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1. Poetry Festivals & YA Lit Discussions Get Booked

92YHere are some literary events to pencil in your calendar this week.

To get your event posted on our calendar, visit our Facebook Your Literary Event page. Please post your event at least one week prior to its date.

Four young adult writers are set to participate on a panel called “New Twists On Old Fairytales.” Hear them on Tuesday, March 31st at the 92Y (on Lexington Ave.) starting 7 p.m. (New York, NY)

The Miami Poetry Festival will take place throughout the entirety of April. Join in from April 1st to April 30th for events throughout the entire city. (Miami, FL)

The next session of the “Selected Series” event will focus on April Foolery. Check it out on Wednesday, April 1st at Symphony Space starting 7:30 p.m. (New York, NY)

Author Jeffrey Bennett will sign copies of his book What is Relativity? at the UTA Maverick Activity Center. Meet him on Wednesday, April 1st starting 7:30 p.m. (Arlington, TX)

Three young adult authors will take part in the “Great Teen Reads” panel at Books of Wonder. See them on Sunday, April 5th from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. (New York, NY)

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2. BookRiot & The Harry Potter Alliance Team Up to Host a BYOB Book Drive

World Book Night UK 2015Earlier this year, the organizers behind the United States version of World Book Night announced its shut down. To retain some presence of this beloved event in this country, BookRiot and Harry Potter Alliance (HPA) will host a BYOB Book Drive.

In this case, BYOB stands for “bring your own, outrageous, outstanding, overflowing books.” Four meet-ups will take place on April 23rd (the same night as this year’s United Kingdom edition of World Book Night) in Chicago, Richmond, Washington, and New York City.

Here’s more from the announcement: “While we can’t provide multiple copies of favorite books to givers, we figure that if you’re anything like us you’ve got mountains of beloved books at home that you’re more than willing to share with others. So set aside some to donate, swap favorites and stories with fellow participants, and help the HPA’s Accio Books campaign reach this year’s goal of 60,000 books collected. With our powers combined!”

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3. ECCC’15: The SECRET WARS Marvel’s Telling Everyone About


Marvel held a fan panel for their upcoming Secret Wars event. Their big ECCC panel wasn’t an announcement dropper, but it did reveal some key information readers have been curious about. On the deus was C.B Cebulski, Rick Remender, Kelly Sue DeConnick, and Charles Soule. Moderator, Mike Marts jokingly asked Cebulski how he wanted to start things.

“Fight!” Remender chimed in.

Remender then jumped in to talking about Hail Hydra, his contribution to Battleworld. As we knew, the book will be about Ian Rogers being caught in a Hydra ruled world. Remender gushed about once again re-teaming with Winter Soldier collaborator Roland Boschi.

Soule was up next talking about Attilan Rising He compared it to Casablanca of all things. The writer talked about the book having a civil war in it and also taking part on the Civil War piece of battleworld where Captain America never surrendered to Iron Man.

“Aviation Porn” were the words used to describe DeConnick’s Carol Corps book. The intriguing part of the story is that there are no stars in Battleworld’s sky. This made for the interesting conflict of Carol wanting to go up to explore the sky while others wanted to keep her down.

The panel then opened up to Q&A:

It opened with a point many readers have been wondering about. With the current Marvel U ending what memories and continuity will be erased?

Cebulski made it crystal clear, everything that came before will still count. They stood behind their statement of this not being a reboot.

A fan asked about the Fantastic Four’s place in the Marvel Universe and if they’d been downplayed because of the movies?

Cebulsk defended the publishing position of the films not influencing the comics. He even revealed that there would definitely be a Fantastic Four book post Secret Wars.

The question of Secret Wars being used to undo the status quo of Wolverine, Captain America, and Thor was brought up.

Remender interjected, “What comes out of Secret Wars is secret but it will not undo the work we’ve done.” The example of female Thor’s success was given. Jason Aaron will be telling that story for as long as he wants because it stuck with readers.

Another fan asked about Miles Morales being the Marvel U’s main Spidey.

