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This isn't a new topic for me but there is something special about this post: I am cross-posting with fabulous school librarian (former School Librarian of the Year, no less!) Duncan Wright, both of us writing from our own point of view but aimed at informing the other. So, I'm writing about what authors (writers or illustrators) would usually like from event organisers and Duncan has written here about what organisers need from authors. Both are in the spirit of positivity and mutual respect. We think it's good when each "side" can see it from the other's pov - though, of course, in almost every way we are both on the same side!
I have a document (on my events page) to send to organisers before my events but that is just my needs. What follows below aims to apply to all or most authors and to act as a general guide.
TIPS FOR AUTHOR EVENT ORGANISERS Your visiting author wants the event to be brilliant and whatever you hoped when you booked that author. We aim to give our best performance every time. That's our job and our desire but there are things you can do that will make that easier - or harder...
All authors are different. Some find events exhausting, because of the energy involved in talking to new audiences all the time; others find them relatively easy. We have different needs, but the following are pretty common.
CONTACTING YOUR AUTHOR
Choose one you really want, and know why. Explain why when you send the invitation. Read any event details on their website so you know they're right for you.
If you absolutely have to ask for a reduced fee, please do this with a) respect and tact and only if you genuinely have to and b) fully understanding what you're asking: a working person to give up part/all their wages for the day (or more). We have to account for preparation, discussion, admin, travelling, and an event fee is not an hourly fee. Most of us earn very little and then only when someone pays us. There are ways of asking for freebies but if you don't get that quite right it's incredibly undermining. We bruise very easily! (To understand more, see here.)
Be as clear as you can about what you want, though we realise that may not be possible. Ideally, know your budget, so discussions can start from there.
DURING INITIAL DISCUSSIONS
Agree exactly what you're paying for. Agree expenses, too. If an overnight stay is required, most (but not all) authors value the privacy of a hotel or B&B rather than staying with a host. I know many authors who are too embarrassed to say no to accommodation with a lovely librarian in case they seem rude: it's just that privacy is really important to many and affects sleep and energy.
Agree time-table details. And inform about changes well in advance, as it affects preparation.
Try not to send eleventy million emails. Although getting all the info is crucial (on both sides), try to do it smoothly, so that neither of you spend tooo much time on it and it's easy to find later.
Discuss whether and how bookselling can be part of the event.
Be really clear about what you need from the day - we want to provide what you want but we're not psychic.
LEADING UP TO THE EVENT
Ensure pupils know who the author is and what he or she has written. It’s good if they prepare questions – it helps make the event their own. Most authors have websites: get pupils to use them!
Make sure relevant staff know about the visiting author, too. That increases value as staff can follow up.
Check what tech and other equipment is needed. And make sure it works!
If you've agreed bookselling, do ensure that pupils are told (often!) that they need money. Pupils often discover they want to buy a book but very often don’t bring money. The letter that you carefully wrote may not reach them or they may have forgotten. If bookselling goes wrong, it’s upsetting and embarrassing – and costly when the author paid for the books. (By the way, we don't earn much per book.) Sometimes, you’ll do everything right and the message still won’t get through, of course, so don't worry that we're going to think badly of you. We just need to know you tried your best.
Make sure no one will be filming or recording. Check with the author how they feel about photos. Personally, I’m happy to have photos taken (well, not happy exactly…) after/between events but not during.
Discuss refreshment needs and make sure there is water and whatever else you feel is going to help the author perform well.
Tell the author as soon as possible if a pupil might be upset at certain themes because of a recent personal tragedy or difficult situation. (I was once told, while walking towards the hall for a talk about Fleshmarket, that I couldn't talk about the first chapter because a pupil had recently been bereaved. If you know about Fleshmarket, you'll understand my problem...)
ON THE DAY
Plan your introduction to the audience. A lively introduction makes a huge difference to everyone's mood and excitement – and flattery helps, bringing energy to both the pupils and author! (NB Illustrators are authors, too - never undermine an illustrator's part in an illustrated book by saying anything to suggest that one is more important than the other.)
