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SEPT 12, BROOKLYN BOOK FESTIVAL: A chat with Marcela Landres

In case you haven’t heard, Brooklyn is hosting its Fifth Annual Book Festival on September 12 at Borough Hall/ Columbus Park. The Festival is presented by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, the Brooklyn Literary Council and Brooklyn Tourism.

The Brooklyn Book Festival is going to be an outdoor literary marketplace with 200 Authors, as well as 175 booksellers, publishers, presses and organizations….and about 30,000 visitors!

The Latina Book Club is proud to chat today with Marcela Landres, a member of the Brooklyn Literary Council and an editorial consultant, who works with Latino authors to bring their books to print.

Q: How did the Brooklyn Book Festival come to be?

New York City is the book publishing capital of the U.S., if not the world. While the major publishers are located in Manhattan, many publishing professionals such as agents and editors actually live in Brooklyn. Numerous authors live in Brooklyn, and several highly-regarded independent publishers, such as Akashic, are based in Brooklyn. Yet past book festivals in New York City took place in Manhattan, not Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Book Festival celebrates the vibrant literary community that has always existed in our fine borough, while also attracting authors, attendees, and attention on a national and international level.

Q: You are on the Brooklyn Literary Council.  What is your involvement in the Festival?

The Brooklyn Literary Council is composed of many amazing people, and I consider it an honor to be a member. We each contribute our ideas, connections, and resources to help organize the Festival. I strive to act as a bridge connecting the Festival to the Latino community in general and the Latino literary community in particular.

Q: This year, the Festival has a dozen prominent Latino authors participating. Is this the most Latino authors to ever be featured at the Festival?

I don’t recall exactly how many Latino authors participated in years past, but it is likely that this year’s Festival will feature the most.

Latino authors participating in the Brookly Book Festival, include Esmeralda Santiago, Cristina Garcia, Torrey Maldonado, Sofia Quintero, Paco Ignacio Taibo II, Charles Rice-Gonzalez, Luis Alberto Urrea , Brando Skyhorse and Martín Espada.  (For a complete list of participating authors, visit the BBF website listed at the end of this article.)

Q:  As an Editorial Consultant, you help authors shape and pitch their books. What advice do you have for new Latino authors?

I could talk for hours about what new Latino authors need to know. The bottom line is they, like all new authors, need to learn the business side of publishing. In my experience, writers who don’t bother to learn the business side of publishing are unpublished writers or unhappily published authors.

Q: What are some of the new up and coming authors we should be on the look out for?

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the publication of Charles Rice-Gonzalez’s debut novel CHULITO, a coming-out, coming-of-age love story set in the South Bronx. While Lemon Andersen is known for being a Tony Award winning spoken word artist, his memoir COUNTY OF KINGS, proves he is also a stellar writer.

Q: Who are some of your favorite authors? Books?

There are too many to list here, but my number one desert island pick would be PILGRIM AT TINKER CREEK by Annie Dillard.

Q: What are you reading right now?

I tend to read several books at once. Right now, I’m in the midst of reading ANGEL’S TIP by Alafair Burke, BOOGIE DOWN by Daniel Serrano, and THE FRENCH WOMEN DON'T GET FAT COOKBOOK by Mireille Guiliano.

Q: How many Latinos do you estimate will attend the Festival? How big are the crowds at the Festival?

My understanding is that over 20,000 people attended the 2009 Festival. This is the fifth year we’re presenting the Festival, and every year attendance has grown. Because the event is free, and no registration is required, there isn’t a method that I’m aware of to capture the racial or ethnic background of individual attendees. Having said this, I know from having personally attended the Festival every year that both attendees and presenters reflect Brooklyn’s rich diversity.♥

Marcela Landres is the author of the e-book HOW EDITORS THINK: THE REAL REASON THEY REJECTED YOU; publishes the award-winning e-zine Latinidad; and is an Editorial Consultant, who helps writers get published by editing their work and educating them on the business side of publishing. A member of the Women’s Media Group, Marcela has acted as a judge for the PEN/Beyond Margins Award, and was formerly an editor with Simon & Schuster. For more information, visit

Marcela Landres

For more information on the Brooklyn Book Festival:

To check out the video trailer “Who’s Gonna Be at the Brooklyn Book Festival” on YouTube:


Margo Candela said…
Great Q&A! Even though I can't make it the fest, I'm glad Marcela will be there doing her part.
C.M. Mayo said…
Wish I could have been there. I'm a big fan of Marcela's newsletter and recommend it often.
LaEquis said…
I wish I had heard about this fest sooner; I'm dying to go to Brooklyn. I have so many cousins there. I'm a huge fan of Marcela & met her a couple of times. Go Marcela!