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Welcome to the schedule for BBF 2016! Please note that with the exception of the following sessions (Life without Envy, The Art of Perspective, Writing with Risk, Sound Advice, and Lore), absolutely every session at the BBF is free, and no tickets or preregistration are required. Thanks, and enjoy your day!

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Memoir [clear filter]
Saturday, October 15


De Père a Père

Pierre Simenon will present his latest book, De père à père—an autobiographical story and a posthumous dialogue with his late father, renowned Belgian novelist Georges Simenon.

avatar for Victoria Sandbrook

Victoria Sandbrook

Victoria Sandbrook is a speculative fiction writer, freelance editor and reviewer, and Viable Paradise graduate. Her short fiction has appeared in Giganotosaurus, Sword & Sonnet, Podcastle, Shimmer, and elsewhere. Victoria and her family live in Brockton, Massachusetts. She reviews... Read More →

avatar for Pierre Simenon

Pierre Simenon

The son of Belgian novelist Georges Simenon, Pierre Simenon worked as a financial analyst and portfolio manager in a private bank in Geneva before leaving for the United States in 1987, where he became an entertainment attorney in Los Angeles. A diving instructor as well as a shark... Read More →


Saturday October 15, 2016 11:00am - 12:15pm
French Cultural Center 53 Marlborough Street, Boston, MA


Memoir: The Personal Is Political
Juliette Kayyem shares many of the concerns of the voting bloc known as soccer moms, but as a former Homeland Security advisor, CNN analyst, and gubernatorial candidate, she possesses a different level of knowledge regarding terrorism, pandemics, and other catastrophes. In her memoir, Security Mom: An Unclassified Guide to Protecting Our Homeland and Your Home, she brings new meaning to the term domestic security. Nina Willner was an army intelligence officer who led sensitive operations in East Berlin at the height of the Cold War. But her connection was also personal: her mother had escaped East Germany, leaving behind parents and eight siblings. In Forty Autumns, Willner describes the shifting allegiances of the period and the difficult, in some cases tragic, lives of her relatives in East Germany. Join these two extraordinary women in an exploration of the personal and political. Moderated by Cathryn Clüver, executive director of the Future of Diplomacy Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Sponsored by Maisie Houghton.

avatar for Cathryn Clüver

Cathryn Clüver

Cathryn Clüver is the founding executive director of the Future of Diplomacy Project at the Harvard Kennedy School, which examines the challenges to negotiation and statecraft in the twenty-first century. She is also the executive director of the India and South Asia Program at the... Read More →

avatar for Juliette Kayyem

Juliette Kayyem

Juliette Kayyem has spent over fifteen years managing government responses to major crises at the federal and state levels, most recently serving as President Obama’s Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security. She has also served as... Read More →
avatar for Nina Willner

Nina Willner

Nina Willner is a former US Army intelligence officer who was stationed in Berlin during the Cold War. Since, she has gone on to promote human rights and education internationally, serving in the US State Department, various NGOs, and charitable organizations. Her debut memoir, Forty... Read More →

Saturday October 15, 2016 1:15pm - 2:15pm
BPL Abbey 700 Boylston Street, Boston, MA


Memoir: On the Margins
Four fascinating memoirs describe life lived on the edge, whether by choice or by necessity. Howard Axelrod’s deeply moving and much-lauded memoir, The Point of Vanishing: A Memoir of Two Years in Solitude, tells how a freak accident that left him blind in one eye prompted him to retreat to the woods to regain a sense of identity. Jerald Walker, whose The World in Flames: A Black Boyhood in a White Supremacist Doomsday Cult, earned a starred review in Kirkus Reviews, tells an astounding story of isolation and redemption. In Dreaming of Lions, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas recounts a life spent studying the people and, especially, the animals of Africa in what Shelf Awareness describes as an “undeniably powerful narrative.” William Giraldi’s The Hero’s Body explores, in “lucid, vibrant prose” (PW), his quest to meet his family’s stringent standards of masculinity, despite his own fondness for classical literature. Moderated by Kelly Horan, editor of WBUR’s Cognoscenti.

avatar for Kelly Horan

Kelly Horan

Kelly Horan is an award-winning public radio producer and journalist, as well as the editor of WBUR’s ideas and opinion page Cognoscenti. She has also produced special series for WBUR, including an oral history project produced for the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing... Read More →

avatar for Howard Axelrod

Howard Axelrod

Howard Axelrod’s essays have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Salon, Virginia Quarterly Review, and the Boston Globe, among other publications. He has taught at Harvard, the University of Arizona, and currently teaches writing at Loyola University in Chicago. His debut... Read More →
avatar for William Giraldi

