AWP, Austin, Texas: Well, you had to be there. Wait, too annoying? Ok. It was a blast. We will probably go back to AWP next year in Atlanta, Georgia. If you want to put together a panel, email us. The proposals have to be in by May 1.
Food in Austin is fan-foodie-tastic. Breakfasts at the must-go-back-to Las Manitas Avenue Cafe — where some newspaper piece warned of the possibility of running into Karl Rove. And me not exercising my right to bear arms (very necessary if any Friend of Cheney is around). Was that tipping the free speech card a little early? Back to food. Manuel’s has great margaritas (and wandering Iowa poets) which made waiting around survivable then the little bit fancy good Mexican food (and actually spicy salsa) was verrry welcome.
Reading at Book People seemed to go well — 6 readers and it didn’t run over long. Phew. Book People started off as “Grok Books” — how funny is that? Huge store, tons of great books, so much space for all the good books (and huge shelves of staff picks) that they have tons of, uh, junk? Or sidelines, you pick. Being we were overstuffed with books and lit mags and so on, we bought books, cards and a Keep Austin Weird T-shirt — which kind of campaign you might want to get behind if you likes your local town stuff before it all becomes McWal-Margeted. The reading was put together by Omnidawn, who successfully launched their new short fiction anthology Paraspheres. [Between that and the upcoming Firebirds Rising anthology that’s the start of a pretty good year for spec. fic. short stories.] Tons of new fiction and some fave stories from Kim Stanley Robinson and Alasdair Gray.
Did it suck that SXSW was starting as we were leaving? Yes. But we wouldn’t have had a place to stay or tix to see anything. Before we left we had breakfast with Howard Waldrop and Martha Grenon at Guero’s (another great breakfast, oy!). Will need to add her site which has many excellent pix from Kosovo and Albania. In the meantime there’s this book site.
On our second try, we saw the bats!