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Brooklyn Book Fest marks seventh year

KAREN JUANITA CARRILLO Special to the AmNews | 9/27/2012, 2:36 p.m.

You would have found the young urban street lit author Alieu Mansaray out promoting his books this past Sunday, Sept. 23, at the seventh annual Brooklyn Book Festival.

Mansaray explained that he had sold books at last year's Brooklyn Book Festival as well, but it had rained then and he hadn't sold as many book units as he wanted to. "This year I'm doing better," he smiled. "I'm interacting with readers more."

Mansaray was but one of the more than 280 authors showcasing their work on the final day of the Brooklyn Book Festival. Authors, magazine representatives, publishers and more were featured in booths that spread out over the entirety of downtown Brooklyn's Borough Hall Plaza. The day's events even included readings and panel discussions in nearby Brooklyn Heights locations. The festival was another opportunity for book lovers to check out the latest titles in the literary marketplace and find subjects that appeal to their interests.

For Mansaray, it became another chance to show off his novel series called "Life Redemption." He has four of the books written so far for what he is planning as a nine-part series. The "Life Redemption" saga traces the story of a young man born in Sierra Leone whose parents are murdered. The boy, named Abdul but who later answers to the nickname "Al," is claimed by his father's best friend, and sent to the U.S. "Life Redemption" traces Al's life as he grows up in New York City, makes friends with other young men of varied ethnic backgrounds and faces new challenges.

Mansaray is publishing the series under his own imprint, Sierra Leone Prince Publishing. The Washington Heights resident says he reads authors like Eric Jerome Dickey and Terry McMillan, and has also delved into the Harry Potter series and is up on the latest vampire fiction books.

"I tend to like reading books. My imagination is just my basic escape, so I tend to use writing as my way of escaping from doing anything negative," Mansaray said as he described how he wrote a total of four books since 2009. "Right now I'm trying to write a vampire novel on my own. Because we as urban street writers--most novel writers don't take us seriously. So what I'm going to do is I am going to try to transition into writing a vampire novel; I'm working on it right now. It's going to be called 'Vampire: The Origins.' It's going to be based on Biblical scriptures and the Quran and it will look at vampires as fallen angels."

For Brooklyn-based author Adrienne Anderson, the festival proved the first chance she has had to promote her new work, "Living With Sarcoidosis: Defying the Odds." Anderson's book describes her own personal journey as someone living with the condition. "Sarcoidosis is a multi-systemic disease that can affect any organ in the body," Anderson explained. "Nobody knows what causes it, but for me, primarily, it affected my lungs for many years, and in 2009 it affected my brain."