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Authors On Display At Brooklyn Book Festival

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This weekend Borough Hall will be the destination for book lovers, as it holds its largest annual Brooklyn Book Festival yet. Borough reporter Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.

Author Amy Sohn, one of more than 220 authors featured at this year's Brooklyn Book Festival, is reading from her new novel "Prospect Park West," a satirical look at modern motherhood in Park Slope.

"People have really strong opinions as to what it means to be a mom today," says Sohn. "And I think because the moms in my book are very strong characters, it's opening up a little bit of controversy, which is always a good thing."

The local event, which is centered at Brooklyn Borough Hall and runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., now has an international presence in the literary scene.

"Though the book festival is set here in Brooklyn, and there will always be a Brooklyn flavor, it is truly an international book festival," says Johnny Temple, chairman of the Brooklyn Literary Council. "We have authors from all over the world here. We have writers from Cuba, from Africa, from Latin America."

The free literary event includes a children's area. Brooklyn author Judi Barrett will read from her book "Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs," which was made into a soon-to-be released movie, while writer Sahar Simmons will introduce kids to "Briana's Neighborhood." Youngsters can also tag along with Carlos the dog as the author Maureen Sullivan tells of his tales in Coney Island in "Custard and Mustard."

"Nothing will ever compare to the feel and the smell and the excitement of a book," says Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. "Turning those pages and flying as high as you can using your imagination."

The festival itself is flying high, and is now considered one of the biggest in the country, comparable to those in Miami and Los Angeles.

This year, the Best of Brooklyn Award for Literary Greatness will go to Edwidge Danticat, who was born in Haiti and spent much of her childhood in Brooklyn.

"It's designed to honor an author not necessarily living in Brooklyn but has a very strong association with Brooklyn, who has a body of work for us to celebrate," says Temple.

Danticat and Sohn will be part of programs and panel discussions at Sunday's festival. For more information on the Brooklyn Book Festival, visit www.visitbrooklyn.org or call 1-718-802-3846.

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