Boston Book Festival returns to in-person event; thousands flock to Copley Square

COPLEY SQUARE — Thousands of book lovers, authors and their fans, and those who just wanted to get back to the region’s best events, turned out on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022.

The full day program of free events with outdoor booths in Copley Square covered “everything from the serious to the sublime, from true life to high fantasy, and every possible imaginative endeavor from architecture to music to arts and crafts for kids,” according to the Festival’s press release. Because of Covid restrictions, the Festival was held as a virtual event in 2020 and 2021.

“We are really excited to be back in person with an amazing list of presenters,” said Deborah Z Porter, the Boston Book Festival’s founder. “Our program this year embraces a breadth of subjects, genres, and authors that will appeal to diverse readers of all ages. Our mission is to celebrate the power of words while we stimulate, agitate, unite, delight and inspire our audience. I think we have hit our goals with this year’s program!”

This 14th annual Festival includes notable, bestselling authors such as Patrick Radden Keefe, who kicked off the BBF with a keynote address on Friday, Oct. 28. His new book “Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks,” follows his blockbuster, “Empire of Pain,” about the Sackler family and the opioid crisis. The lineup for Saturday, Oct. 29, of nearly 200 authors was equally impressive. Headliners included Dr. Deborah Birx, who will give a revealing behind the scenes look at how the Trump administration bungled the response to the pandemic. Bill Brett photographed her talk with Boston Public Library President David Leonard. She later signed copies of her book, “Silent Invasion: The Untold Story of the Trump Administration, Covid-19, and Preventing the Next Pandemic Before It’s Too Late.” Other authors included: Jane Pek, Bessel van der Kolk, poet Ross Gay, Rabia Chaudry, Katherine Stewart, Kerri K. Greenidge, Tomiko Brown-Nagin, Lydia Moland, Erica Chenoweth, John Della Volpe, Ruha Benjamin, Susan Rogers, Gish Jen, Yiyun Li, Claire Messud, Rachel Barenbaum, Steve Almond, Jabari Asim, Jennifer Haigh, Laird Hunt, Ben Mezrich, B.A. Shapiro, Tochi Onyebuchi, Rory Power, Kristin Cashore, Elizabeth Lim, Tui T. Sutherland and B. B. Alston.

Also, part of this year’s BBF, Peter Brown, talked about his science fiction middle grade novel, “The Wild Robot,” the 2022 recipient of the Massachusetts Children’s Book Award (MCBA), which was chosen after voting by students in grades four to six from communities throughout the state. Brown is a New York Times best-selling author and Caldecott honoree. In addition to the Kids Keynote and the MCBA, there was an array of sessions, story times, workshops, costume characters and even a scavenger hunt for kids.  

The Festival’s venues were: Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St., Boston MA 02116; Old South Church in Boston, 645 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02116; Church of the Covenant, 67 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02116; Goethe-Institut German Cultural Center for New England, 170 Beacon St., Boston, MA 02116; Boston Architectural College, 320 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02115; and, Room & Board Boston, 375 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02115.

All photos by Bill Brett

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