Provide water and a table to put things on. (And anything else you've agreed.)
I recommend you give the author a few minutes' headspace before each talk. Don't hassle with chat about the weather at this stage: we may not look nervous but will probably welcome the need mentally to go over what we're about to say. On the other hand, if the author seems very chatty, go with that! I sometimes am and sometimes am not - please don't take it personally.
Bookselling (if you have agreed this): supply a table and chair for the author to sign at. Ensure that pupils don’t crowd round (I’ve been knocked off my chair like that!) You need someone to handle the actual selling while the author signs. Decide what, if anything, can be done to accommodate those who haven't brought money but want a book.
Remind or tell the audience what you've agreed about photographs and that they may not film or record (unless the author has agreed otherwise.) Make sure phones are off and out of sight.
Refreshment and breaks: make sure whatever you've agreed with the author is in place.
A note about refreshments and breaks
Here's where I start to sound a bit nutty, but I've learnt that without the refreshments and breaks that I need, my brain starts to seize up. Most especially, I need breaks: little pockets of peace between talks. (For clarity, "peace" means not having to chat...) Lots of authors feel the same about the need for peace and may not tell you but I’ve decided it’s so crucial to my wellbeing and performance that I need to make a big point of it! I do like chatting and I am friendly but it's tiring.☺
So, here's what I tell event organisers. (As I say, not everyone's the same. But you'll find many are.)
"My talks are energy-intense and afterwards my blood sugar will dive. I have very basic requirements but I do need time to myself at some point. I am delighted to be sent out to get a sandwich at lunch, or for you to give me a plate of food in the staff-room and time to gather my thoughts for the next event. Please do not feel that you need to entertain me. I’m an introvert (which does NOT mean I’m shy; far from it – just that conversation and social interaction tax my brain more) and I need recovery time between events. Of course, it’s lovely when other members of staff and management want to meet me and chat – and I can happily chat for Britain – but please make sure I get chill-out time as well, especially immediately before an event, otherwise the talk won’t be as good. In short, my only needs are: a sandwich (eg), something to drink and a bit of time on my own. And the time on my own is the more important bit because I'll have brought my emergency fruit and nut supply anyway. I told you: nutty!
"I have no food allergies or special requirements but was once given a raw onion sandwich at a school event and now feel the bizarre need to request NO raw onion. Thank you!"
PLEASE DON’T (MOST AUTHORS WILL AGREE):
Suddenly ask the author to “pop into this class and talk to them” if we haven’t agreed this in advance.
Feel that you have to entertain us, unless we've specifically asked for a song and dance routine.
Introduce us with the phrase, "X needs no introduction."
Leave us alone with pupils – this is a condition of our Public Liability insurance and not because we are scared!
Send (or escort) us along convoluted corridors (or even, in my case, one straight corridor) to the toilets and expect us to find our way back. Authors have disappeared like that.
Allow teachers to sit and mark books - please ask them to be involved in the talk; I know they are very busy but everyone will gain much more if they are properly engaged and it's very off-putting when someone is sitting there not listening. (Actually, it doesn't bother me hugely but it bothers some people a LOT. And it's rude.)
Tell us (as you're walking us towards the first talk, especially) how utterly GREAT so-and-so was and how he as the best speaker evah.
Worry about anything. If you’ve done all the above, it’s going to be a great day.
Remember that we want exactly what you want: a great event that people will talk about for all the right reasons. Almost none of us are prima donnas (or whatever the male equivalent of that is) and anything that sounds like a pompous "demand" is really really really only so that we can give you our best event. But most of us are fragile: this whole authory thing is very exposing and our career, reputation and emotional wellbeing are on the line. And so, if you want to earn our undying gratitude, just do one more thing, if you possibly can: say "Well done - that was great." And gosh, I hope it was, because I worked hard to make it so.