Peter Parker is still going to be around, he’s not going anywhere.” Said Cebulski.

The last question was about a possible return for Richard Rider (Nova).

Mart’s answered by letting everyone know Duggan has more story to tell with the current Nova Sam Alexander.

The panel wrapped and no matter what Secret Wars is coming. Marvel did try to make it clear that if you want to skip the orbiting books and stick to the spine story; readers can do that. We won’t have to wait long to find out if that’s true as the event is rapidly approaching its launch date.

Are you relieved to find out Peter Parker will still be in the Marvel U? Do you buy that this isn’t Marvel’s reboot? Who do you want for your Captain America going forward?

6 Comments on ECCC’15: The SECRET WARS Marvel’s Telling Everyone About, last added: 3/30/2015
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4. Kids Comics Con set for April 25th in the Bronx

Capt KCC Says KCC 2015 Coming

Long before comics for younger readers were fashionable, there was Kids Comic Con, the brainchild of writer Alex Simmons. The ninth edition of the event will be held this year on April 25th at the Bronx Community College from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will be comics guests, workshops, face painting and everything else needed for a fun family day.

All the info on the fest is presented below the fold.

The annual event continues KCC’s mission to encourage positivity through imagination and creativity, with special kid-targeted programming including drawing workshops, special presentations, cosplayers, panels and autograph signings by a variety of comics industry and children’s entertainment professionals.

“KCC’s primary goal is to promote reading, creativity, and exploration in kids’ lives,” KCC organizer Alex Simmons said. “We believe it’s so important that young people embrace a continuous flow of positive ideas, skills, and outlets for their thinking as well as self-esteem.”

 Guests already confirmed for the April 25th event include:


  • Alex Simmons (comics writer-playwright-educator, Archie, Scooby Doo, Tarzan)
  • Alitha Martinez (artist, Marvel, DC, Archie, etc.)
  • Louis Henry Mitchell (Sesame Street Workshop artist & art director)
  • Diana Leto (artist on Tarzan, My Little Pony, artist/co-creator of Halloween Legion)
  • Emilio Velez Jr. (artist/creator of The Dodgeball Teens)
  • Ray Felix (comics artist-creator/Bronx Heroes)
  • Gregory Garay (Visual Verbosity)
  • Joey Endres and Jesus Marquez (artists and co-creators, Space Scamps)
  • Jim Salicrup (Papercutz)
  • John-Marc Grob/JMG Studio (multimedia studio – FriendFish children’s books, comics, animation)
  • Matt Herring (comics author, and host of Secret Identity podcast )
  • Mark Mariano (Happyloo, Flabbergast creator-artist)
  • Paul Castiglia (comic writer and editor, Archie, DC, Dark Horse)
  • Pronto Comics (comics publishers)
  • Scary Monsters Nice Sprites
  • Tim Fielder (creator/animator of Matty’s Rocket)
  • Mike Lopez (educator, kids’ comics advocate)


Alex Simmons

Kics Comic Con founder Alex Simmons

An exciting new addition to this year’s programming will be role-playing card game tournaments featuring Yu-Gi-Oh! and Magic, the Gathering. The Yu-Gi-Oh! tournaments will be open to both Junior ($7 entry fee) and Expert ($12 entry fee) levels. Yu-Gi-Oh! contestants will receive one free booster pack with entry. The Magic tournament will be a Star City Games open trial. Both tournaments are sponsored by The Lair, the Bronx’s premiere comics and gaming store, “Where Collectors Dwell!” The tournaments are open to all ages and prizes will be given for both. Visit www.facebook.com/thelair1808 for more information.

More guests, panels, workshops and special presentations in the works for KCC 9 will be announced soon, including some one-of-a-kind, interactive experiences not to be missed!

Preceding the flagship event, on April 11 and 12 the KCC Road Show crew will travel to the Meadowlands, New Jersey to take part in the “Kids Love Comics Pavilion” at the first-ever East Coast Comic Con.

