The Brooklyn Book Festival announced today that noted journalist, essayist and author Pete Hamill will receive the Festival's prestigious Best of Brooklyn, Inc.-The "BoBi"-Award, which is bestowed each year on an author who has had a broad impact on the field of literature and whose body of work exemplifies or speaks to the spirit of Brooklyn. Hamill will be celebrated at City Point in Downtown Brooklyn as part of the Brooklyn Book Festival Gala Mingle on Saturday, September 22. Hamill will then be featured at the main Festival on Sunday the 23rd, in conversation with Bill Goldstein (of WNBC-TV's Bill's Books), and joining former BoBi Award winners Edwidge Danticat and Paul Auster for readings moderated by Johnny Temple, chair of the Brooklyn Literary Council.
"For me, this is a great honor, one that humbles me in many, many ways," said Hamill. "Brooklyn is my Old Country, my true home place, the place that shaped me, the place where I learned to read, to listen, to fill myself with visions. The place of music and laughter and decency, punctuated now and then by tragedy. I will carry that Brooklyn with me to my grave."
The eldest son of Irish immigrant parents, Pete Hamill was born in Park Slope, Brooklyn. He left school at age 16 to work in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and attend night classes at the Cartoonists and Illustrators School with the intent of becoming a comic book artist. After service in the U.S. Navy, he began his career as a journalist, and over the ensuing decades covered both domestic and international wars and conflicts. Hamill is the author of 18 books, including the best-selling A Drinking Life, the novels Snow in August, Tabloid City and Forever, and a collection of short stories, The Christmas Kid, to be released in October. He also served as editor-in-chief of the New York Post and the New York Daily News.
A New York City resident, Hamill has remained loyal to his hometown, which is evident in his memoirs as well as his novels, a number of which are set in Brooklyn.
The Festival established the BoBi Award in its second year, when it was awarded to Paul Auster (2007). Subsequent honorees include Walter Mosley (2008), Edwidge Danticat (2009), John Ashbery (2010) and Jhumpa Lahiri (2011).
The 2012 Brooklyn Book Festival is presented by Brooklyn Tourism and the Brooklyn Literary Council, initiatives of Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, and is proudly supported by AT&T. Additional partners include the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation and St. Francis College. Target is the official sponsor of the Children's Area. Sponsors include: Astoria Federal Savings, Boar's Head Brand, Citi, Con Edison, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, East River Ferry and National Grid. The Festival is also supported with grants from the Brooklyn Community Foundation, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, NYC & Company Foundation, and the New York State Council on the Arts. The New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge is the official hotel. Media partners include ABC, Time Out New York, The New York Times and WNYC.
Cultural and programming partners are BAM, Brooklyn Historical Society, Brooklyn Public Library, Cave Canem, The Center for Fiction, London Review of Books, The Nation, the National Book Foundation, The New York Review of Books, PEN American Center, and the Poetry Society of America.