A while back I tackled the ticklish problem of how we present ourselves at readings, festivals, author visits - any time we are obliged to get out of our pjs and face the public. That post focused on women writers and their clothes dilemmas. With men writers, there are fewer versions of shirt/trousers, sweater/trousers, jacket/trousers to get wrong. But there is one thing - one vital decision - that I would like to address today - and that is ...
Nobody said being a writer was going to be easy - here's wishing you luck in your decision. P.S. Apropos of nothing writerly, I'm a big fan of this video too - Yo Mama. Joan Lennon's website. Joan Lennon's blog.Add a Comment
A Celebration of Maud Hart Lovelace & the Betsy-Tacy books!
June 26 – 30, 2015
Make plans to attend this event. Fun for the entire family!
Activities include: Betsy & Tacy House Tours, Betsy-Tacy Neighborhood Tour, Narrated Horse-drawn Trolley Rides, Discover Deep Valley Bus Tours, Deep Valley Victorian Tea, Book Festival, Fashion Show, Play, Living History Actors, Programs, Speakers & Re-enactments, Gift Shop & Exhibits & Music, Vintage Car Show, food & crafts and more!
Registration form and schedule is in progress and will be posted very SOON!
We are excited to announce that Melissa Wiley will be the feature speaker at the Deep Valley Homecoming (DVH) this summer. Melissa Wiley is the author of The Prairie Thief, Fox and Crow Are Not Friends, and the Inch and Roly series, as well as Little House in the Highlands and seven other novels about the ancestors of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Melissa wrote the forward to the HarperPerennial ModernClassics 2010 edition of Carney’s House Party and Winona’s Pony Cart by Maud Hart Lovelace.
Joining Melissa Wiley as featured speaker will be Nancy McCabe, author of From Little Houses to Little Women. Her book is a memoir about her return to the beloved books of her childhood and travel to places related to her favorite authors, including Laura Ingalls Wilder, Maud Hart Lovelace, Lucy Maud Montgomery and Louisa May Alcott.
Melissa and Nancy will participate in the Deep Valley Book Festival on Sunday, June 28 and will each speak during the DVH programs on Monday, June 29. We’ll have more details about what you can look forward to from these authors and all of our other speakers and presenters in the coming days.
The talented Roxyanne Young took these photos of my talk on Middle-Grade and Chapter Books at SCBWI-San Diego last weekend and kindly gave me permission to use them. My school visit/speaker page needs a massive updating and I’m so grateful to have some recent images to include.
Apparently I talk with my hands a lot? What’s funniest to me is that this Boston Bay slide was onscreen for barely a minute. That’s an awful lot of glasses-waving going on there.
The rest of my slides were all about other people’s books—my favorite things to talk about, as you know. Here’s a taste:
(Just a sampling from the Chapter Books part of the talk.)
To find the oldest living thing in New York City, set out from Staten Island’s West Shore Plaza mall (Chuck E. Cheese’s, Burlington Coat Factory, D.M.V.). Take a right, pass Industry Road, go left. The urban bleakness will fade into a litter-strewn route that bisects a nature preserve called Saw Mill Creek Marsh. Check the tides, and wear rubber boots; trudging through the muddy wetlands is necessary.
The other day, directions in hand, Rachel Sussman, a photographer from Greenpoint, Brooklyn, went looking for the city’s most antiquated resident: a colony of Spartina alterniflora or Spartina patens cordgrass which, she suspects, has been cloning and re-cloning itself for millennia.
