The Free Library of Philadelphia presents the sixth annual Philadelphia Book Festival. It’s the sort of thing that attracts school field trips. But every adult should check it out. It mostly features appearances by science writers, poet laureates, and story tellers for a more grown-up audience.
Sponsors for the book festival include ABC Channel 6, KYW News Radio and, for some reason, Krispy Kreme Donuts.
Each weeknight features a different speaker:
Monday (tonight), 7:30 p.m.: Nikky Finney
Finney won the 2011 National Book Award for Poetry for her book Head Off and Split, which focuses on emblematic people and events in African American life – figures ranging from Rosa Parks to victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.: Philip Levine
Named Poet Laureate of the United States in 2011, Levine generally focuses his work on the lives of urban working people. He has written 20 collections of poems, and won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.
Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.: Sonia Sanchez
You could have hardly a literary event in Philadelphia without the city’s own poet laureate. Sanchez uses black dialect in her poetry and writes about bigotry, poverty and drug abuse.
Thursday, 7:30 p.m.: Robert Polito discusses David Goodis (5:45 p.m.: Movie screening of The Burglar)
Born in Philadelphia, Goodis wrote pulp fiction throughout the mid-twentieth century. In the 1950s, he moved back home from New York and Los Angeles and began hanging around – and writing bout – Philadelphia’s seamy underside. Polito, who is director of writing programs at The New School, has edited a recent collection of Goodis’ novels.
Before the lecture, the library will screen the 1957 noir movie The Burglar, which was based on a Goodis novel.
Friday, 7:30 p.m.: StorySlam
Storytellers from Philadelphia and Detroit will compete with first-person tales about mistaken identity.
Saturday, all day
The last day of the festival blooms into assorted events inside the library and outside in Shakespeare Park – including children’s events and various science writers discussing Copernicus, whales and psychology.
Some events list no ticket prices. Others charge $15 for general admission, $7 for students. Check the web site for details.