“The ‘Kids Love Comics Pavilion’ offers a wonderful opportunity for KCC to bring its ‘comics and kids: perfect together!’ message to the masses. The organizers of East Coast Comic Con are very supportive of kids’ comics and we appreciate the opportunity to exhibit there,” said Simmons.

KCC-affiliated guests for the East Coast Comic Con’s “Kids Love Comics Pavilion” include the afore-mentioned Simmons, Fielder, Castiglia, Leto, Mariano, Endres and Grob, along with:

  • Leslie Carrara-Rudolph (puppeteer and voice of Sesame Street’s Abby Cadabby)
  • Noel MacNeal (Writer, Director, Puppeteer, voice of Bear in the Big Blue House)

In addition to having artists at the table doing sketches and demonstrating drawing tricks, KCC will be offering special programming during the East Coast Comic Con including:

“Sci-Tech Heroes”: In this amazing hands-on workshop Alex Simmons demonstrates how to explore and create superheroes and villains using the boundless regions of science and the imaginative realm of comics. Kids will discuss the powers and abilities of popular comic book characters, and then create their own.

“Try Your ‘Hand’ at Puppets”: Emmy nominated puppeteer Noel MacNeal will conduct a “puppeteering workshop” based on his best-selling book, 10-Minute Puppets. Learn the pro puppeteers’ “secrets of lip-sync and manipulation, make a simple puppet, and operate professionally made puppets!


“Jump Start Your Imagination!”: Leslie Carrara-Rudolph and her wonderful puppet friend Lolly Lardpop are committed to spreading joy and the power of creativity though this wonderful and wacky interactive workshop. Join them as Leslie shows kids how to have fun through puppetry, imagination, and the creative arts!


“Pixel Portraits”: A Digital Storytelling Workshop by the creator of Matty’s Rocket, Tim Fielder, showcasing his storyboarding process of panel-to-panel techniques for comics, animation and film.


Autograph signing schedules for both the East Coast Comic Con and KCC 9 will be announced at a future date, as will post-KCC 9 events in the works for the Road Show team.


“Since 2007 our annual Kids Comic Con event has introduced thousands of kids and families to the power of imagination and creativity,” added Simmons. “Our Road Shows have traveled from everywhere from Chicago to Miami, from Jamaica to Africa, and we continue to bring interactive programming to Ronald McDonald House NYC and partner with them, and others, in its fight for children against cancer.”


This year’s KCC events follow a very successful 2014 that found the KCC team not only organizing KCC 8 but also revving up the “KCC Roadshow” for special events including The South Carolina Book Festival, Chicago’s C2E2 and Awesome Con in Washington, DC. The team also participated in two special happenings for Ronald McDonald House (RMH), including a Sesame Street-themed NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) reunion party of children born prematurely, and the first ever “Superhero For a Day” event for the patients and families staying at RMH.


Simmons added, “This year, we’re launching a program called ‘KCC International Comic Club.’ Our inaugural effort will unites student and teachers in the United States, Senegal, and Ireland in a collaborative, comics-creating project. A formal announcement detailing this project as well as other upcoming KCC events will be made soon.”


The 2015 KIDS COMIC CON is set for April 25 at Bronx Community College, 181st Street and University Avenue, Bronx, NY from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For additional information and up-to-the-minute programming updates, please visit www.facebook.com/KidsComiCon.

0 Comments on Kids Comics Con set for April 25th in the Bronx as of 3/24/2015 10:30:00 AM
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5. Academy to Present a Deconstruction of ‘Big Hero 6′

How exactly did Disney pull off its first animated foray into Marvel territory?

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6. Major Aardman Retrospective Opens in Paris

The forty-three-year-old British animation studio is being honored with a major exhibit in Paris.

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7. Gallery Nucleus to Host Adam Rex’s Solo Exhibit

Adam RexGallery Nucleus will host the Adam Rex solo exhibition.

According to the organization’s website, this program focuses on the art of two books: The True Meaning of Smekday and Chu’s Day. It will also showcase a behind-the-scenes look at the animated film adaptation (based on the Smekday title), Home.

