Sun 10 Mar 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

UntitledI never managed to catch up with all the people I hoped to, I enjoyed the bookfair so much I didn’t see any panels, I didn’t manage to arrive on time 2 out of 3 mornings, but besides all that, AWP was, somewhat unexpectedly, a ton of fun! We have a pile of new books from a few quick trips around the fair—including a new subscription to Tin House and more poetry than I’ve gotten in ages. It was invigorating to spend three days with 13,000(!) people who care deeply in one way or another about words on pages. (Not as much chat about ebooks as expected, none about the possible horrors of the used ebook market, yay!)

Tin HouseWe stayed with friends (to whom we are very grateful!) and Kelly’s mom looked after Ursula (and brought her in on Saturday when the fair was open to everyone) which made the whole thing much more relaxed.

Friday there was a snowstorm so I was late. On Saturday morning smoke started coming out of the ceiling of the T at Fenway. “Driver, there’s smoke in here,” someone shouted. Doors opened: we all trooped out. Looked like a long wait, walked in.

Our neighbors in the fair were the very lively H_ngm_n Books on one side and our real-life near neighbors, the excellent Perugia Press. I am very happy to say that somewhere in that 13,000 people there is a contingent who read books from H_ngm_n, Small Beer, and Perugia.

We talked to hundreds of people and I owe apologies to some people for the times when I could not stop my anti-Am*zon invective: sorry. (They really do want to put everyone else out of business and all the fun out of life. Ya boo sucks to them.)

We sold out of LCRW on the second day: awesome! Wish I had brought more but it was—again—invigorating to meet so many readers.

Malarky, indeed.I can’t even begin to list the excellent people I met. Wait, I can. People from: Paris Press, One Story, Milkweed, McNally Jackson, Porter Square Books, Coffee House (got a copy of Raymond McDaniel’s new superhero-themed poetry collection(!) Special Powers and Abilities and Geronimo Johnson’s excellent sounding New Orleans novel, Hold It ‘Til It Hurtswhich is one of two Coffee House titles, the other being Laird Hunt’s Kind One, up for the Pen/Faulkner Award!), Shape & Nature, Eleven Eleven, Unstuck, Biblioasis, oh, wait, no I can’t list everyone. Sore hands and: Lists = I will miss people, sorry friends! And! We just added Puerto del Sol over on Weightless so while I met tons of people from New Mexico State U., I am kicking myself for missing the Puerto del Sol table. Argh, mea culpa. Didn’t take photos. Argh x 2.

A few of the goodiesIt turns out tons of our books are being taught in schools around the country, including Karen Joy Fowler’s What I Didn’t See and Other Stories, Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud’s A Life on Paper, Ted Chiang’sStories of Your Life and Othersand others including pretty much all of Kelly’s books. For which I say to all those teachers: it was awesome and heartening to hear that you are reading and teaching and studying these books. Thank you!

And that’s it. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to say hi. Hope you got home ok and that you too went home with some books you’re looking forward to reading.

That AWP thing

Mon 4 Mar 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Hey, Thursday through Saturday of this week we will be participating in the annual literary scrum commonly known as AWP. This year it’s in Boston where the weather should be a comfy 40 degrees (or 5 centigrade) with maybe rain and snow TK. Yay! Bring your boots!

Before I forget: on Saturday the book fair is OPEN TO EVERYONE! Come on by! It’s in Exhibit Halls A, B, & D,  Plaza & Level 2. Phew.

We haven’t been to AWP since 2009 and it will be awesome and overwhelming to catch up with everyone and see  all the new flashy things that people are up to. Woohoo! Kelly is teaching at UMass Amherst on Wednesday afternoon, so we drive to Boston in the evening—already missing out on the early parties! Oh well. Thursday or Friday early in the evening she is part of a UNCG alumni reading somewhere in Cambridge (details TK). Other than that, not sure how many things we’ll be doing. Would love to see Seamus Heaney and Derek Walcott in conversation . . . But there may have to be strategic withdrawals as we are old, and, of course, parents!

The best thing about the whole bedazzling thing: it’s being held at the Hynes Convention Center. Ok, that’s not soooo fab, but it is within a quick T/bus/taxi/car ride to Yoma Burmese restaurant and Pho Saigon (both in Allston), the latter of which is in the Super 88 Hong Kong Supermarket food court  and they have the best banh mi sandwichs. Otherwise, sure there are plenty of restaurants around the convention center. The worst thing: the Other Side Cafe closed last year. Oh I am so sad.

Anyway, the conference is expected to be brutal. Woohoo! We will be at table L26 in the book fair—no doubt behind a pillar, under the a/c, so far from where it’s all happening, man, that when we look around we are actually in New Hampshire. But, hey, we will have books on sale! Or, books for sale at discount prices? Something like that. Also, we like trades, so bring them on!

Kelly is on one panel at 9 am on Thursday morning with two local-to-us writers, John Crowley and Jane Yolen, one used-to-be-local writer, Kate Bernheimer, and one new-to-me writer, Anjali Sachdeva:

Room 107, Plaza Level

R108. Modern Fairy Tales and Retellings. (Anjali Sachdeva, John Crowley, Jane Yolen, Kelly Link, Kate Bernheimer) Many of us grew up reading the same stories our grandparents read when they were children. But contemporary writers are also creating their own fairy tales or crafting surprising variations on traditional stories, for both children and adults. In this panel, authors who have written modern retellings of old tales will discuss the need for fables in modern society and the literary marketplace, as well as the writing process they use to go beyond archetype and tradition to create new tales.

(Here’s the schedule. Note, that’s just Thursday. AWP is a just little huge.)