Kurt Vonnegut Weekend – Saturday, July 22 & Sunday, July 23!

Author Kurt Vonnegut Jr. in New York City in 1979. (AP Photo/Marty Reichenthal)

The Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library (KVML) is partnering with the Empire State Center for the Book in New York to present an exciting weekend of programming related to Indiana-born author and New York resident Kurt Vonnegut on the weekend of July 22nd-23rd, 2017. Join us to learn more about KVML, our programs, our exhibitions, our advocacy, and to buy books and other merchandise related to Kurt Vonnegut that is sure to become your new favorite item.

This program is part of a larger program operated by Empire State Center for the Book running from May 6 to October 1, 2017 on Governors Island in New York Harbor. KVML will be occupying a home built in 1855 that was used by military families until 1996. Today the island is managed by the Trust For Governors Island and the National Park Service.

You can find KVML at Governor’s Island Quarters 4B – Nolan Park from 10:00-5:00pm on Saturday, July 22 and Sunday, July 23.


11:30am – Marc Leeds discussion and book signing of The Vonnegut Encyclopedia
1:00pm – Ginger Strand discussion and book signing of The Brothers Vonnegut: Science and Fiction in the House of Magic
2:30pm – Meet and Greet with Kurt Vonnegut’s daughter Nanny Vonnegut

11:30am – Slaughterhouse Five Book Club with Director of Education Max Goller
1:00pm – Readings from KVML literary journal So It Goes, with contributors from NYC and surrounding area
2:30pm – Film showing of Long Walk to Forever, based on the Kurt Vonnegut short story and discussion with those involved in the creation of the film.

Free Lit Party on Governor’s Island for all ages – Saturday, July 8

Pen Parentis LIt Party – flyer, final

On July 8th from 10am to 5pm, Pen Parentis is joining forces with Mutha Magazine at the “Empire State Center for the Book” Governor’s Island Popup! Celebrating storytelling in all its various forms, from poetry to puppetry; novels to comics, Pen Parentis presents an entire day of story-based fun for all ages:

Meet Comic Book Artists In Residence
Hear amazing readings; buy a book if the mood strikes you
Meet the editor in chief of Mutha Magazine and the founder of Pen Parentis – and ask them anything!
Hear Pen Parentis Writing Fellows describe how it changed their lives to win this parents-only writing fellowship
Open Mic from 4pm – 5pm! Sign up during the day!
ALL DAY – (outside) Participate in the Living Lexicon
ALL DAY (inside): Writing on the Wall: Mutha Secrets
ALL DAY (inside and outside) Interactive story-based activities rain or shine!

When: July 8, 2017

Where: House 4B in Nolan Park

Time: 10am to 5pm (drop in or stay all day!)

Other: NO ADMISSIONS CHARGE – $2 Ferries depart from Brooklyn and Manhattan. Show IDNYC for a free ride. Morning ferries (to 11am) also free. Click here for ferry info.

As part of the Empire State of the Book weekend festival, join Pen Parentis and Mutha Magazine for a whole day of interactive, literary-themed activities great for all ages on Governor’s Island. Bring the kids if you have them. Or not. Your call. This is about YOU and your relationship to stories. Drop in or stay all day. No admission fees.

From 10am – 2:30 pm the sessions are appropriate for all ages, with special programming for the very young

From 2:30 – 5pm sessions are PG+ content (kids are allowed, but note that programming is adult-oriented)

11am – 1pm Pen Parentis Fellows Jess DeCourcy Hinds, Frank Haberle, and Orli Van Mourik

11am -1pm Spellbound Theatre: drop-in storytelling puppetry workshop (for the very young and their parents)

1pm – 2:30pm Ginny Wiehardt runs a poetry workshop – drop ins welcome (kids too!)

2:30 – 4pm Live-drawing by Lauren Weinstein, creator of the comics series Normel Person (The Village Voice)

2:30 – 4pm Comics Storytelling Workshop (drop-in) with Joanna Herman and Lisa Wilde and Anna Mudd – Beginners are welcome! Learn to draw comics even if you never thought you could.

4pm – 5pm Readings by featured readers Elizabeth Isadora Gold, Gabriella Belfiglio, Meg Lemke as well as open mic (sign up open throughout the day)

Brooklyn Public Library Weekend – June 24 & 25

Come to the Empire State Center for the Book house at 4B Nolan Park to join members of the Brooklyn Public Library on Governors Island. They will have librarians reading stories and doing crafts both days from 12 – 4. In addition musical entertainment will be provided.

Saturday, June 24 – 1 pm

Hopalong Andrew
Join the fun with folk songs, cowboy songs and other fun songs sprinkled in. Tunes to sing, holler and hoedown to with Hopalong Andrew! C’mon down, y’hear!

Sunday, June 25 – 1 pm

Rolie Polie Guacamole
Frank Gallo’s musical style blends acoustic rock, funk, and folk with catchy sing-alongs. Kids are encouraged to dance, shake, and use their imaginations in this musical adventure with Rolie Polie Guacamole.

