasionally celebrate one of our own, what are we even doing? When the Astrotower started swaying on July 2, our culture editor tweeted from the scene: “Old rusted astrotower is swaying in the winds. A group of schoolkids is screaming. Me too! #coneyisland.” Both the New York Times and Gothamist quoted him, leading one commenter on Gothamist to write: “Henry Stewart is always screaming,” which he says is the weirdest thing anyone ever said about him (in public).
Best Silver Lining to a Bookstore Closing
Babbo’s Books Becomes Terrace Books
It was with a heavy heart that we learned of the closing of Babbo’s Books. It had long been our favorite bookstore in Brooklyn. What would take its place? A Dunkin Donuts? A cell phone store? No! Another indie bookstore! This one run by the good people of ParkSlope’s Community Bookstore, so the lit-lovers of Windsor Terrace can rest assured they’re in capable hands.
Best DIY Library (or the Only One?)
Loan them 10 books of your own to procure borrowing privileges from their impressively deep and multidisciplinary holdings. We have no fucking clue how they can afford to operate this seemingly profitless enterprise in the way overpriced 56 Bogart building, but we’re happy they’re there for now.
Best Long-Form Website
Twice a month, this subscription-model website releases three always-terrific stories about the borough that’re reported in-depth, whether a history of the waterfront or a look into the local underground porn industry.
Best Beat Coverage
Since this weirdly named news website decided to cover the five boroughs hard, it’s made hash of its print tabloid competitors with serious straight reporting—and, yes, some occasionally silly trend pieces.
Best New Local Blog
Bedford + Bowery
When the Times dropped The Local: East Village site, the blog (co-run by NYU) joined forces with New York magazine, expanding its scope to include Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bushwick under the new moniker Bedford + Bowery. The more on-the-ground local sites in the game, the better.
Least Welcome New Avatar
The “Brooklyn Girl”
And I couldn’t help but wonder... ugh, forget it. Just stop making Brooklyn some kind of chick-lit hub, all right, publishing industry?
Best New Bushwick Gallery for Art and Books
The gallery devotes exhibitions quite entirely to works on paper, making it a very fitting home for the press Blonde Art Books.
Best Literary Debut
The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., a 19th-century-style look at the Brooklyn literary scene, is the best book of the summer. Just read it.