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The Bronx Book Festival Is This Weekend!

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Matt Grant

Staff Writer

Matt Grant is a Brooklyn-based writer, reader, and pop culture enthusiast. In addition to BookRiot, he is a staff writer at LitHub, where he writes about book news. Matt's work has appeared in Longreads, The Brooklyn Rail,, Huffpost, and more. You can follow him online at or on Twitter: @mattgrantwriter

This Saturday, May 19, the first-ever Bronx Book Festival takes place at Fordham Plaza.

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.

bronx book festival

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 whole thing kicks off this Friday, May 18, with a party at the Bronx Brewery. Tickets are just $2 and you can get them here.

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!