Emily Dickinson Weekend June 10-11

emily dickinson

The Emily Dickinson International Society will be on Governors Island June 10 and June 11 at Nolan Park 4B for the Empire State Center for the Book.

Programs throughout the day:


“Creator—Shall I—bloom?”: Emily Dickinson’s Poetic Career
Elizabeth Petrino
Chair & Associate Professor of English & American Studies
Fairfield University

The presentation will provide an overview to Dickinson’s life and work, including her method of poetic composition. Drawing on readings of her poems and short excerpts from her letters, we will focus on two poems in particular, “God made the little Gentian” (Fr 520) and “The Soul selects her own Society” (Fr409), which offer her perspective on poetic career and literary influence.
20 min.

The Musical Parlor of Emily Dickinson: How the Dickinsons collected, listened to, and performed the music of their time.
George Boziwick
Chief, Music Division
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

The Musical Parlor of Emily Dickinson recreates the intimate setting of music-making in the home of America’s most well-known poet. A selection of popular ballads, minstrel tunes and Irish dance music from Emily’s own music book illustrates in audio examples, pictures and commentary, how the Dickinson’s collected, listened to and performed the music of their time.
20 min.



Barbara Dana

Barbara Dana reads from her novel A Voice of Her Own: Becoming Emily Dickinson, based on the young life of the poet. Dickinson’s unique voice is shared in readings of the poems and letters.
30 min.

For more information visit the Emily Dickinson International Society.

KidLit.TV Weekend – June 17 & 18

The Empire State Center for the Book will be hosting KidLit.TV on Governors Island at it PopUp House located at 4B Nolan Park the weekend of June 17 & 18. Kids and their families are invited to be part of the event. Authors & illustrators will be reading their books and teaching you how to draw characters.

Crafts for children will also be available for children in the house.

The Schedule

Saturday, June 17

12 pm – Aram Kim No Kimchi for Me

1 pm – Reading of The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Grey Bridge

2 pm – Matt Van Fleet Color Dog

3 pm – Kate Jerome Wise Animal Handbook

4 pm – Selene Castrovilla Revolutionary Rougues

Sunday, June 18

12 pm – Julie Gribble The Bubblegum Princess

1 pm – Patricia Lakin

2 pm – Fran Manuskin

3 pm – TBA

4 pm – TBA

Authors & New York May 27 & 28

New York

The Empire State Center for the Book welcomes authors and writers who live and work in New York City for two days of talks, discussion, and book signings. All events are free and open to the public, and held at Governors Island Quarters 4B in Nolan Park, an 1855 former officer’s house. This is the pop-up location for the center and the New York State Writers Hall of Fame.

The diverse group of writers represents New York City in biography, fiction, history, illustration, non-fiction, and photography. Books and illustrations will be for sale at the house.


N. West Moss’ work has appeared in The New York Times, The Saturday Evening Post, McSweeney’s, Salon, Brevity, and elsewhere. The Subway Stops at Bryant Park, published by Leapfrog Press, is her first book, a collection of short stories, all of which are connected to Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan. Moss is a second-generation New Yorker who explores the way “progress” in this city leaves behind as many as it raises up.

Mark P. Bernardo is a journalist and editor who has written about travel, entertainment, art, culture, and lifestyle topics for publications such as Maxim, Bloomberg Markets, Bloomberg Pursuits, Robb Report, and Worth. An aficionado of art history and a fixture on the New York City museum scene, his interest in Roy Lichtenstein’s work was inspired by the author’s earlier career as an editor, writer, and color artist for Marvel Comics. His new book is Lichtenstein in New York: A Pop Art Life (Roaring Forties Press).

Photographer and writer Janko Puls focuses mainly on landscapes, urbanscapes, and seascapes. The human condition is his topic though, and he finds this expressed in inanimate objects as well. Architecture, embedded in the social and geological topography, plays a special role in this context. His book is Point of View New York City.


Kevin C. Fitzpatrick has written and edited seven books with ties to New York history, including World War I New York: A Guide to the City’s Enduring Ties to the Great War and The Governors Island Explorer’s Guide (Globe Pequot). In time for the centennial of America’s entry into the Great War, World War I New York is the first guidebook to the traces of the conflict in the region.

Writer and performer Trav S.D. is the author of the popular books No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous (2005) and Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube. He has contributed to The New York Times, American Theatre, the Village Voice, Time Out New York, Reason, The Villager, and many other publications. He also writes the popular show biz blog “Travalanche”.

Ed Hamilton, who grew up in the suburbs of Louisville, Kentucky, is the author of Legends of the Chelsea Hotel: Living with the Artists and Outlaws of New York’s Rebel Mecca and The Chintz Age: Tales of Love and Loss for a New New York. His fiction and non-fiction have appeared in dozens of small journals and newspapers. Ed lives in New York City.