Not simply the story of a cordgrass selfie, Sussman’s pursuit becomes contextualized by the lives—and deaths—of our fragile ecological forbearers, and her desire to document their existence while they are still of the earth. In support of the project, Sussman has a series of upcoming events surrounding The Oldest Living Things in the World. You can read more at her website, or see a listing of public events below:
Imagining Deep Time(a cultural program of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC), on view from August 28, 2014 to January 15, 2015
Who is Burt Hooton? Your guess is as good as mine, or more likely, it’s better than mine. My answer is he’s no Mickey Lolich, but that’s because I grew up in Detroit—though, as Susan Sontag would say, Under the Sign of Jack Morris. But back to your guess—if you’re schooled in Cubs lore, come to the Wrigley Centennial Trivia Showdown on Wednesday, May 28th, at the Harold Washington Library, in celebration of the year that brought you the births of Sun Ra, Julio Cortázar, and a certain stadium. Your hosts are Stuart Shea, doyen of Cubs history, and the Chicago Tribune’s Rick Kogan, and you can win t-shirts, plates, commemorative posters, and gift certificates to Birrieria Zaragoza, Clark Street Sports, Girl and the Goat, The People’s Garment Company, & Tales, Taverns, and Towns.
Hillary L. Chute spent a significant portion of the past decade studying, hanging out with, and interviewing many of the artists whose iconic images have helped define contemporary graphic arts. In Outside the Box: Interviews with Contemporary Cartoonists, Chute collects these interviews in book form for the first time, delivering in-depth discussions with twelve of the most prominent and accomplished artists and writers in comics today, and revealing a creative community that is richly interconnected yet fiercely independent. The interviewees include Lynda Barry and Alison Bechdel, Charles Burns and Joe Sacco, and even a never-before published conversation between Art Spiegelman and Chris Ware.
In addition to unparalleled access into the cartooning world, Outside the Box also puts narrative power into the hands of this cast of masters—without whom our eyes (and ears) would not take in such gripping stories.
For Chicagoans, Chute will talk about the book and her experiences as documentarian and scholar of the cartooning community at two upcoming events:
From left to right: Suzanne Santillan, me, Edith Hope Fine, Joy Raab, Virginia Loh Hagen, and Lori Mitchell at last week’s Greater San Diego Reading Association Authors’ Fair, held at Pacific Beach Elementary School. Photo shared by Lori Mitchell on Facebook. (Thanks, Lori!)
It was a pretty incredible day. I had sessions with two classes and then a booksigning. Both classes have been reading The Prairie Thief aloud, and it just so happened that the 5th-grade class was up to the Big Reveal chapter near the end of the book. I’ve never gotten to read this to a group of kids before! I usually read a section near the beginning, so as not to give away any of the book’s surprises, and when the class told me where they were in the book and asked me to read the next chapter, I was over the moon. Their reactions at the moment of the reveal were delightful and immensely gratifying. They jumped and and cried out in surprise. It was exactly the sort of reaction I hoped for when I wrote the book. What a treat for me to get to experience that moment with them! And then we had a nice long Q&A and they asked fantastic questions, really thoughtful stuff. Love love love.
The second class, a 4/5, blew me away with the papers they had written about Prairie Thief! And what timing, coming right after our conversation last week about how authors feel about critical approaches to their work. These kids did some serious analysis and I was very impressed by the quality of their writing. They, too, had a million questions for me about craft (seriously—they are studying it) and reading and lots of things.
Huge thanks to all the folks who helped put the fair together. A splendid day all around.
She passed by the SCBWI booth at the San Diego Central Library grand opening celebration where I was signing books, and I dashed down the street after her, hollering “Miss Rumphius! Miss Rumphius!” like a loon. Because I was Just That Excited to see her, lupines and all! She’s my role model, after all.
(Instead of lupines, I plant milkweed.)
The library celebration was marvelous. I never actually made it into the new building for the sneak peek! The line was four blocks long when I arrived for booth duty at noon. But I had a wonderful time visiting with Edith Hope Fine, Cynthia Jensen Elliott, and my other fellow local children’s authors at the SCBWI booth and chatting with our friends at Yellow Book Road on one side of our table and the very nice Mysterious Galaxy folks on the other—along with author Mary Pearson, whom it’s about time I met in person after all this time being Facebook friends, and YA author Kiersten White, whom I know from Twitter, and whose new book sounds very much up Rose’s alley. (Human daughter of ancient Egyptian gods: you have her at hello.)