William Giraldi

William Giraldi is a critically acclaimed author and editor whose criticism has appeared in publications including the New York Times, Oxford American, Wall Street Journal, Poets & Writers, The Daily Beast, Virginia Quarterly, and the New Criterion. He is the author of two novels... Read More →
avatar for Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas is an anthropologist, naturalist, and author of The Hidden Life of Dogs, a groundbreaking work of animal psychology that spent ten months as a New York Times bestseller. Throughout her long and varied career, Thomas has been the recipient of grants that allowed... Read More →
avatar for Jerald Walker

Jerald Walker

Jerald Walker is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a professor of creative writing at Emerson college. His writing has been published in journals including the Harvard Review, Missouri Review, the Oxford American, Iowa Review, and the Chronicle of Higher Education and... Read More →

Saturday October 15, 2016 1:30pm - 2:30pm
BPL Rabb Hall 700 Boylston Street, Boston, MA


Memoir Keynote: Susan Faludi Talks with Christopher Lydon
Susan Faludi had been, for twenty-five years, out of touch with her photographer father, a Hungarian Jew who had returned to Hungary, when she received a message from him notifying her of his sex reassignment surgery. The news set in motion both a reconciliation and an investigation. Faludi set out to understand her complicated father, whose gender identity issues were matched by his ambivalence about his identity as a Jew and his baffling identification with the very same Hungarians who had wanted him dead. Faludi’s masterful memoir, In the Darkroom, is a riveting examination not only of her father, but also of the wider cultural, historical, and identity issues at play in the formation of his character. The always inquiring Christopher Lydon, host of WBUR’s Open Source, will moderate the session. Sponsored by WBUR.

avatar for Christopher Lydon

Christopher Lydon

Christopher Lydon is an author and media personality, best known as the original host of WBUR’s The Connection and creator and host of Open Source.Links: Open Source website... Read More →

avatar for Susan Faludi

Susan Faludi

Memoir Keynote
Susan Faludi is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the author of several books, including Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man and Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction. Faludi's work has appeared... Read More →


Saturday October 15, 2016 2:15pm - 3:15pm
Church of the Covenant 67 Newbury Street, Boston, MA


Memoir: Character Studies
We think you will agree: these two memoirists are characters. Brimming with personality and hugely successful, they are not without self-awareness that is revealed, with a healthy dose of humor, in their respective memoirs. Faith Salie, journalist, actor, comedian, and Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me panelist, reveals all in Approval Junkie: Adventures in Caring Too Much. Jennifer Weiner, the unapologetic bestselling writer of “chick lit” and an outspoken critic of sexism and snobbery in the publishing world, tells her story in Hungry Heart. Come engage with these two incredible and charismatic women as they open up to moderator Lisa Mullins, anchor of All Things Considered on WBUR.

avatar for Lisa Mullins

Lisa Mullins

Lisa Mullins began her career in journalism at WBUR in 1985, as host of Morning Edition. She went on to serve for more than fifteen years as anchor of PRI’s The World, during which time she interviewed such notable figures as Kofi Annan, Colin Powell, and Hamid Karzai. In 2012... Read More →

avatar for Faith Salie

Faith Salie

Faith Salie is an Emmy-winning television and radio host, comedian, journalist, actor, and Rhodes scholar. She is a regular contributor to CBS News Sunday Morning, a panelist on NPR’s Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me!, and host of PBS’s Science Goes to the Movies. A commentator on... Read More →
avatar for Jennifer Weiner

Jennifer Weiner

Jennifer Weiner is a #1 New York Times–bestselling author whose novels have spent over five years on the bestseller list, with over 11 million copies in print in 36 countries. Her novels include Good in Bed; In Her Shoes, now a major motion picture starring Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette... Read More →

Saturday October 15, 2016 2:30pm - 3:30pm
Emmanuel Sanctuary 15 Newbury Street, Boston, MA


BBF Unbound: Eating Our Words

Food is an important cultural touchstone in literature, representing more than just full bellies; food brings characters together and highlights the differences between communities. It can be used metaphorically or as a way to define place and time. Exploring the use of food as a tool in their own writing and the writing of others are Jennifer S. Brown, whose Modern Girls shows how food can represent the assimilation of Jewish immigrants in the early twentieth century; Louise Miller, who uses food in her novel The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living as a way for her protagonist to connect to a rural community; and Dawn Lerman, who links food to physical and emotional well-being in her memoir My Fat Dad: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Family, with Recipes. Setting the table will be our host, Lori Galvin, an agent at Zachary Shuster Harmsworth and former editor at America’s Test Kitchen.

