Your Guide to the 2016 Boston Book Festival

Don't miss Kelly Link, Frank Gehry, or Susan Faludi.



The Boston Book Festival is back, with a kickoff event on Friday (a discussion of film adaptations with a trio of ringers: Tom Perrotta, Emma Donoghue, and Maria Semple at 8 p.m. at Old South Sanctuary) and a day full of sessions on Saturday. But with dozens of events to consider, how do you decide what to attend? We’ve got some ideas, whether you’re looking for nonfiction, children’s events, or some insight into the memoir process. Below, our guide to what to see.

Keynotes, Keynotes, Keynotes

The festival has a few different keynote events, all with some serious heavy-hitters. Don’t miss Cambridge local Susan Faludi discussing her memoir, In the Darkroom, about her father’s late-in-life gender transition. at . The memoir covers fascinating territory, from Faludi’s own struggles to understand her father’s desire to return to her Hungarian homeland, to Faludi’s research about her father’s efforts to evade the Nazis during World War II, to questions of modern Hungarian culture. She’ll be in conversation with WBUR’s Christopher Lydon. Read her interview with Boston here. 2:15 p.m., Church of the Covenant

Colson Whitehead’s book The Underground Railroad reimagines the titular system as an actual series of trains aiding slaves in their escapes. The book has been selected by Oprah Winfrey for her book club and lauded by no less than President Obama. Whitehead, who’s also known for The Intuitionist and Sag Harbor, will be in conversation with poet Saeed Jones, who is the executive editor of Buzzfeed culture. 12:45 p.m., Emmanuel Sanctuary

Architecture fans will want to grab a seat early for Frank Gehry’s conversation with architecture critic Paul Goldberger, with moderation duties provided by co-founder of the MIT Media lab, Nicholas Negroponte. Goldberger is also Gehry’s biographer. 11 a.m., Trinity Sanctuary

Fiction fans

We can’t blame you if reality is stressing you out a little right now. If you’re sticking to fiction for the day, you have a few options. Try Fiction: Turning Classics Inside Out, which presents three authors with new takes on existing stories. A retelling of the King Lear story (Elizabeth Nunez), a tale told from the point of view of Wuthering Heights narrator Nelly Dean (Alison Case), and a new look at the evil stepmother (Kat Howard) are on the schedule for this session. 12:30 p.m., Emmanuel Parish Hall

Crime fiction fans should try Crime Fiction: Cold Comfort, which will have Joseph Finder, Chris Holm, and Hank Phillippi Ryan all discussing why we love to read about such dark subjects. 11:15 a.m., Emmanuel Sanctuary

Don’t miss the session for author Kelly Link, whose short story, “The Faery Handbag,” was selected to be this year’s One City One Story reading. Free copies are available, so hurry up and read it before Saturday. She’ll be in conversation with Alicia Anstead, a reporter and author and former Nieman fellow. Link, who lives in Northampton, most recently published the short story collection Get in Trouble, which was a Pulitzer finalist this year. 2:45 p.m., Trinity Forum

For a younger audience

There’s plenty to see for both young adult readers and kids. Kami Garcia, who co-wrote the young adult series Beautiful Creatures, will be the keynote YA speaker, where she’ll be in conversation with YouTuber Samantha Lane. Garcia’s newest book is The Lovely Reckless. 11 a.m., Church of the Covenant

Jon Klassen, the Caldecott-winning author of This Is Not My Hat, brings his hat trilogy to a close with We Found a Hat. He’ll be discussing his artistic process with Elissa Gershowitz in the kids’ keynote session. And yes, the festival is encouraging you to bring your own hat. 10:30 a.m., BPL Rabb Hall

Also on the teen end of things is YA: It’s Complicated, which features authors whose books navigate the tricky relationships that teens often encounter, whether with family members or the people they’re dating. Guests include Melissa de la Cruz, Jennifer Niven, Rebecca Podos, and Jordan Sonnenblick. The panel will be moderated by YA novelist and blogger Ellie Moreton. 3:15 p.m., BPL Teen Central

Off the beaten path

If you’ve always wondered which authors have secret other talents, this one’s for you. The BBF swears this one is “part Moth, part TED, part cabaret and 100% bookish fun” and features local author Ben Mezrich (discussing tales from his research on his UFO book, The 37th Parallel: The Secret Truth Behind America’s UFO Highway), musician Jennah Bell, Ann Hood, Richard Russo, and Faith Salie. 4:15 p.m., Old South Sanctuary

For more on all sessions and other information, visit