José Martí Weekend October 14 & 15

Jose Marti

José Martí Weekend on Governors Island will be October 14 and 15. This weekend’s program aims to further widespread interest in José Martí, one of the greatest writers in the Spanish language and someone whose legacy to the City of New York cannot be underestimated.

All events take place in English, in the Empire State Center for the Book pop-up house on Governors Island, Quarters 4B, Nolan Park (right next to the Admiral’s House, whose gardens General Winfield Scott Hancock once tended).

“Cuidaba en silencio, en la linda isla del Gobernador, a la entrada de Nueva York, de los jardines y canteros que allí embellecen la morada del mayor-general del ejército del Este…”

“On lovely Governors Island, at the entrance to New York City, [Winfield Scott Hancock] silently tended to the gardens and flowerbeds that grace the home of the Major General of the Army of the Atlantic…”

—José Martí, “El General Hancock,” written in New York City, February 12, 1886; published in La Nación (Buenos Aires), March 26, 1886

The weekend is presented by:
* The Department of Modern Languages and Comparative Literature, Baruch College, CUNY
* The Ph.D. Program in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Languages, CUNY Graduate Center
* Centro Cultural Cubano de Nueva York
* The Empire State Center for the Book

The event is free and open to the public. We will be collecting funds for the Hispanic Federation on behalf of hurricane victims in the Caribbean, and ask that you consider donating whatever you can.

Schedule of events:

11:30 a.m.
Emma Otheguy introduces and reads from her new bilingual book for children Martí’s Song for Freedom / Martí y sus versos por la libertad. Martí scholar Anne Fountain joins her for a conversation about “Guantanamera.”

12:30 p.m.
Cuban painter/photographer Geandy Pavón shares the haunting vision of a hidden and wrinkled Martí that recurs in his work.

1:30 p.m.
Baruch professor Esther Allen, reveals the strange history of the equestrian statue of Martí that stands in the heart of Manhattan, and CUNY grad student Wilfredo Burgos Matos reads his translation of the crónica about Governors Island

2:30 p.m.
Scientist and Baruch Dean Aldemaro Romero Jr. dissects Martí’s connections with the celebrated 19th-century Cuban zoologist Felipe Poey.


11:30 a.m.
Baruch College professor Rick Rodriguez analyzes Martí’s views on the U.S. South and the American Civil War.

12:30 p.m.
Raquel Vinat of Cuba’s Instituto de Historia introduces three remarkable women, all abolitionists and exiles, whose lives intersected Martí’s in New York City.

1:30 p.m.
Historian Jorge Dominguez offers irrefutable evidence of where Martí spent his last months in Manhattan in 1894-1895, before departing on his fateful journey back to Cuba, to lead the island’s armed struggle for independence from Spain.

2:30 p.m.
New York University historian Ada Ferrer addresses the issue of race, and Martí’s handling of it, in Cuba’s struggle for independence.

Lambda Literary Day on Governors Island – Sunday, September 24

This past August, Lambda Literary hosted their annual Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices in Los Angeles, California (August 6-11).The Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices was established in 2007 and is the first of its kind ever offered to LGBTQ writers: a one-week intensive immersion in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, young adult fiction and playwriting.

The Retreat is an exceptional opportunity to be mentored by the very best writers in our community, to develop one’s craft, make connections with publishing industry professionals and build a strong community of peers.

Join us at the Empire Styae Center for the Book house, 4B Nolan Park on Governors Island to celebrate some of this year’s Fellows and hear them read their work.

Readings will take place from 1-4:30pm.

List of Readers:

Romana Soutus
Ricky Tucker
Theodore Kerr
Whitney Porter
Lourdes D Follins
Kay Ulanday Barrett
Rajat Singh
Joanna Eng
Omotara Jones
Michael Shayan
Annette Covrigaru
Quentin Grief
Nahshon Dion Anderson
Frederick Mckindra
Annette Covrigaru

Sherlock Holmes Weekend on Governors Island

Sherlock Holmes

Join us out on Governors Island for a weekend in celebration of Sherlock Holmes! Admission is free! Come to Nolan Park 4B, a short walk from the Manhattan and Brooklyn ferries. September 16-17, 11:00 AM to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Governors Island Ferry information

Sherlock Holmes Weekend is hosted by the Empire State Center for the Book. We will be out in Nolan Park in one of their lovely homes spending the day discussing Sherlock Holmes and the communities surrounding him.