avatar for Lori Galvin

Lori Galvin

Lori Galvin is a literary agent with Zachary Shuster Harmsworth. Prior to joining ZSH, she was executive editor at the multimedia publisher America's Test Kitchen, where she helped lead a team that produced dozens of landmark cookbooks. Galvin was also an editor at Houghton Mifflin... Read More →

avatar for Jennifer S. Brown

Jennifer S. Brown

Jennifer S. Brown writes, runs, and mothers in Arlington. She has a BFA in filmmaking from NYU and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Washington. She has published fiction and creative nonfiction in The Best Women’s Travel Writing, The Southeast Review, and Bellevue... Read More →
avatar for Dawn Lerman

Dawn Lerman

Dawn Lerman is a nutritionist, bestselling author of My Fat Dad: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Family with Recipes, and a contributor to the New York Times Well blog. She has been featured on NBC, NPR, and HuffPost TV as well as several other news outlets. Her company Magnificent... Read More →
avatar for Louise Miller

Louise Miller

Louise Miller has been a baker for over twenty years and currently lives and works in Boston as the pastry chef of The Union Club. She received a 2012 scholarship to attend GrubStreet’s Novel Incubator program, a yearlong workshop for novelists. Library Journal calls her debut novel... Read More →

Saturday October 15, 2016 3:45pm - 4:45pm
Boston Common Hotel Carver 40 Trinity Place, Boston, MA


The Book Revue

At the Book Revue, authors strut their hour upon the stage. And they sing, and they show slides, and they play guitar, and they tell stories. Richard Russo, Ann Hood, Ben Mezrich and Faith Salie, joined by Berklee singer songwriter Jennah Bell, will entertain, challenge, and move you with a series of presentations inspired by their recent work. Ann Hood will talk about writing in the context of her latest novel, The Book That Matters Most. Ben Mezrich tells a compelling (and true!) tale about the hunt for UFO’s in his nonfiction The 37th Parallel: The Secret Truth Behind America’s UFO Highway. Richard Russo displays talents you didn’t know he had when he presents his latest, Everybody’s Fool. And Faith Salie tells a story from her memoir, Approval Junkie. Join us at this unconventional author event, part Moth, part TED, part cabaret and 100% bookish fun.Hosted by Henriette Lazaridis, founding editor of The Drum and author of The Clover House. Sponsored by the Boston Globe.

avatar for Henriette Lazaridis

Henriette Lazaridis

Henriette Lazaridis’s work has been published in the New England Review, the New York Times online, Elle, and elsewhere. Lazaridis is the founding editor of The Drum online literary magazine. Her debut novel, The Clover House, explores issues of exile, nostalgia, belonging, and... Read More →

avatar for Jennah Bell

Jennah Bell

Jennah Bell is an Oakland-grown singer/songwriter who pulls from a colorful palette of folk, soul, R&B, hip‐hop, and bluegrass. In 2005, while still in high school, Bell auditioned for a summer program hosted by the Grammy Foundation, where Jimmy Jam, Paul Williams, and David Foster... Read More →
avatar for Ann Hood

Ann Hood

Ann Hood is a bestselling author of nonfiction, novels, and short stories including The Knitting Circle, Comfort: A Journey Through Grief, The Red Thread, and An Italian Wife. She served as editor for the collection Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting, and her writing has appeared... Read More →
avatar for Ben Mezrich

Ben Mezrich

Ben Mezrich has authored seventeen books of fiction and nonfiction, with a combined printing of over four million copies, including the wildly successful Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions, which spent sixty-three weeks on... Read More →
avatar for Richard Russo

Richard Russo

Richard Russo is a novelist, screenwriter, memoirist, and recipient of a 1990 Guggenheim fellowship for fiction. He is the author of seven novels and two collections of short stories, including Empire Falls, which earned the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and which he adapted into... Read More →
avatar for Faith Salie

Faith Salie

Faith Salie is an Emmy-winning television and radio host, comedian, journalist, actor, and Rhodes scholar. She is a regular contributor to CBS News Sunday Morning, a panelist on NPR’s Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me!, and host of PBS’s Science Goes to the Movies. A commentator on... Read More →


Saturday October 15, 2016 4:15pm - 5:30pm
Old South Sanctuary 645 Boylston Street, Boston, MA