Jennifer E. Steenshorne, PhD. is the Associate Editor of The Selected Papers of John Jay and a historian of New York City and the trans-Atlantic world in the colonial and early national periods. She has been with the Papers of John Jay project since its beginning in 2005. Dr. Steenshorne will be speaking on John Jay’s tenure as governor of New York State, from 1795 to 1801. She will discuss the many challenges Jay faced as governor, particularly the defense of New York during the Quasi-War with France and the terrible Yellow Fever epidemics of the 1790s.

Also at the house during the day Sunday will be Carolyn Raship, an illustrator and writer. She lives in Brooklyn. Carolyn will have illustrations for sale.

Don Marquis Weekend May 20-21

Don Marquis
Don Marquis

May 20-21 is Don Marquis Weekend at the Empire State Center for the Book’s summer home on Governors Island, that glorious new park in New York Harbor between Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Donald Robert Perry Marquis (1878-1937) was a celebrated New York newspaper columnist and humorist in the early decades of the last century. Today he is remembered mostly for his stories of Archy and Mehitabel, a lowercase cockroach and a toujours gai alley cat, but in his lifetime Marquis was known equally well for the Old Soak — a hip-flask philosopher who struggled mightily during the dry days of Prohibition — and a host of other characters and farcical tales. Altogether he wrote five Broadway plays, dozens of books, and hundreds of poems and short stories.

Visit donmarquis.com for full Don Marquis biography and more.

The Center for the Book, the nonprofit group behind the New York State Writers Hall of Fame, has been given one of the former officers quarters on Governors Island for the entire summer and is allowing groups representing writers, illustrators, booksellers and publishers to use the space on weekends. Besides Don, featured weekend authors include Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Kurt Vonnegut, Dorothy Parker and Emily Dickinson.

The Center for the Book’s summer home will be on the island’s Nolan Park (No. 4B), an easy walk from the both the Manhattan and Brooklyn ferry landings. Full ferry schedule click here.

Don Marquis Weekend will feature rare photographs, letters, clippings, movie posters, and books – all of his best. We also plan to show several movies — “The Cruise of the Jasper B” (1926, silent), “Good Old Soak” (1937) and “Shinbone Alley” (1971, animated).

View a video about the weekend here


Children’s Book Weekend May 6-7

Empire State Center for the Book

The Empire State Center for the Book will host a Children’s Book Weekend on May 6 & 7 to celebrate Children’s Book Week and the opening of the 2017 Summer Season of Governors Island. The event which will include fourteen authors reading stories from their books over the course of the weekend. The readings take place on the hour from 11am to 4pm at the Center for the Book’s pop-up site at house 4B in Nolan Park.

Authors including Jeff Baron, Melanie Hope Greenberg and Robin Newman will read from their books. Their books will be available for sale and autographing. Parents and childcare givers are encouraged to bring blankets to sit upon while the authors read from the house’s front porch.

Saturday, May 6

11:30 Elizabeth Upton

12:00 Christopher Browne
12:30 Elizabeth Upton
1:00 Jackie Azúa Kramer
2:00 Rowboat Watkins
2:30 Sergio Ruzzier
3:00 Jeff Baron

Sunday, May 7
12:00 Melanie Hope Greenberg
1:00 Robin Newman
2:00 Michael Northrop
2:30 Julie Gribble
3:00 Delores Connors

Empire State Center for the Book House

Quarters 4
Quarters 4
The Empire State Center for the Book is on Governors Island in Nolan Park, in Quarters 4. This is an easy 10 minute walk from the Manhattan ferry dock, and a little more from the Brooklyn ferry. We are in a historic house that is 162 years old! About our house:

1855 Officers’ Quarters 4

The row of yellow homes that begins with Quarters 4 are historically nicknamed Generals’ Row. These were family homes for field-grade officers, majors and above. Quarters 4 is next door to one of the oldest buildings on the Island, the Commanding Officer’s home, designed by Martin Thompson in 1843. They face Nolan Park, the oldest park on Governors Island. Laid out around 1871, the park was referred to as “The Green” in old maps. It provided a park-like setting for the administrative buildings and officers’ housing built there from 1855 to1891. The park contains a wide variety of trees, including chestnuts and elms, that are among the oldest on the post.

Quarters 4 was constructed in 1855 as one of a pair of field officers’ houses on the east side of The Green (Nolan Park) as the post at Fort Columbus (renamed Fort Jay in 1904) was expanding in the 1850s. At the time Jefferson Davis was the secretary of war and the Army was attempting to make officer life more attractive with better housing. Quarters 4 is Italianate vernacular in design, marked by their boxy shape, shallow roof, dormers, and porches. The Army used standard Quartermaster General plans, so these types of homes are visible around the country on old military posts. It and the twin Quarters 5 set the form and scale for subsequent officers’ housing constructed later in the century facing the park. They were built as duplexes. While some additions have been made to the house, it retains its 19th century character. Army families lived in this home from 1855-1966. The U.S. Coast Guard occupied the home from 1966-1996.

Quarters 4 was restored and renovated by The Trust For Governors Island. It is a national, city, and state historic landmark.