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Book Fairs

So, Anybody Going to Frankfurt?

clipart-byebye-flyers.jpgWe’ve never been to the Frankfurt Book Fair, and that’s not going to change this year, but as long as crowdsourcing is all the rage these days, we might as well issue a call to GalleyCat readers who are lucky enough to go to Germany next week: If you see something, say something! To us, that is. Which we can then tell everybody else. Oh, and pictures, if you’ve got a digital camera you’re carrying around for some reason.

Same goes to anybody who’s headed to Baltimore for the World Mystery Convention this weekend: We’d love to hear from you!

Scenes from the Book Festival Circuit

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Last week, Jen A. Miller caught up with Curious George at the Ocean County Book Festival in central New Jersey. Tomorrow, the author of The Jersey Shore, Atlantic City to Cape May is sticking a bit closer to home—apparently, the Collingswood Book Festival is just two blocks away from her home.

And here’s another picture from last weekend’s Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance trade show in Mobile, Alabama, where Helen Hemphill introduced herself to August State University professor Michael N. Searles, better known as “Cowboy Mike.” Her new novel, The Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones, is based in part on the life of Nat Love, one of the most famous African-American cowboys. (Check out his autobiography…)

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If you’re at a book fair this weekend and you remember to take your camera, let us know what went on!

SIBA BBQ Brings New England, Southern Publishers Together

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The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance held their annual trade show in Mobile, Alabama over the weekend, and Nashville-based Turner Publishing teamed up with Vermont’s Chelsea Green for a “Fire and Brimstone Barbecue.” Turner president/publisher Todd Bottorff and Chelsea Green sales director Peg O’Donnell posed with authors Frank Durham and Diane Wilson. (We don’t know how hot the BBQ sauce was; we presume the “fire and brimstone” thing came about because of the subject matter of the books—Wilson’s memoir deals with growing up in a “holy roller” church in Texas, while Durham’s novels starts in central Louisiana and then turns out to have, you should pardon the expression, honest-to-God biblical overtones.)

PW reporter Kevin Howell filed a report on the weekend’s highlights, including a brief quote from Bottorff, who is publishing Durham’s novel, Cain’s Version, as the launch title for a new imprint specializing in Southern fiction, about the advantages of regional shows like SIBA—”a great place to meet independent booksellers who may not make the trip to BEA.”

Housing Works Moves Street Fair to Sunday

If you were planning to come into Manhattan tomorrow to find some bargains at the fourth annual Housing Works Bookstore Café “Open Air Book Fair,” be advised: the inclement weather has led the store to move the sale to Sunday afternoon. Now you’ve got some strategizing to do: Come early and catch the first wave of “more than ten thousand books, records and CDs, DVDs and VHS for a dollar a piece”? Or wait until late afternoon, when you can stop inside the store for a group reading by American and Slovenian poets co-sponsored by Ugly Duckling Presse and Literatura magazine?

There’s a Place Called Omaha, Nebraska

omaha-groupshot.jpgThey set up a photo booth at the opening night reception for the fourth annual (downtown) Omaha Lit Fest, and GalleyCat wound up in a group portrait with festival organizer Timothy Schaffert, hometown-memoirist-made-good Rachel Shukert (who let slip that she’s moved on from her current publisher, Villard, having sold her next book to HarperPerennial), and featured guest of honor Charles Bock. As you can see, we tried to fit independent publicist Lauren Cerand into the frame, but with only partial success. (She made up for it afterwards.)

GalleyCat took part in two of the day-long event’s panels, beginning with a discussion of plagiarism and fraud that covered most of the usual suspects—although we spent a substantial chunk of time on Laura Albert, in large part because one of the other panelists, Laurie Stone, was one of the first people to introduce readers to “JT LeRoy,” in the 1998 anthology Close to the Bone; the bloom is off that rose, that’s for sure, and it’s not purely objective literary criticism, either. (At one point, one of the other panelists commented that Albert was “clearly a disturbed woman,” at which point this correspondent may have reflected how odd that was, given the overall levelheaded stability of literary fiction writers; the observation was also made that, judging by the reaction to James Frey‘s novel, the media was unlikely to give Albert a chance to be anything but “the woman who used to be JT LeRoy” any time soon.) Anyway, we didn’t even get to talk about “Margaret B. Jones,” but somebody did throw in an Ian McEwan reference, which was a nice curveball…

Later that afternoon, Publishers Weekly journos Claire Kirch and Jonathan Segura joined GalleyCat and Cerand to discuss the current state of the publishing industry. We agreed that while book publishing faces significant challenges, it’s far from dead or even dying. For that matter, reports of its death may come as some surprise to successful independent publishers scattered throughout the United States—as someone else commented afterwards, beyond the immediate surroundings of Manhattan, the news that New York had declared publishing doomed was probably along the lines of “Wait, when did the New Yorker write about the book business?”