Rex himself (pictured, via) will make an appearance for a panel to discuss the Home movie and conduct a book signing during the opening reception. This exhibit will open on March 28th and close on April 19th.

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8. A.J. Jacobs Launches Indiegogo Campaign

Journalist and author A.J. Jacobs has been researching geneology for his forthcoming book, It’s All Relative. Not too long ago, he launched a crowdfunding venture for the Global Family Reunion Festival on Indiegogo.

Jacobs and his team hope to raise $30,000.00 for this event which is scheduled to take place on June 6th in New York City. It will feature more than dozens of speakers, musical performances, and a number of activities.

The video embedded above features appearances from former President George H. W. Bush, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, and Harry Potter movie series actor Daniel Radcliffe; Spurlock confirmed that he will appear at the festival. The proceeds from ticket sales will benefit two organizations, the Alzheimer’s Association of New York City and the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund.

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9. Amber Tamblyn & Yo La Tengo to Headline Poetry Concert

Dark SparklerThe Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants actress Amber Tamblyn landed a deal for her third book of poetry. Harper Perennial will release Dark Sparkler on April 7th.

Poet Diane di Prima wrote a foreword for this project. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the poems were inspired by “the lives and untimely deaths of well-known actresses, including Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, Frances Farmer, Sharon Tate, Thelma Todd, and Brittany Murphy.”

Housing Works Bookstore Café will host a special performance event for this book on April 6th. Tamblyn will deliver poetry readings while Yo La Tengo plays instrumental music. Dorothea Lasky will serve as the host. (via TIME.com)

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10. Things I have done in the past few days

Louisa by Isabelle, grade 5

Louisa by Isabelle, grade 5

• Melted at the artwork and poems created by the three classes of fifth- and sixth-graders who welcomed me to the Greater San Diego Reading Association’s annual Authors Fair.

• Read aloud the last chapter of The Prairie Thief to a roomful of eager fifth-graders. Such a delight. I so seldom get to read the end of the book to a school group—I don’t want to give anything away! Exceedingly fun to discover the teacher had been reading the book to the class and saved the finale for my visit. :)

• Had a marvelous time swapping book suggestions with the kids during the Q&A after my readings. Hot tip: they are loving The Unicorn Chronicles at the moment.

• Tried out a new voice for Fox in my Storytime at Carmel Valley Public Library on Saturday. Gotta keep it fresh, you know.

• Wrote my tail off all day yesterday.

• Rejoiced with the gang as our monarch butterfly emerged from its chrysalis this morning. We missed the big entrance but not by much. Later, when it was ready to fly, we took it out to the milkweed patch in the backyard, and it rested there long enough for Rilla and me to sketch it. I had just finished adding watercolor when it soared away to the cape honeysuckle, and from there out into the blue. Bon voyage, little dear.


Yes, aphids galore


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11. Pete Docter Will Speak in Toronto Next Week

The Pixar veteran will take to the stage in Toronto to talk about his career, including his latest film "Inside Out."

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12. Spider-Man, Family Man Again in “Renew Your Vows”

Marvel announced, via EW, another Secret Wars tie-in that will change the course of one of their most controversial decisions. In what’s being billed as “The Last Spider-Man Story”, Dan Slott and Andy Kubert will bring back Peter Parker’s marriage and child in The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows.

A lot of  information was teased in EW’s interview with Dan Slott, including possible returns of Eddie Brock and other classic characters from Spidey’s history. Here’s a few of the highlights:

“There are legions of Spider-Man fans that arepassionate about changes that have happened to Spider-Man continuity,” says Renew Your Vows writer (and current Spidey scribe) Dan Slott. “They are upset that the baby went missing, that the marriage went away. Spider-Man has been around for fifty years, and the marriage was around for twenty-five. So now we’re seven or eight years into a world without a married Spider-Man. It’s a big itch that people want scratched.”

