Book News: National Book Festival 2013

The 2013 National Book Festival will be in D.C. again for the 13th year, and there is a stunning lineup.

I usually spend most of my time in the Poetry & Prose tent, and that’s unlikely to change this year, as the Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey will be there on Saturday.  One of my early morning favorites is also in the same tent, Poetry Out Loud, which is a bunch of high school students performing their own poems or those of others.

Sunday, if anyone likes Joyce Carol Oates, she’s scheduled to appear, but I’ve had bad luck with her at events — i.e. her not showing up as scheduled or at all.  But on Sunday, Alyson Hagy will be in town with her new book, Boleto, which I just received in the mail from the publisher this month.

For the rest of the lineup this year in the Poetry & Prose tent, check out this Washington Post list.

I’m also glad to see that Scholastic will be back with fun activities for kids, since my daughter will be old enough to enjoy them more this year.

“Scholastic will showcase a sneak peek at artwork by beloved children’s illustrators who were asked to demonstrate what “Read Every Day” means to them and will ask kids and parents at the festival to share their thoughts on why they love reading on a giant chalkboard. Festival-goers can visit Scholastic’s Storia™ reading corner for e-read-alouds from its new e-reading app, showcasing Scholastic’s exciting digital offerings and delighting kids. Scholastic also will host the popular “Build-a-Book” station that lets visitors turn a blank book into a masterpiece.”

And beyond Scholastic, PBS is always on hand with a variety of show characters for pictures, which enabled my daughter to meet the Cat in the Hat and some others.

What will you be seeing at the book festival this year?  I’d love to get some recommendations.

Author Signings at BEA

Author signings at Book Expo America almost always have really huge lines, and in some cases, attendees have to get up early to get free tickets to get books signed by certain, popular authors.  Tickets are given out each morning at 6:45 AM and many of them go quickly, especially for high profile and prolific authors like Joyce Carol Oates.

The only author at the Expo that I wanted a ticket for was Oates because I’ve loved her writing ever since I was younger, and I grew to appreciate it even more in college.  I’d like to say I’m her biggest fan, and I do love hearing stories about her need to write and her eccentricities.

However, after getting up at 5 AM to get my ticket when I was on vacation and didn’t have to get up early for work, I was sorely disappointed after waiting in line for nearly 40 minutes to get Oates’ new book, Sourland, signed and to meet one of my all-time favorite authors.

We were told she was stuck in traffic and would be at Javits soon, but after 20 minutes more of waiting, they told us that they would hand out the books so we didn’t have to wait in line.  Authors are only given between 30 minutes and an hour to sign books, and ticketed authors don’t even guarantee that everyone with a ticket will get to meet the author or receive a signed book.

For me, waiting for my writing inspiration in line for more than 40 minutes only to find out that she couldn’t be bothered to show up at the appointed time was more than disappointing to me.  I had heard that she doesn’t like public functions and that she doesn’t like when fans talk to her in autographing lines, but I still wanted to meet her and have my book signed, but to me, her absence was a slap in the face.  I have vowed to meet her someday regardless of this incident.

I do want to share with you some photos of author signings for non-ticketed authors.  The Girl from Diary of an Eccentric got to meet R.L. Stine and I got to meet the poetic YA author, Beth Kephart, and The Lace Reader author Brunonia Barry.

What authors were you anxious to see? Tell me about your author signing experiences.