The YA Scene @ Brooklyn Book Fest

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Novelist Melissa Walker sent some pictures she took with her BlackBerry at Sunday’s Brooklyn Book Festival, focusing on some of the events that spotlighted YA literature. At one panel, Cheetah Girls creator Deborah Gregory and Gossip Girl creator Cecily von Ziegesar revealed how television adaptations distorted their original characterizations; “Cecily feels particularly sad about the portrayal of strong Vanessa on the show as a bit meek,” Walker noted. That panel was moderated by Dream Girl author Lauren Mechling.

Then there was the panel on “teen identity” with Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, Sarah Mlynowski, and David Levithan—we’ve been seeing the poster for the film based on the novel he co-wrote, Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist, and it looks like it could be pretty fun!

Field Dispatches from the Brooklyn Book Fest

nancy-ellwood-brooklyn.jpgUnable to attend the Brooklyn Book Festival ourselves, we asked you to tell us about it, and DK publicist Mindy Fichter reported that the company had “another banner year” at Borough Hall Sunday afternoon, quickly selling out of all the books that it brought to the event, including all the copies of Sharkpedia that Nancy Ellwood (left) signed for readers.

The Ephemerist sent a link to a write-up of the New York Review of Books panel, where what was supposed to be a discussion about “the challenges and opportunities that will face the next American presidential administration” apparently turned into another round of liberal fascination-revulsion with the Republican Party’s “power of belief.” And celebrity comic book blogger Bully sat in on a panel with Kyle Baker and Mo Willems, during which they talked about, among other things, how to shrug off negative criticism, when you can provoke it, and how book festivals are sometimes the only time they hear from fans…

So How Was the Brooklyn Book Festival?

As far as we know, GalleyCat didn’t have any correspondents in the field at yesterday’s Brooklyn Book Festival, so we’ll ask you: Was it fun? Who did you see? What were the most exciting panels? Anybody get any good pictures, like the ones the festival organizers sent us from Kathryn Kirk of Jimmy Breslin, Pete Hamill, and Marty Markowitz chatting for one audience while an even larger crowd of—we’re told—20,000 milled about outside?

Send us URLs or leave notes in the comments section…

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(So why did we skip, you ask? Speaking only for myself, I was busy preparing for “Inventing the Past,” a panel I’ll be moderating tomorrow night at the Mercantile Library Center for Fiction, where I’ll be talking to José Eduardo Agualusa, Philippe Grimbert, and José Luis Peixoto about how their latest novels deal with the themes of history and memory. It’s co-sponsored by the world-literature-in-translation enthusiasts at Words Without Borders, and it should be a very lively discussion—see you at 6 p.m.?)

No Sleep Till Brooklyn

didion3.jpgEverybody and their brother will be at the Brooklyn Book Festival this weekend. Everybody includes: Joan Didion (pictured), Thurston Moore, and A.M. Homes.

For those unacquainted with the borough, Brooklyn Based has a great guide to the festivities. For those unacquainted with the line-up, Ed Park has the scoop on his star-studded appearance with Chuck Klosterman and Charles Bock.

If all that literary action puts you in the writing mood, then maybe you should sneak off to one of novelist Kate Christensen’s favorite Brooklyn writing spots and indulge yourself.

BEA “Author-Preneur” Discussion Now Online

clipart-headphones.jpgI spoke at two panels on book marketing at this year’s BookExpo America, one focused on publishers’ efforts to reach readers online and the second on how writers can “balance authorship and the new business of brand-building.” That second panel has been posted as a BEA podcast, so if you weren’t able to make it to the expo, or you were setting up your company’s booth while the panel was going on, now you can hear what literary agent Betsy Amster, events planner Kim Ricketts, and novelist/blogger Mark Sarvas have to say about effectively promoting your work without losing sight of the creative drive that made you a writer in the first place. (With marketing consultant Kevin-Smokler leading the conversation smoothly, I should add.)

The MP3 clocks in at just over 41 minutes—perfect for the commute home? Of course, if you’re not interested in self-marketing, the BEA organizers have podcasts of several other panels, on topics ranging from the Chinese publishing market to the books librarians are most excited about this fall.

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