Monday, September 23, 2013

AUTHORS ARE MY ROCK STARS and other tales from the National Book Festival

Wow, what fun we had at the National Book Festival! It was my first time to attend, and you really can't understand how BIG it is until you're there... I mean, those tents (set up on the National Mall) are HUGE! The news said over 200,000 people attend this event every year, and there are approximately 100 authors present. When I stopped by the Sales tent to sign stock, I seriously couldn't believe how many books were in one space. This is one amazing organizational feat!

I was stationed in the Pavilion of the States, where attendees are invited and encouraged to take a map around and have it stamped/stickered by folks at each state exhibit. Here's a completed map that my sweet husband completed as a keepsake for me. The "Alabama" sticker was of a little elephant, in honor of Millie in DON'T FEED THE BOY. Conveniently, the elephant is also the mascot for the University of Alabama,which is home to the Alabama Center for the Book. Win-win!

 One of the highlights for me was meeting Kristin Levine, author of THE BEST BAD LUCK I EVER HAD and THE LIONS OF LITTLE ROCK. Kristin and I share an editor and have been in touch since her first book came out in 2009. I have always wanted to meet her, and now I have! She is every bit as delightful as I knew she would be. Photo is courtesy of her book-loving 7 year old daughter. Thanks, Charlotte!

 Here's Donna Adcock, who heads up the Alabama Center for the Book, and is responsible for the amazing calendar-posters as well as for packing up all 17 boxes of promo materials and sending them ahead of time to the festival. Also pictured is her husband Phil, who also does important work for the University of Alabama. What dedicated folks! So honored to spend time with them.

 Here's Kathy, uber-book-lover, who sported my favorite t-shirt of the day: AUTHORS ARE MY ROCK STARS.

Big, big smile! Thank you, Kathy. Hope you got to meet Margaret Atwood as you hoped!

 My sweet husband took a number of candid shots, but it was difficult, due to the many, many folks! I appreciate his efforts (and the bottled water and hot dog for lunch and carrying my bag and and and...). We enjoyed our weekend away so very much. It was our first time to go to DC just us, no kids. We liked it. :)

One of the great folks I met was the official event photographer, Pat Fisher, and she said it was like COMBAT PHOTOGRAPHY. So many people!!  She was accompanied by Melissa Wagner, who was careful to write down the correct spelling of every person who was photographed. What a great team! Thank you, ladies, and to everyone who make this event happen seamlessly.

Finally, here's a picture of us with my friend-from-childhood Kim, and her gorgeous family! It's hard to believe Kim and I have known each other since we were 9 years old... so glad to have an excuse to see her!


  1. Looks like a superb weekend, Irene. What fun to meet (or reunite) with so many good people! And it's great about that elephant sticker!

  2. Another event that is on my - I'd love to go to that one - list. So glad you had fun. That map is so cool!

  3. I attended the first year (lived in Northern Virginia at the time). It was incredible. What a day!

  4. I would love to be around so many book and authors. Glad Paul could go with you and thank you for sharing!

  5. I did get to meet Margaret Atwood! Thanks for remembering. I had a great time Saturday and meeting you was one of the reasons why.
    Kathy N

  6. How cool is that map... you go Paul.. So proud of you and happy you got this opportunity


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