Join us for talks, lectures, podcasts, a study of local communities, and just general enjoyment for the leading detective of mystery.

Quarters 4
Quarters 4
The Event is Free and open to all! Bring your deerstalker and come enjoy a day talking about the Great Detective!

Saturday, September 16th

Ira Matetsky, local Sherlockian and scholar, will be leading a discussion on Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes, and the Sherlockian World.

Christopher Zordan, a member of the Baker Street Irregulars, will be discussing from his field Holmes, Science, and the application of the Scientific Method.

Join Andy Heidel, proprietor of The Way Station and artist Eric Hamilton as they discuss Holmes’ influences in mysteries and geekdom from their book True Crimes from Rhymes Square and Andy’s newest book coming out soon The Cocktail Guide to the Galaxy..

2pm – 4pm
Priory Scholars of NYC will be leading an introduction to Sherlockian Scions. Ever wanted a way to meet up and discuss the Master? Various groups all over the US have dinners, meetings, and events that provide interactive opportunities with quizzes, discussion, and usually a chance to peel apart a case and take part in the Great Game. Stop by to see what it’s all about and how you can get involved!

Sunday, September 17th

Join us for a 221B open house! Ask questions, get information, and come see what Sherlock Holmes is about and how you can get involved in the community that stretches out internationally.

Katie Woodward, right off her artist residency at Bryant Park, will be leading a 221B and Sherlock Holmes Figure Drawing session! Bring your sketch books as Tiffany Rae Knight poses as a Steampunk take of Sherlock Holmes.

After your sketching session, talk about fashion and costuming within the Sherlock Holmes universes with Tiffany and designer Elicia Lord. They’ll be geeking out about constructing your own, the history of costuming in the Sherlock fandom, and how costumes play a part in the Cannon.

Members from Three Patch Podcast will be leading us in a discussion on Fandom 101! Come as they talk about Holmes, Sherlock BBC, and the other incarnations of how Sherlock Holmes has spread through popular culture and communities.

Amy Beshara Music, fiddler extraordinaire, will be sitting down with Tiffany from The Baker Street Babes to record a Live and Local Podcast. Amy is joining us straight back from her trip to Nepal. We’ll be picking her brain on the Violin, Nepal, and the types of instrument Holmes himself may have picked up on his travels- and how it would have shaped his own playing.

Marx Brothers Weekend on Governors Island


Marxfest presents A MARX BROTHERS WEEKEND! Come hang out with us in an historic house on Governors Island, NYC, and cling to the last moments of summer with a bunch of Marx Brothers fans, the Marxfest Committee, and members of the 2016 cast of I’ll Say She Is.

Events will include a walk-through exhibit; Marx-minded talks, discussions, readings, and music; and “A Deep Dive into CRACKED ICE — Duck Soup Before Duck Soup!” The full schedule is below.

Admission is free! Come to Nolan Park 4B, a short walk from the Manhattan and Brooklyn ferries.

Governors Island Ferry information

MARX BROTHERS WEEKEND is hosted by the Empire State Center for the Book.



12:00 pm: SCREENINGS!
(Rarities, Napoleon, Marxfest)

(Kevin Fitzpatrick, Trav SD, Kathy Biehl, Noah Diamond)

2:00 pm: TRIVIA!
(You Brett Your Life with Brett Leveridge)

(With Bill Zeffiro)

Duck Soup Before Duck Soup!
(Featuring members of the Marxfest Committee and the 2016 Off Broadway cast of I’ll Say She Is: Kathy Biehl, Melody Jane, Brett Leveridge, Jonny Porkpie, Matt Roper, Trav S.D., Seth Shelden, Matt Walters, Noah Diamond)


12:00 pm: SCREENINGS!
(Rarities, Napoleon, Marxfest)

(Trav S.D., Jonny Porkpie, Frederick Wemyss, Jim Beckerman, Noah Diamond)

2:00 pm: TRIVIA!
(You Brett Your Life with Brett Leveridge)

(Trav S.D.)

(The Marxes as Memoirists; Noah Diamond, Seth Shelden)

The Fitzgeralds Join Governors Island Jazz Age Weekend Aug 26 & 27

Zelda Sayre and F. Scott Fitzgerald pose for a photo at the Sayre home in Montgomery, Ala., in 1919, the year before they married.
The immortal Jazz Age couple Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald will be celebrated on Governors Island with their very own house on August 26 and 27. As part of the Empire State Center for the Book, which brings weekly literary events to the island, fans and enthusiasts of the Fitzgeralds are invited to come to two free days of programming. All events are in the Center’s house, Nolan Park 4B.

