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Book news: Brooklyn book fest, McDonald passes, Rich rises

September 10, 2008 | 12:31 pm

Joandidion0910

The Brooklyn Book Festival will be the center of the literary universe this Sunday, Sept. 14: Joan Didion, Richard Price, Jonathan Lethem, Dorothy Allison, Russell Banks, A.M. Homes, George Pelecanos, Terry McMillan, Jonathan Franzen, Susan Choi, Esmeralda Santiago, Thurston Moore, Paul Beatty, Jacqueline Woodson, Chuck Klosterman, Jimmy Breslin, Pete Hamill, Nikki Turner, Elizabeth Nunez, Ed Park, Pico Iyer, Gail Carson Levine, Cecily von Ziegesar, Chris Myers, Jane O’Connor, Jon Scieszka and Mo Willems are among the authors scheduled to appear. Why would any reader be anywhere else?

James Franco, who will play Allen Ginsberg in the movie "Howl," didn't stop with his bachelor's in literature at UCLA. He's now getting his master's in creative writing at Columbia, and the bobby-soxers are mobbing the bachelor.

Gregory McDonald, author of the Fletch books, has died; blogger Ed Champion has a tribute (which notes that the Chevy Chase film didn't have the wit of the novels).

"Saturday Night Live's" youngest-ever writer, Simon Rich (he's 24), who has already published two books, is at work on his first novel. He tells NY Magazine's Culture Vulture that he aspires "not to die a violent death." Should be easy, as long as he stays away from the thirty-, forty- and fiftysomething authors who have not yet been published by the New Yorker or gotten book deals. Which might mean skipping the Brooklyn Book Festival.

— Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Axel Koester / For The Times

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