I'm trying to finish up these half-written blog entries, so expect a few in rapid succession.
Last month I participated in the first Chicago Book Expo, held at the abandoned Borders in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood. The Chicago Writers House Project created a pop-up bookstore in the empty building on November 19 and 20, 2011. More than 40 local presses participated (including Wolfsword Press). The Expo included readings, panel discussion, live performances, and architectural walking tours.
You can hear a Chicago Publishes Podcast about the Expo:
Chicago Publishes Podcast: Chicago Book Expo by Chicago Publishes
Listen as founding member of the Chicago Writers House John Rich, Gabriel Levinson of ANTIBOOKCLUB, and I talk about the Expo (you can hear me at 6 minutes 20 seconds).
The Expo coincided with Adriana Renescu's visit to Chicago, so Wolfsword Press invited her to be one of the featured readers at the Expo and read from her novel The Wolves of Pavlava. With the combination of her gorgeous accent and powerful imagery, I could have listened to her read the entire novel that afternoon! (Maybe an audiobook, Adriana? Check out acx.com.)
On Saturday, Adriana and I read from our novels, along with two writers from theChicago Center of Literature and Photography (CCLaP): Sally Weigel and Katherine Scott Nelson. I enjoyed both of their pieces, but Katherine's novella Have You Seen Me absolutely blew me away. She is an incredibly talented writer with a powerful voice.
I was happy to sit at the Expo for the two days to represent Wolfsword Press and talk aboutThe Silence of Trees, but I was especially excited to connect with people about our upcoming comic, Sticks and Bones and The Artist Zoo project (which deserves its own post soon). So many people got excited by the idea, signed up to be considered for the art book, and volunteered to help out! I plan to follow up with everyone in the next few weeks so that we can move forward in 2012!
The Chicago Book Expo organizers did a wonderful job pulling it all together (special thanks to the lovely Heather McShane and Jon Fullmer). They had an impressive showing of publishers and attendees, each one an authentic and enthusiastic Chicago voice. I was grateful for the chance to be a part of it, and happy to meet so many new publishers on the scene. From what I saw last month, the Chicago publishing scene has a bright future. It made my inner literary optimist happy and proud.