“You haven’t seen Spider-Man’s classic villains the way you know and love—I wouldn’t be surprised to see Eddie Brock as Venom in this story,” teases Slott. “Or Sergei Kravinoff as Kraven the Hunter in this story. There’s going to be a lot of bullets in the gun for things you wanted to see in a Spider-Man story that you haven’t seen in a while. This is the ultimate classic feel. This is the last Eddie Brock story. The stakes have never been higher for Peter Parker because he’s never had so much to lose. So he has never been this close to the edge. And these are the Last Days.”

Renew Your Vows is set in a region of the world known as The Regency—it’s named for the mysterious villain behind this series. The book looks as though it will also give details to the future of the character post Secret Wars. Slott himself teased “elements from this story will go on into the next incarnation.”

Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows goes on sale June 3. Here’s the EW preview.

AM_SM_RYV_SWexclusive-spider-man -3 exclusive-spider-man-02

3 Comments on Spider-Man, Family Man Again in “Renew Your Vows”, last added: 3/17/2015
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13. MoMA to Present an Evening with Glen Keane

Historian and filmmaker John Canemaker will host the conversation with the master character animator.

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14. Saturday Event: Storytime at Carmel Library


Join Fox and Crow and me for Storytime at Carmel Library in North County Saturday, March 14 at 4pm!

Authors Virginia Loh and Sid Shapira will also be reading from their books tomorrow afternoon (check with the library for their event times).

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15. Center for Book Arts Hosts a John Jacobsmeyer Exhibit

wordless poemThe Center for Book Arts is hosting the “John Jacobsmeyer: More Than Words” exhibit.

According to the organization’s website, this program is a display of the 80+ wood engravings that make up a wordless poem called “More Than Words.” Each piece contains one or more American Sign Language (ASL) signs performed by a half human and half sheep creature.

Ultimately, Jacobsmeyer’s project features an ASL interpretation of the James Dickey’s poem “Sheep Child.” A closing date has been scheduled for April 4th.

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16. Illustrators' Day and Springmingle!

This Friday, March 13th, in downtown Decatur, Georgia, I will attend the 8th annual Illustrators' Day for the Southern Breeze chapter (Alabama, Georgia, and the Florida panhandle) of the SCBWI. This will be my first year attending as a, well, attendee after stepping down as Illustrator Coordinator. Prescott Hill now fills that position and I'm sure he's put together a fabulous affair, which I can't wait to attend!
     Illustrators' Day is followed up by SPRINGMINGLE, the annual regional Spring conference in Atlanta, which lasts through the weekend. It's going to be an amazing time - hope to see you there!

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17. Mindy Kaling & B.J. Novak to Kick Off BookCon

Actress/author Mindy Kaling, star of the Fox series \"The Mindy Project,\" is teaming up with B.J. Novak, her former co-star on “The Office,” to kick off BookCon.

The two will take to the stage on Saturday, May 30 at 11:00 AM.  The two actors join BookCon’s impressive list of bestselling authors and Hollywood players already on the agenda.

Speakers at the show also include: Julianne MooreNick OffermanJohn HodgmanTaye DiggsRainbow RowellMamrie HartMeg CabotJodi PicoultJacqueline WoodsonSherman Alexie and David Levithan.

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18. Join Me Saturday at the New Children’s Museum in San Diego

Inch and RolyI’ll be doing a Storytime event at 2pm tomorrow (Saturday, March 7). Hope to see you and your kids there!



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19. Martin Amis & Gayle Forman Get Booked

symphonyHere are some literary events to pencil in your calendar this week.

To get your event posted on our calendar, visit our Facebook Your Literary Event page. Please post your event at least one week prior to its date.

Two famed authors, Martin Amis and Jeffrey Eugenides, will headline an evening of “Selected Shorts” readings. Hear them on Wednesday, February 25th at Symphony Space starting 7:30 p.m. (New York, NY)

Chef Angelo Sosa and radio personality Angie Martinez will sit for a discussion about their new cookbook. See them on Thursday, February 26th at Barnes & Noble (Tribeca) starting 6 p.m. (New York, NY)

Three young adult writers, Gayle Forman, E. Lockhart, and Libba Bray, will come together for a launch party. Join in on Friday, February 27th at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe starting 7 p.m. (New York, NY)

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20. Secret Wars Answers the Question “Zombies or Robots?”

