BED-STUY (PIX11) — The first stop of the Black Girl Book Fest kicks off this Saturday at Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn.

The lush lawn at the Weeksville Heritage Center will transform from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and host local bookstore vendors, local businesses, food trucks, a wellness station, and a spoken word stage with music by DJ AQ. Books are Magic, Cafe Con Libros, and Adanne Books, are just a small sample of the bookstore vendors to purchase from.

Black Girl Book Fest was born out of Kayla Simmons’ Instagram platform blackgirlbookadventures, as a way to center, amplify, and celebrate black women and black non-binary people’s contributions to literature.

“I felt the need for this, community, through me loving books and interacting with other black girls who love books. We need something for us to celebrate the contributions of black women to literature,” Simmons said.

Being brought to the book fair as a child but not seeing her experience reflected in the novels available was another inspiration for Simmons to create the festival. She explained that the idea had been brewing since she lived in Texas, and she fell in love with Weeksville Heritage Center at a Juneteenth event.

Weeksville’s architecture made it the perfect location for the picnic-style festival, where readers can bring a blanket and hang out on the grass to mingle or read their new purchases.

“The concept is we want people to come and stay. There are going to be tons of free books as well. But we want people to stay and engage and meet new people.”

There’s also an option to swap books with other participants thanks to a community-based initiative Blk Book Swap. Trae Higgs, the founder of Blk Book Swap and the project manager for BGBF, was an integral part of the cultivation of the festival.

“Her being by my side throughout the whole planning process has been a game-changer. She has been phenomenal and her work in the book world has been something to be celebrated as well,” Simmons noted.

Simmons explained BGBF is a traveling fest, set to make stops in Los Angeles, Houston, Atlanta, and Chicago. However, its first location in Brooklyn “was strategic.”

“It feels like a love letter to Brooklyn, taking me in. You know, moving here a year ago and it already feels like home.” Simmons shared.

For more information and tickets to the book-fair-filled festivities, click here.

Charline Charles is a digital journalist from Brooklyn who has covered local news along with culture and arts in the New York City area since 2019. She joined PIX11 News in 2022. See more of her work here.