AM NEW YORK // Bronx Book Festival latest in borough’s renewed push for literary prowess

The Bronx has a rich literary tradition, with classics such as E.L. Doctorow’s “Billy Bathgate” and Colum McCann’s “Let the Great World Spin” set in a borough that’s been home to everyone from Edgar Allan Poe to Mary Higgins Clark.

But the borough itself is not traditionally known as a hot spot for local bibliophiles, in the fashion of areas in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Yet over the past few years, Bronx locals have begun writing a new chapter in that story.

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Valerie Wong
EL DIARIO // El primer Festival del Libro llega a El Bronx el próximo 18 de mayo

Mientras Brooklyn tiene el festival literario gratuito más grande de la ciudad de Nueva York, El Bronx no tiene ni una sola librería. Y es por ello que Fennell, de 29 años, quiere que el Condado de la Salsa tenga las mismas oportunidades de impulsar su larga y vibrante tradición literaria. Todo ello la animó a utilizar las redes sociales en busca de apoyo para su iniciativa y comenzar una campaña de ‘crowdfunding’ (pequeñas donaciones) para recaudar fondos y hacer realidad su proyecto.

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Valerie Wong
REMEZCLA // The Bronx Is a Book Store Desert. Saraciea Fennell Wants to Change That With This Book Festival

Despite its large population, the Bronx is a book store desert. Noëlle Santos is currently working to rectify this by opening The Lit. Bar, the Bronx’s only bookstore. (Barnes & Nobles was previously it’s only book store, but recently shut down.) And now another Afro-Latina is pushing to bring the New York City borough a book festival. Saraciea Fennell – a publicist in the publishing industry of Honduran ancestry – is hoping to make the Bronx Book Festival a reality in May.

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Valerie Wong