(Isn’t that the most gorgeous cover?)
The street fair covered many blocks and was one of the best I’ve ever been to. San Diego Mini Maker Faire was there—I’m counting the days to the December event (December 7th, Del Mar Fairgrounds; spread the word!)—and lots of other interesting artisans and entertainers.
Not Miss Rumphius.
The Maker Faire booth. I finally got to see a 3D printer in action! It made that orange comb right before onlookers’ eyes. At least, I think it did. I wasn’t there for that part.
Happy to say I signed many copies of The Prairie Thief! And perhaps my favorite sight of all (after Miss Rumphius, of course) was this mother and son who sat down to read Fox and Crow on the spot.
I’ll have to make another pilgrimage downtown soon (with the kids, this time) to see the inside of the beautiful new library that was thirty years in the making.
While I don't often put press releases on this blog, every now and again I make exceptions. The incomparable Jack Gantos will be speaking at the 92nd Street Y on Saturday, May 11th. I suggest you run, not walk to get yourself to this event. I was lucky enough to witness Jack's Newbery speech for Dead End In Norvelt, and I have to say, he is unparalleled in the public speaking arena. Follow the link for tickets!
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Next thing, for San Diego locals: My signing’s on Saturday! Yellow Book Road @ beautiful Liberty Station in Point Loma, 3pm. Come! Say hi! Eat cookies! Listen to me attempt a Scottish accent! (Serves me right for writing characters in dialect.)
We have an excursion to City Farmers Nursery planned for this afternoon. Rilla is planting her own butterfly garden. (The one that spans the width of our backyard isn’t enough for her, evidently.) She’s making a list. Excuse me, I mean a LEIST. So far, she’s got:
Last night, I had the pleasure to present award certificates and deliver the keynote speech at the Rhode Island Center for the Book's 2012 Letters About Literature Awards.
Letters About Literature is a national reading and writing program of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, presented in partnership with Target and supported locally by RICB.
60,000 young readers from across the country participated, including nearly 800 Rhode Islanders. Students were asked to submit letters describing how an author's work -- novel, non-fiction, poetry -- changed their view of the world or helped them realize something they didn't know about themselves.
With a focus on reader response and reflective writing, one winner and several honorable mentions were chosen in three competition levels, ranging from grades 4 through 12.
I had the chance to read the winning letters beforehand, and heard them read-aloud by the winners at the event. All of the letters had a powerful narrative voice and displayed a talent and wisdom beyond the young writers' years.
It was honor to present the students with their awards, and an inspiration to hear their words. All in all, it was evening I won't soon forget.
Below is a transcript the address I gave to the students, their families, and members of RICB.
Keynote Address by Anika Denise Rhode Island Center for the Book Annual Meeting and Letters About Literature Awards Williams Hall Library, Cranston, Rhode Island June 4, 2012
Good evening, everyone. First, I want to say thank you to the Rhode Island Center for the Book for inviting me here to speak to you tonight. It’s an honor and a privilege. Not to mention, great fun to be spend an evening celebrating reading, writing, and the books that inspire us! So thank you, for including me in the festivities. There's even balloons... it's a party!
Second, I’d like to CONGRATULATE all the winners, honorable mentions in the Letters About Literature Competition.
It takes courage to submit your words, to participate… to put something of yourself out there into the world to be judged. Writers must do this all the time. And it’s never easy.
by Teri Terry
Martin Latham is the longest serving Waterstones Manager, having been appointed by legendary entrepreneur and founder, Tim Waterstone. He has authored 130 entries in the Oxford Guide to English Literature, and regularly features in the Bookseller. If that isn't enough, he somehow found the time to start a highly successful writing group at his Canterbury Branch, and author a few
Father and son Michael and Daniel Palmer, along with bestselling author Lisa Gardner return to Brookline Booksmith with their own particular brand of mayhem. Michael Palmer is the best-selling author of 16 novels, including The Patient and A Heartbeat Away. His newest thriller, Oath of Office, deals with the fallout when a well-respected doctor goes on a murderous rampage.
