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January 2, 2008

Brooklyn's Literary Community Supports Fight Against Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards Project

[Press Release]

Brooklyn's Literary Community Supports Fight Against
Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards Project
Proceeds From Anthology of Original Work to Benefit
Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn
In Bookstores Starting Today

JANUARY 2, 2008—In a selfless show of support for the forces allied against Forest City Ratner's proposed Atlantic Yards development, celebrated local authors have contributed original essays to a new anthology that pays tribute to the borough they love. The twenty novelists, memoirists, poets and journalists donating their work to Brooklyn Was Mine (Riverhead Trade Paperback Original; January 2, 2008; $15), were motivated by their commitment to Brooklyn and its future--a future threatened by a development that is overwhelmingly dense, grossly out-of-scale with its surrounding neighborhood and will divide and dislocate area residents.

"Brooklyn has given birth to some of America's greatest literary voices," note the anthology's co-editors, Chris Knutsen and Valerie Steiker. "Today, a new generation of authors has grown up or resettled here, a testament to Brooklyn's unique quality of life. These writers simply want to protect a community that has provided them with so much. Fortunately, the passion they feel for the place has yielded a vibrant collection of essays—and we are delighted that, with each book sold, something will be given back to Brooklyn." All of the proceeds from Brooklyn Was Mine will benefit Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB).

"Brooklyn is a raucous amalgam of communities and neighborhoods, of new and old, of questions and attempts at answers," said DDDB spokesman Daniel Goldstein. "Brooklyn Was Mine represents that glorious mishmash. Our organization works tirelessly to promote and protect this fragile miracle, and the authors' generous donation of their work to this anthology will go a long way in helping us achieve our goals."

Of the anthology's twenty authors, four (Jonathan Lethem, Jennifer Egan, Robert Sullivan, and Phillip Lopate) are members of DDDB's Advisory Board; all of the contributors, however, are passionate about the cause they have chosen to support. "We should all be grateful," says Lethem, "that the brave handful of folks who refused to be bought out of their homes put the brakes on this process before it was too late."

Taken together, the essays provide a deeply personal view of the borough's rich history, as well as intimate takes on contemporary life. In "Reading Lucy," Jennifer Egan introduces readers to Lucy--a woman who worked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard during World War II and wrote almost daily letters to her husband overseas. Jonathan Lethem's "Ruckus Flatbush" is a wild, dystopian ride into Brooklyn's future, meant to serve as a warning shot to the barbarians at the horizon. In "A Coney Island of the Mind," Katie Roiphe remembers the thrill of riding the famous Cyclone rollercoaster while on a date with her future husband. Colin Harrison's "Diamonds" details Brooklyn's, and his own, ongoing love affair with baseball. And in "You Can't Go Home Again," John Burnham Schwartz writes about the changing face of the borough his father left––only to return when his son took up residence there. With humor and insight these essays draw on the past and present to create a compelling collection––one that is as colorful and diverse as the borough that inspired it, and as generous of spirit as the cause it supports.

"Who is to say what will become of the place, or whether Brooklyn will retain its soul?" asks Phillip Lopate in his poignant introduction. "Whatever happens to Brooklyn," he answers, "its literary soul is sound and robust, and its writers fiercely loyal."

With essays by:
Emily Barton, Susan Choi, Rachel Cline, Philip Dray, Jennifer Egan, Colin Harrison, Joanna Hershon, Jonathan Lethem, Dinaw Mengestu, Elizabeth Gaffney, Lara Vapnyar, Lawrence Osborne, Katie Roiphe, John Burnham Schwartz, Vijay Seshadri, Darcey Steinke, Darin Strauss, Alexandra Styron, and Robert Sullivan.
And an introduction by Phillip Lopate.

About the Editors:
Chris Knutsen is a senior editor at Vogue. Formerly he worked as an editor at GQ, The New Yorker, and Riverhead Books. He is the co-editor of the literary anthology Committed: Men Tell Stories of Love, Commitment, and Marriage. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughters.

Valerie Steiker is the author of a memoir, The Leopard Hat: A Daughter's Story, and a senior editor at Vogue. She previously worked at Artforum and The New Yorker. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son.

About Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn DDDB, a volunteer-run and community-funded 501c3 non-profit corporation, leads a diverse community coalition advocating for responsible, democratic, community-based development that will unite Brooklyn's communities instead of dividing and destroying them. For four years now DDDB has led the ongoing opposition to Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards development proposal in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. That struggle is still to be resolved. For more information, visit: www.dddb.net/php/aboutdddb.php

"Brooklyn Was Mine" Book Readings:

Wednesday, January 9, 7:30pm.
Park Slope Barnes and Noble (267 7th Avenue at 6th Street). Brooklyn.
Authors contributing to the new anthology "Brooklyn Was Mine" will be reading from their work. The authors for this night's reading are:

Jennifer Egan
Susan Choi
Darin Strauss

Tuesday, January 15, 7pm.
BookCourt (163 Court Street near Pacific Street). Brooklyn.
Authors contributing to the new anthology "Brooklyn Was Mine" will be reading from their work. The authors for this night's reading are:

Emily Barton
Darcey Steinke
Alexandra Styron

Edited by Chris Knutsen and Valerie Steiker
Riverhead Trade Paperback Original; January 2, 2008

Posted by steve at January 2, 2008 9:37 AM