Marvel’s buffet of Secret Wars tie-ins just got weird. That’s really saying something when you consider the already announced titles that will be revisiting the publisher’s history or spotlighting obscure characters. Today over on EW, Marvel announced a new series that sounds like it came from Axel Alonso playing with his action figures, Age of Ultron vs Marvel Zombies.

The series, debuting this June, is by the recent All-New Invaders team of James Robinson and Steve Pugh, and will feature one of that book’s stars, Jimm Hammond, the original Human Torch. Taking place on the No Man’s Land part of the patchwork Battleworld planet, Ultron vs Zombies will see how the area becomes a prison of sorts for misfit continuities and battle rule breakers. Robinson described the off-the-wall premise of the story as, “Ultron sees his world as the epitome of perfection and the Zombies are the antithesis of that, so no they don’t get along at all,” says Robinson. “They war for whatever humanity they can find, with Ultron wishing to either control it or kill it and the zombies wanting to eat it.  They’re definitely at war.”

It’s shaping up as though Battleworld will be a place with severe consequences for the losers. Age of Ultron vs Marvel Zombies could potentially be the most fun Secret Wars tie-in to read. Readers will get a book that feels like it has weight in the event while seeing repercussions that may get overlooked in the main line. The series is set to debut on June 3 and was announced as an ongoing title. Although as of late in the Marvel Universe, ongoing just means it’ll get more than six issues.

In addition to the cover, a three page preview was also shown and you can see it all below.


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21. Society of Illustartors Hosts Exhibit On ‘Little Nemo’ Comic Strip

Litte Nemo BOok CoverThe Society of Illustrators will host the “Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream” exhibit.

This program honors the work of the “Little Nemo in Slumberland” comic strip creator, Winsor McCay. The closing date has been scheduled for March 28th.

According to the organization’s website, this art show is “based on Locust Moon Press’ anthology Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream, many of the world’s finest cartoonists pay tribute to the master and his masterpiece by creating 118 new ‘Little Nemo’ strips, following their own voices down paths lit by McCay. Contributors to the exhibit include Paul Pope, Gregory Benton, Dean Haspiel, Yuko Shimizu, Jim Rugg, Ronald Winberly, Andrea Tsurumi, Raul Gonzalez III, and more!” Click here to see samples from the book.

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22. An evening in conversation with Anthony Horowitz OBE and Sir Trevor McDonald

Join us for an evening in conversation with two of Britain’s most respected personalities as Anthony Horowitz OBE and Sir Trevor McDonald take the floor.
Guests will be able to listen to Anthony reading an exclusive extract from his next James Bond novel (due for publication in September) as he discusses his writing and other topics of interest with Sir Trevor, followed by a Q&A session open to all.
This will be an extremely entertaining event guaranteed to provide guests with a memorable evening. Tickets cost £30 and all proceeds from the night will support Kidscape’s vital anti-bullying work.

Date: Thursday 16th April, 6-8pm
Venue: Westminster Foundation, 70 Grosvenor Street, London W1K 3JP
Tickets: £30
Please note that this event is open to people over the age of 13.

Click here for more information and tickets

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23. Ontario Teen Book Fest - Author Spotlight - Catherine Linka

What: Ontario Teen Book Fest

When: Saturday March 21st , 9 am to 5 pm

Where: Colony High School, 3850 E. Riverside Drive, Ontario, CA 91761

The Ontario Teen Book Fest is a FREE AND UNTICKETED EVENT! Meet 20 YA authors, hear them speak about their books and writing, and meet other book lovers like you. Books will be available for purchase on-site from Once Upon a Time. There will also be t-shirts and posters available for purchase.