Daniel Palmer is a former e-commerce pioneer, singer-songwriter, and the author of the critically-acclaimed thrillerDelirious. In his new book, Helpless, former Navy Seal Tom Hawkins returns to his hometown after his ex-wife is murdered so that he can raise his daughter. But when he becomes the prime suspect in his ex-wife’s death and other shocking false allegations are leveled against him, he has to fight for his freedom.
Lisa Gardner is the author of fifteen crime novels, including the best-selling D.D. Warren mysteries. In her newest, Catch Me, Warren is approached by a woman claiming she will be murdered in four days, creating the inspector’s toughest case yet – to solve a murder before it happens.
Had a fabulous and energizing day at the Texas Library Association annual meeting in Austin. First off was the Lone Star Authors Shine panel with fellow Lone Stars James Dashner, Greg Taylor, Jordan Sonnenblick, Melissa Kantor, and Helen Frost.
That’s one of the best parts of this job—rubbing shoulders with awesome authors!
At the Disney-Hyperion booth, The Gray Wolf Throne arcs were a hot commodity. I enjoyed meeting hundreds of Texas librarians and re-acquainting myself with many more.
And then on to the Texas Teens for Literacy events. TLA does a fantastic job of getting teens involved in the conference. You could pick them out from their eye-catching yellow tee shirts. Why didn’t they have events like that when I was a teen?
First, I was on a panel with authors Melissa Kantor and Sophie Jordan.
Then it was on to the Teen Mingle room, where the teens made me feel like a total rock star.
Bravo, Texas! Now on to the Writers’ League of Texas YA A to Z conference.
Tuesday night I hopped on the Harley (on the back--I'm not that cool) and rode into Manhattan with my husband for the release and book signing of DEAD RECKONING, book 11 in the Southern Vampire Mysteries (True Blood) by Charlaine Harris. I will admit, I was a little bit starstruck. Most of the pictures that my husband took, I'm making crazy faces, or squealing like the fangirl that I am. So I'll just share these ones with you.
I took my smaller camera, which takes kind of crappy pictures, because I went on the bike and my big camera is...big.
That is me on the right in the tan sweater.
Charlaine Harris was the author who got me back in to reading. The minute I picked up DEAD UNTIL DARK, I was hooked in the world she'd created, and totally in love with her characters. Because of this, I started writing. I even named my protagonist in my current WIP after Charlaine. Her books are for adults, and I write YA, but I didn't chose YA. It chose me, I suppose (in fact this is the ONLY adult series I read, ha!). There are so many great YA authors who have inspired me, but when I look back, Charlaine and Sookie were what made me realize I was a writer. My favorite quote from this signing was from Harris: "Writers are born, not made." She didn't mean that you're born a great writer, you do have to write and learn how to write well.
Charlaine answered questions for about thirty minutes and then for the next two hours or so she signed books. She is a signing machine. By the time she got to me, about an hour into signing, her signature was still perfect. During the Q & A fans asked the general questions about her writing process, which now consists of a lot of the business side and not as much writing as she'd like to do, how much coffee she drinks (three cups in the morning), and how she feels about the differences Alan Ball made between the books and the show (she thinks he's fantastic, and she wishes she had thought of Jessica).
The thing I found most interesting was that, despite the fact she'd written mysteries for years before she wrote the first Sookie Stackhouse novel, it took two years for her agent to sell it. Mainly because nobody knew where to put it on a shelf. When she wrote the book, she thought it would be fun to have a mystery series that involved the supernatural, melding mystery and urban fantasy together. Then she thought if she threw in a juicy sex scene for Sookie, she could get the romance readers too. And when the question "Where do we shelve this?" came up, Harris said "everywhere". A logical answer, for sure!
