The festival, founded by publicist Saraciea Fennell, is a direct response to the dearth of literary opportunities in New York City’s most underserved borough. There are currently no bookstores in the Bronx; the last Barnes & Noble in the borough closed its doors in 2016.
Now Fennell and a team of publishers, authors, illustrators, and media professionals have teamed up with the Bronx Community Affairs Unit to bring the first major literary event to the nearly one and a half million people who live there. Fennell raised over $30,000 on Kickstarter in just eight days for the project.
The Bronx is populated mostly by people of color, and Fennell focused on Bronx-based artists for the schedule. The keynote speakers are Daniel José Older (Shadowshaper, Star Wars: Last Shot) and Elizabeth Acevedo (The Poet X), both of whom have ties to the Bronx. Additionally, panels on young adult fiction, art as resistance, and queer authors of color will all tackle issues of diversity in publishing.
The festival takes place Saturday, May 19, from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. The event is free and open to the public. All ages are welcome. Please register here for tickets so organizers know how many people to expect. And before you go, read this excellent interview with Fennell by fellow Rioter Christina Orlando!