Official Blog Tour Schedule

February 28th: Spotlight on Kasie West -- Adventures of a Book Junkie

March 1st: Spotlight on Melissa Landers -- What A Nerd Girl Says

March 2nd: Spotlight on Brad Gottfred -- Recently Acquired Obsessions

March 3rd: Spotlight on Catherine Linka -- Read Now Sleep Later

March 4th: Spotlight on Debra Driza -- Read Now Sleep Later

March 5th: Spotlight on Katie Finn -- Fearless Kurt Reads YA

March 6th: Spotlight on Claudia Gray -- A Bookish Escape

March 7th: Spotlight on Shannon Messenger -- People Like Books

March 8th: Spotlight on Lauren Miller -- The Thousand Lives

March 9th: Spotlight on Elizabeth Ross -- Kid Lit Frenzy

March 10th: Spotlight on Anna Carey -- The Reader's Antidote

March 11th: Spotlight on Sherri Smith -- Movies, Shows and Books

March 12th: Spotlight on Mary Elizabeth Summer -- What A Nerd Girl Says

March 13th: Spotlight on Jessica Khoury -- The Consummate Reader

March 14th: Spotlight on Maurene Goo -- The Windy Pages

March 15th: Spotlight on Cecil Castellucci -- Nite Lite Book Reviews

March 16th: Spotlight on Jessica Brody -- The Romance Bookie

March 17th: Spotlight on Gretchen McNeil -- Movies, Shows and Books

March 18th: Spotlight on Aaron Hartzler -- Fangirl Feeels

March 19th: Spotlight on Michelle Levy -- The Consummate Reader

Spotlight on Catherine Linka

Today's stop on the tour is a spotlight on Catherine Linka, author of A Girl Called Fearless.

About A Girl Called Fearless

Avie knows her life is over when her dad “Contracts” her in marriage to millionaire Jessop Hawkins. Hawkins has bought Avie to be his first lady as he runs for governor of California on the Paternalist ticket. But Avie’s lifelong friend, Yates, believes she  has the strength to flee to freedom in Canada. As Yates draws her into the secret world of Exodus, their friendship turns to passion, and freedom means leaving Yates and hoping they can reunite over the border.

This romantic spec fiction/political thriller is set in a contemporary America upended by the deaths of millions of women from a hormone in meat. Teenage girls are a valuable and restricted commodity “protected” by guards, gates and Paternal Controls on phones, internet and media. After Avie leaves the mansions of LA and Malibu, she learns dangerous truths about who controls the US government. Pursued by federal agents as she heads for the border, Avie must find the courage Yates always believed she possessed.

About Catherine Linka

Catherine Linka was almost thrown out of boarding school for being “too verbal.” Fortunately, she learned to channel her outspokenness and creative energy into writing. She is the author of the romantic spec fiction thriller, A Girl Called Fearless. Catherine has traveled to such out of the way places as the Arctic circle, Iceland, and the Amazon and her personal goals include seeing penguins and orcas in the wild.  She doesn’t believe in fate, but she did fall in love with her husband on their first date when he laced up her boots after she broke her hand. 

Q&A with Catherine Linka

RNSL: When you started writing A Girl Called Fearless, did you think your book was going to be a YA novel, or did that develop later on the road to publication?

Catherine Linka: Avie is sixteen, almost seventeen, and she tells her story as she’s experiencing it. She’s dreaming of going to college and falling in love, and bam!--universities shut out women and her dad signs a contract for her to marry a guy twice her age. Avie has to choose whether to be fearless and run for freedom, or submit to a marriage she doesn’t want. I knew when I heard her voice in my head that this was YA, but I didn’t know that older readers would love her story, too. What’s been great is that some readers get swept away by the action and romance, while others dig deeper for the political undercurrent. 

RNSL: What project are you actively working on at the moment?

CL: We’re finishing the final copy on A Girl Undone which is the sequel and conclusion to A Girl Called Fearless, and that comes out in June. Plus, I am super excited to be working with St. Martin’s Press and Wattpad.com to feature my novella, A Girl Called Defiant: Sparrow’s Story. Everybody loved Sparrow in A Girl Called Fearless, and so I wanted to share her story. It’s sexy and tragic, and you don’t have to read A Girl Called Fearless to enjoy it, but you might want to later. 