Just a short walk from the Brooklyn and Manhattan ferries, the talks, readings, and discussions are open to the public and free. The events are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The special guest is author-editor Anne Margaret Daniel ( on Sunday at 2:00. Ms. Daniel is the editor of the #1 Fitzgerald book this year, “I’d Die For You: And Other Lost Stories” (Simon and Schuster). This collection of previously uncollected short fiction has been warmly received. NPR said, “”A treasure trove for Fitzgerald enthusiasts, scholars, and aspiring writers… an invaluable glimpse into a brilliant but struggling writer’s process.” Selections from the book will be read both days at the house. Copies will be available.

All guests are encouraged to come in their finest 1920s-1940s attire, in the spirit of Scott and Zelda. The same weekend on Governors Island is the famous Jazz Age Lawn Party, created by Michael Arenella. The distance to the JALP is five minutes’ walk, across the Parade Ground.

The Empire State Center for the Book, which promotes reading and literacy in New York, is on Governors Island all season. The organization is located in an 1855 former officer family quarters on Generals Row. Follow signs to Nolan Park; the home is next door to the commanding general’s house (look for the two cannons).

Willa Cather Weekend – August 19 & 20

Cather Weekend on Governors Island
August 19-20, 2017

**FILE**Willa Cather, American author and 1923 Pulitzer Prize winner, is seen in this undated photograph. Cather’s family has donated a collection of more than 350 personal letters to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The majority of the letters are from Cather to her brother Roscoe Cather, his wife and two daughters. They contain detailed accounts of the author’s life, work and opinions, the university said Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2007.(AP Photo)

The Willa Cather Foundation (WCF) is partnering with the Empire State Center for the Book in New York to present exciting programming related to renowned author and former New York resident Willa Cather. Join us to learn more about the WCF’s new museum and archive, the National Willa Cather Center, as well as our programs, events, and publications. We’ll be offering Willa Cather books and other merchandise as special giveaways. Information on a self-guided walking tour of Cather’s New York City will also be available throughout the weekend. You can find the WCF at Governors Island Quarters 4B – Nolan Park, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 19 and Sunday, August 20.

Saturday, August 19th

11:30 p.m. – Willa Cather’s Life in Letters

When Willa Cather was nine years old, her family moved from Virginia to Nebraska. Early years in Webster County and in Red Cloud did much to shape the life and imagination of Willa Cather. Through short excerpts from her letters, guests will discover Cather’s life through her own words. We begin with a curious young girl on the plains of Nebraska, embark on her quest to establish herself professionally in Pittsburgh and New York, and listen as she later reflects on all her worldly success.

1:30 p.m. – Willa Cather, Poet: Making Herself Born

Before Willa Cather went on to write the novels that would make her famous, she made a mark as a poet. Her first book, April Twilights (1903), was a collection of poetry and her poems were published and reprinted in national magazines and in anthologies. Cather significantly revised and expanded her first book in a 1923 edition entitled April Twilights and Other Poems. This presentation by Cather scholar Robert Thacker will draw on readings of her poems and short excerpts from her letters. We will share “new” Cather poems that were published in the Everyman’s Library Pocket Poet series of April Twilights and Other Poems.

2:30 p.m. – Selected Readings from The Song of the Lark

The Song of the Lark (1915) is the story of an artist’s growth and development from childhood to maturity. More particularly—and decidedly more rarely—it traces the development of a female artist supported by a series of male characters willing to serve her career. Inspired by Willa Cather’s own development as a novelist and by the career of an opera diva, The Song of the Lark examines the themes of the artist’s relationship with family and society, themes that would appear in virtually all of Cather’s fiction.

3:30 p.m. – Selected Readings from My Ántonia

Willa Cather’s My Ántonia (1918) is one of the most significant American novels of the twentieth century. Set during the great migration west to settle the plains of the North American continent, the narrative follows Antonia Shimerda, a pioneer who comes to Nebraska as a child and grows with the country, inspiring a childhood friend, Jim Burden, to write her life story. The novel is important both for its literary aesthetic and as a portrayal of important aspects of American social ideals and history, particularly the centrality of migration to American culture.

Sunday, August 20th

11:30 a.m. Willa Cather’s Life in Letters

1:30 p.m. Selected Readings from The Song of the Lark

2:30 p.m. Selected Readings from My Ántonia

Visit to learn more or call 402-746-2653.

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.