It was an amazing opportunity for me to be able to meet her. Her Sookie novels have inspired me in so many ways. I do believe it is important for writers to read and gather inspiration from "the masters" of literature, especially in your chosen genre, and not only the current super hits (Sookie, Twilight, Harry Potter, etc), but the thing that inspires me most about Charlaine Harris's Sookie novels, is just how much I love them. How immersed in that world I become when I sit down to read. That is what I want to do to readers. That is what is so inspiring. And that is how I knew I was a writer.
And speaking of American icons: The Yankee Clipper has had a great run so far this season, thanks in no small part to Jerome Charyn’s new biography, Joe DiMaggio: The Long Vigil. On Facebook, almost 1,800 fans have gathered this spring for new updates on Joe, his relationship with Marilyn, his status as an American icon, and to share personal stories, music, photos, videos, stats and updates from the treasure troves of info about DiMaggio online.
Don’t miss your chance to hear Charyn speak in person! At noon next Thursday, June 2, he will be at the 92nd Street Y Tribeca, where he will tell all about DiMaggio and sign copies of his book!
The May 22 cover of the New York Times Book Review featured a photograph of Harold Bloom; the title of Editor Sam Tanenhaus’s essay: “An Uncommon Reader”, accompanied online by an interview at Bloom’s home in New York. As Tanenhaus writes of the new book, The Anatomy of Influence: Literature as a Way of Life, “[Bloom] still has many arresting things to say and says them, often, with exquisite precision. He is, by any reckoning, one of the most stimulating literary presences of the last half-century.”
At the end of the PEN World Voices Festival earlier this month, Bloom appeared in conversation with Paul Holdengräber, Director of LIVE from the New York Public Library. The discussion centered on the new bookand how it responds to Bloom’s 1973 work, The Anxiety of Influence.When colleague John Hollander reviewed Anxiety for the Times, calling it, “more than a little outrageous”, a common reaction to Bloom’s work in the academy at the time, he ultimately conceded that: “In any event, this remarkable book has raised profound questions about where in the mind the creative process is to be located, and about how the prior visions of other poems are, for a true poet, as powerful as his own dreams and as formative as his domestic childhood. From now on, only obtuseness or naiveté, in critic or psychologist, will be able to ignore them.”
The past decades have proved Hollander right, as Bloom moved from Yale’s English Department to found the Humanities Department, an interdisciplinary program of study “designed to contribute to an integrated understanding of the Western cultural tradition”, certainly the relationships and networks of influencing and influenced. Bloom talks with Holdengräber about love, memory, and the power of poetry (and Falstaff :) ). And he talks about the writers who shaped his reading most—Shakespeare, Whitman, Crane—and what the sound and meaning of their verse have brought to understanding the human experience, how we are all influenced by the art of others. With further reading and a lifelong love for literature, Bloom has now written these reflections into The Anatomy of Influence. Here’s a video clip from the event, but you can also download the full audio, take it with you, and listen as you go.
And Chicago-based fans of comics and graphic novels are in for a treat: Ivan Brunetti will appear at the 27th annual Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest, which takes place on Saturday, June 4 and Sunday, June 5, 2011. The Lit Fest is a free, two-day literary extravaganza featuring more than 200 authors, 100 literary programs and 160 booksellers.
On Sunday, June 5, from 2 pm - 2:45 pm, Brunetti will discuss his new book (and the art of cartooning in general) with two rising young cartoonists who are also based in Chicago: Chris "Elio" Eliopoulos and Onsmith. All three will be available to sign their books afterwards.
And for those outside of Chicago in need of Brunetti’s teaching, once again here is the trailer for Cartooning. Why? Because it is simply one of the coolest things ever.
