The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

Boston Book Festival celebrates 15 years of literary community

Ananya Kulkarni
Festival attendees walk amongst the tents at Boston Book Festival. The event took place in Copley Square Oct. 14.

Boston’s readers gathered in Copley Square Saturday to celebrate their love of books. The 15th annual Boston Book Festival brought together scholars and nonprofits, authors and their devoted readership. 

The festival caters to readers of all kinds: The schedule was color-coded by genre with authors of adult, young adult and children’s books represented. Centered around the Boston Public Library, the event sprawled onto Copley Square and into the historic Old South Church.

Local literacy and education groups tabled outside the library’s main entrance. Olivia Arnold, a Northeastern alumna and employee of 826 Boston, a writing and tutoring nonprofit based in Roxbury, said that the event was important to build a connection with the community.

“Today at the festival we are selling books and magazines that are completely student-written,” Arnold said. “We’re here to get the word out about some of our work.”

The Horn Book, a publication focused on children’s book reviews, reached new audiences at the event. 

“We primarily work with librarians, teachers and educators,” said Shoshana Flax, an associate editor at The Horn Book. “Today we’re connecting with a lot of parents who might not otherwise know about us. They can use us as a resource to find books for their kids.”

Grassroots organizations like 826 Boston and The Horn Book were joined by major institutions like GBH News, the event’s primary partner. Annie Shreffler, an audience impact producer at GBH, said that she and her colleagues came to the event to connect with the public.

“It’s part of our job to bring the public into our editorial process,” Shreffler said. “It’s our time to do some listening instead of covering. Trust [in the news] is in the toilet right now. We have a lot of work to do to restore trust in the news.”

A GBH News employee explains an informational pamphlet to a festival-goer. GBH was the event’s primary partner, and employees at the stand attempted to connect with the public in order to help restore trust in the news. (Ananya Kulkarni)

Despite some worries about the future of reading and the bleak weather, the mood at the festival was optimistic. Ria Lowenschuss, a freshman at Wellesley College, worked at Wellesley Books’ table wearing a shirt that read “I read banned books.”

“It’s my first time here and I love it; the environment is so welcoming,” Lowenschuss said. “So many people here didn’t come for the book festival but they stumbled upon it and they’re excited.”

Volunteers wearing bright red t-shirts were stationed throughout the library and outside the building. 

“I saw an advertisement about the event on the bus and I decided to go,” said Lucy Oster, a volunteer who recently moved to Boston. “I wanted to be a bit more involved in the event because I’m trying to set down roots here and I want to be around books. I’ve loved getting to talk to new people and finding my own way around the library.” 

The festival spanned the length of the day, offering attendees a wide variety of programming each hour. Visitors could listen to readings from recently-debuted novels, attend a panel about the queer horror genre and hear keynote speeches from headliners like Rick Riordan, author of the popular Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. 

“We were just in an audience of 750 people … who are all excited to be learning, reading and sharing knowledge,” said Aviva Brooks of Brookline.

Brooks said she loves the environment of the festival and attends it every year.

“I was just telling my friend, ‘How lucky are we to live in a community that really honors books and is so excited to be here?’” she said. 

About the Contributors
Kathryn Manning, Projects Editor
Katy Manning is a third-year politics, philosophy, and economics major with a minor in law and public policy. She has been writing for the news since Fall 2021, and has previously served as deputy city Editor and Copy Chief.
Ananya Kulkarni, Managing Editor
Ananya Kulkarni is a third-year political science and journalism major and is also pursuing a minor in graphic design. She is design editor of The News and has previously served as beat writer for the men’s and women’s rowing teams. Follow her on Instagram (@ananya_kulkarni_media) for updates!
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