RNSL: You have worked in the book industry apart from being an author. How has that influenced your writing life (or not)?

CL: Buying YA books for an indie bookstore is an amazing education if you want to be a writer. You’re reading all the time, seeing what books sell, and learning about different publishers. And I was really lucky I ran a teen board for 7 years because it was like watching a focus group every month about what teen readers love and hate.  The one thing I had to learn was to not let what I know about the business keep me from writing what I need to write. I have to say, “Shut up!” to my evil inner voice that tortures me by saying, “Oh, that will never sell.”

RNSL: Are you able to read other books while writing your own? Why or why not?

CL: I read every night even when I’m writing. I had to read constantly for my job at the bookstore, and it was easy, because I had tons of advance copies. When I was writing A Girl Called Fearless, I avoided reading dystopian, because I didn’t want to accidentally steal from someone else. It’s funny, but readers tell me that the characters in A Girl Called Fearless express much more emotion than they do in most spec fiction and I think that might be because I read a lot of contemporary fiction. 

RNSL: Your series is rather frightening to me in that Margaret Atwood sort of, something-like-this-could-possibly-happen-within-our-lifetimes kind of way. What makes you the most afraid? (Or are you fearless?)

CL: I wanted to write a story that when a reader put it down, they would say, “Oh my God, I could totally see that happening.” As I wrote A Girl Called Fearless, I kept thinking about how people act when a country has been through a horrible loss, and how fear or anger can be manipulated for political gain. We saw the Tea Party soar to power, and I don’t care what your political beliefs are--that was an amazing display of how emotion can be turned into political might.  One teen reviewer talked about how the rise Paternalists reminded her of the rise of Hitler--which shocked me, because that had been in the back of my mind, too.

RNSL: Cake or pie (or both)?

CL: Pie, absolutely. And when it comes to ranking pie: berry (any kind!!), lemon meringue, pecan--oh wait, did I forget chocolate pecan pie!!!


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24. Folger Shakespeare Library Selects Sites For First Folio Traveling Tour

shakespeareHave you ever seen one of William Shakespeare’s First Folios? To honor the 400th anniversary of The Bard’s death, the Folger Shakespeare Library will launch a traveling tour of these precious books.

A First Folio will be loaned out for displays in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Click here to view the full list of sites that will host this exhibit.

Here’s more from The Washington Post: “The express purpose of this program is to reach an audience beyond scholars — or billionaire collectors like Paul Allen, who bought a First Folio in 2001 for more than $6 million…Already two years in the making, the 2016 exhibit is a complex collaboration with the American Library Association and Cincinnati Museum Center, funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.”

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25. Art Spiegelman’s Wordless has its final NYC performance March 13th

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Wordless! is a collaboration between artist Art Spiegelman and musician Phillip Johnston—but it’s really about Frans Masereel, Lynd Ward, and Milt Gross. The evening—which I was fortunate to catch last year—involves the Johnston Sextet improvising over a slide show of the wordless comics of the above as set up by Spiegelman. And Art being Art, this is also a lucid, connection making journey through comics and art history, the oppressive woodcuts of Masereel eventually coming out in Spiegelman’s own work. And for you social history buffs, the continued theme of young women who are done in by their own society flouting desires—aka getting knocked up by some cad —provides an interesting window into the time period of these comics.

Wordless! was commissioned for the same Australian arts festival which saw the astonishing The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman, Eddie Campbell and Fourplay.

Wordless! is quite an amazing piece of theater and while it’s been touring for a bit New Yorkers will have ONLY ONE MORE CHANCE TO SEE IT! And it’s this March 13th. Deets:

Art Spiegelman & Phillip Johnston’s 
one performance only:
Friday, March 13, 7:30 pm. Miller Theater

Columbia University Theater 2960 Broadway (at 116th Street)  

Tickets here.

If you haven’t seen Wordless, do it. You’ll kick yourself forever for not seeing it when you had the chance. And here’s a video trailer in you need any more convincing.

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