You’d think that being in rural Minnesota wouldn’t bring much in the way of industry happenings, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. My Midwest visit just so happened to coincide with the Bemidji Book Festival, a 6-day marathon of events with local authors, poets and illustrators. Kudos to the Bemidji Library and the MN Legacy Fund for making this all happen!
I stepped off the plane and immediately headed to a presentation by Catherine Friend, author of both children’s stories and the adult books, Hit By A Farm, Sheepish, and The Compassionate Carnivore. With a humble, witty voice on her 1 1/2 memoirs and a great perspective on local farming (and sheep), she’s like a lady Michael Pollan with a personal touch. I’m thinking it’s time to take a closer look her kids’ books, and also take up knitting!
The next morning, I accessed my inner child by attending Thursday morning’s library event with author/illustrator Lynne Jonell. While Jonell got her start in picture books, she’s now known for her middle-grade novels, like Emmy And The Incredible Shrinking Rat. I think the design (by Amelia May Anderson) and art (by Jonathan Bean) for Emmy is impeccable – the hand-drawn type is seamlessly integrated to the limited-color line drawings, which carry over into a flip-book style interior. Plus, it was a pleasure to listen to Lynne’s story and watch her graciously field questions from aspiring picture book authors with just the right answers (five letters: SCBWI) and some kind inspiration.
Gwendolyn, the Graceful Pig is the story of Gwendolyn and Omar--two pigs with very different dreams who find common ground and friendship through dance. I was so intrigued by author David Ira Rottenberg's creative marketing strategy for this self-published picture book that I tracked him down for an interview. Via email from his home outside of Boston, Massachusetts, David was kind enough to answer a few questions I had about his approach, which incorporates ballet into author events at bookstores! Thanks so much for sharing your experiences, David!
I love it that you integrate dance into your author events. How did you come up with such an innovative marketing strategy?
When it came time to market the book, events in bookstores were an obvious avenue to try, but I didn’t think kids would have much interest in me or in me reading my book. Then, I thought if I had a ballet dancer read the book, the kids (and their parents) would be a lot more interested. Over time, I’ve grown confident enough to read my book in bookstores, so now the dancers do more of a performance/dance demonstration.
How do you go about setting up these events? Is it a lot of work?
2 Comments on David Ira Rottenberg: Author to Entrepreneur, last added: 8/6/2011
Back-to-school means more time for writing. Sort of. My 6 1/2 month old who is currently napping as I sit tapping doesn't exactly conform to a set writing schedule, but at least I have these stolen moments to stew in my creative juices, to brainstorm, to ponder to... to... procrastinate.
Yes, the more time I have, the more creative ways I can find for procrastination - a common hazard of the self-employed.
Here's something fun to mention while procrastinating... I have added a few autumnal book signings to my website. Click HEREfor the schedule.
Ooooh, and I've also at last created a facebook page for my books HERE. Please stop by and click the like button if you want another way to know what I'm up to, as I'll be making event and book announcements there too.
Now, back to those creative juices. That reminds me, I'm thirsty. And hungry. I think it's time for a snack break. ;-)
On Thursday, November 10th, Books of Wonder is delighted to present 7 authors who have written new books for teens that feature young people involved in one way or another with the performing arts. Joining us will be debut author SHELLA CHARI to share Vanished, the story of 11-year-old Neela, who's determined to protect an antique Indian stringed instrument that's a family heirloom which she dreams of playing for delighted crowds someday; author BARBRA DEE will present her new novelTrauma Queen, about Marigold, a teen girl who's constantly embarrassed by her infamous stage actor mom; debut author SOPHIE FLACK will take us into the exclusive world of the Manhattan Ballet Company as we follow one aspiring dancer persuing her dreams in Bunheads; SARA LEWIS HOLMES will present Operation Yes, about a sixth grade class on an army base with a new teacher who uses improvisational theater to teach and inspire them and how they come together to help their teacher when her brother goes missing while se
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