Copley Square will be buzzing with scholarly excitement as the Boston Book Festival gears up for this Saturday. With dozens of free events and over 150 presenters, the festival celebrates the power of reading and writing in all fields—literature, science, politics, art, and others—and facilitates discussions among authors to spread ideas and enhance the culture of the city. The first two events, Memoir Keynote and Fiction Keynote, will be held on Thursday and Friday night at 8 p.m. in Old South Sanctuary. The rest of the events will take place between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday in a variety of places. The full schedule can be found here, but a list of some of the best events to visit can be found below:
Technology: Promise and Peril
The advances made by technology in the past decade are moving at an exponential rate. Technology has undoubtedly enhanced daily life, but is society’s dependence on computers dangerous for mankind? This question will be debated by optimists Andrew McAfee, co-author of The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies, and David Rose, author of Enchanted Objects: Design, Human Desire, and the Internet of Things, versus the skeptic Nicholas Carr, author of The Glass Cage: Automation and Us, at 11 a.m. in the Old South Sanctuary, 645 Boylston St.
Africa: Looking on the Bright Side
Dayo Olopade, author of The Bright Continent: Breaking Rules and Making Change in Modern Africa, exposes the unseen perspective of struggling African countries. Instead of the current perception of impoverished families and barren landscapes, Olopade enlightens the public to the creativity and inventiveness the African people develops to combat the difficulties of the continent. Two MIT professors, David Sengeh and Calestous Juma, will join her at 12 p.m. in the Old South Mary Norton, 645 Boylston St.
According to Benjamin Barber, author of If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities, local authorities are currently gaining more influence than the national government. Reacting to Barber’s theory will be Mayor Martin J. Walsh, WCAS ’09, former mayor Thomas Menino, Mayor Dan Rivera of Lawrence, and Mayor Lisa Wong of Fitchburg. This lively dialogue on the progressively important role of local officials will be at 12:30 p.m. in the Old South Sanctuary.
A variety show featuring five nonfiction authors discussing an eclectic assortment of topics, ranging from a crime story to the social hierarchy of a dog park, will be held at 4 p.m. in Emmanuel Parish Hall, 15 Newbury St. The roster includes Jessica Lander, author of Driving Backwards, Michael Blanding, author of The Map Thief, Robert C. Pozen, author of Extreme Productivity, Lawrence Lindner, author of Saving Baby, and Matthew Gilbert, author of Off the Leash. Each author will give a 10 minute presentation on the topic of his or her work and the show with be emceed by Jared Bowen, host of Open Studio on WGBH.
Fiction: Love and Loss
Authors Leah Hager, author of No Book but the World, Jaime Clarke, author of Vernon Downs, and Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You, address the common literary motifs of both familial and romantic love and loss. These writers will discuss the dramatic repercussions of the entanglement of these themes at 4:45 p.m. in the Old South Mary Norton building.
Poems and Pints
Looking for a way to end a packed day filled with literature and lectures? Mass Poetry sponsors the perfect ending to a perfect day—poetry, food, and drink. The lineup for the event includes Major Jackson, poetry editor of the Harvard Review, Jill McDonough, author of Where You Live, and Kirun Kapur, reading his debut collection, Visiting Indira Gandhi’s Palmist. After speculating of possibility of computers’ world domination, reflecting on the ingenuity of African people, learning about a mayor’s potential overthrow of the national government, listening to authors make reading nonfiction fun, and feel the heartbreak of romance and death between characters of fiction, head over to Storyville Lounge, 90 Exeter St., at 5:30 p.m. to unwind and consider what book you will read next.
Featured Image by Breck Wills / Heights Graphic