Boston Book Festival brings entertainment for all


Kaitlyn Budion

Book lovers gathered at Copley Square Saturday to enjoy music, author talks and various booths at the Boston Book Festival. The annual event included visits from notable authors including Lemony Snicket, M.T. Anderson and Eileen Myles.

Norah Piehl, deputy director of the Boston Book Festival, said she felt this year was a success.

“I think we had one of our highest attendance ever,” Piehl said. “The energy of the audience and the attendees was really positive. We had a diverse and interesting group of presenters this year.”

There were several musicians who played throughout the day, including Maro, the Shakespeare Time-Traveling Speakeasy and Mayah Dyson. There were also booths from 64 different companies including Brattle Book Shop, Harvard University Press and UMass Press.

Eryn Flynn, a 15-year-old sophomore at Ashland High School, ran a booth to advertise her book. Flynn is the author of the novel “Beyond the Waterfall” and said it is about a young girl’s adventure.

“This is about a girl who finds doors to a secret world, and she finds a mythical creature living there,” Flynn said. “When she goes on an adventure to find out who and what he is, she finds out a lot more than she thought.”

Flynn said she loves Boston and has found success at the festival in the past.

“I came here last year and it was beautiful weather, just like this, and I had a lot of business,” she said. “Plus, Boston is the best city in the world in my opinion. It’s kind of bringing together something that I love — that I’ve worked hard on — to a place that I’ve loved.”

The Boston Review, a nonprofit magazine that works to encourage debate and engagement with modern issues, also had a booth set up to promote healthy debate among festival-goers. Deborah Chasman, the co-editor of the Boston Review, said her staff feels that debate is an important part of democracy.

“We want to encourage debate,” Chasman said. “What is so common in the media today is the screech and the accusations; what we want is real engagement around ideas, which is vital to a vibrant democracy.”

Chasman also said the Boston Review likes to support local causes.

“We like to support local books, literacy, everything the Boston Book Festival represents,” Chasman said. “We are a national magazine, but we also like to develop our local base.”

They had several copies of their work for sale, including their latest release titled “Global Dystopias.” Chasman said they had good business at the festival.

“It’s the first time we have more book-like issues, so I was curious to see how they would do, and, apparently, very well,” she said.

Another major draw of the festival was the variety of speakers scheduled throughout the day. There were authors of fiction, nonfiction, memoirs, young adult and children’s books, as well as sessions for writers. Speakers included Claire Messud and Jacqueline Woodson.

Isabella Guyton and Brianna Ouellette, 2016 alumnae of Framingham State University, came out together for a second year. The two said they enjoyed the atmosphere of the festival as well as the speakers.

“One of my former professors told me about it,” Ouellette said. “So we came and just got to meet a bunch of authors and it’s a great atmosphere, a good time.”

Guyton said she was most drawn to the young adult speakers.

“We really like young adult literature, so we were going to all the young adult lit panels,” she said.

Ouellette said that they were both interested in writing, and found the panels to be informative.

“We’re just here to hear them speak, because we are both into writing, so it’s always nice to hear authors talk about their process and their tips and tricks,” she said.

Piehl said she thinks that the atmosphere of the festival is one of the main reasons people come out.

“Reading is such a  solitary activity, but it’s something different to come together with tens of thousands of other people,” she said. “It’s  a really fun atmosphere around books.”