New York City, NY, USA - Book Expo America took off with a bang this year - despite our beloved Jacob Javits Center being under construction- with more than 1,300 exhibitors (200 new), 600+ authors, and hundreds of new titles. Always employing the best of technology, organizers of the Show made author appearances available via live-stream and on-demand. And the Show organizers always being good strategists, I have it from good authority that the major facelift underway at the JJC (including a new building across the street) will be completed by September.
As always, Show organizers gathered the crème de la crème of published authors and performers of stage/screen for their amazing Author Events. This year a new Author Lunch was added with music star Neil Young in conversation with Patti Smith. Talk about mega-star and mega-star. This event was (very correctly) anticipated to be a show stopper since it’s definitely an out of the box idea being that Show artendees were invited to bring and enjoy their own lunches during the conversation…
Jimmy Fallon made a special guest appearance at and Stephen Colbert was Master of Ceremonies for Tuesday’s Adult Book & Author Breakfast that also included Junot Diaz (This is How You Lose Her, Riverhead/Penguin Group, USA), Barbara Kingsolver (Flight Behavior, Harper Collins), and Jo Nesbo (Phantom, A.A. Knopf).
Walter Dean Myers, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, shared opening remarks, and Chris Colfer (The Land of Stories, Little Brown Books for Young Readers) was Master of Ceremonies for Wednesday’s Children’s Book & Author Breakfast. John Green (The Fault in Our Stars), Lois Lowry (Son, Houghton Miflin Harcourt), and Kadir Nelson (I Have a Dream, Random House Children’s Books) rounded out the panel.
The Show brought back its Audio book & Author Tea, an evening event that featured Dion Graham (narrator, AudioGo) as Master of Ceremonies, Debbie Macomber (The Inn at Rose Harbor, Random House Audio), Lee Child (A Wanted Man, Random House Audio), and my old pal from the San Francisco Book Festival, Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) (Who Could That Be at This Hour? Hachette Audio, October 2012).
Kirstie Alley (with her new book, The Art of Men/I Prefer Mine Al Dente, Atria Books) was Master of Ceremonies at Thursday’s Adult Book & Author Breakfast. She was joined by Michael Chabon (Telegraph Avenue:A Novel, Harper Collins), Zade Smith (NW:A Novel, The Penguin Press/Penguin Group, USA), and J.R. Moe ringer (Sutton, Hyperion).
Power authors and celebrities signing this year included Gary Ross, Karin Slaughter, Alexis Kim, Dorothea Benton Frank, Frank Deford, Kenneth Davis, Jon Klassen, Dennis Lehane, Lee Woodruff, Nancy Tillman, Ridley Pearson, John Green, Walter Dean Myers, R.L. Stine, John Edward, Joyce Carol Oates, Bill Evans and William Martin, Richard Ford, Dav Pilkey, Sherman Alexie, Erin Colfer, Carol Higgins Clark, Mary Higgins Clark, J.R. Moehringer, Natalie Merchant, Molly Ringwald, Jane Seymour, and Mo Willems.
As always, the Show gathered the work of authors and publishers from around the world and featured booths representing books from Italy, Mexico, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Sharjah, China, Lebanon, and the UK.
This year’s “foreign focus” at BEA’s Global Market Forum was Russia. Some 40 Russian authors and translators traveled to New York to be at the Show, and BEA was involved with “Read Russia 2012,” perhaps the largest effort ever to promote Russian literature and culture in the US. This initiative will feature the awarding of monies for translation of contemporary and classical Russian literature into English contemporary, author tours for leading Russian writers and their publishers, a major exhibition on children’s book art, and a traveling film series and a new documentary television project about Russian literature.
“All eyes are on this Book Expo,“ Visili Sushko from the Voice of Russia, Washington, D.C. told me. “Classical writers like Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky will never be forgotten, but contemporary writers haven’t been noticed so much.” Indeed!
In other, not related but just as exciting news, BEA announced that it had purchased the Book Bloggers Convention, an event that has taken place alongside Book Expo for the last couple of years.
Annual Show sponsors included the Association of American Publishers, the American Booksellers Association and the Association of Authors Representatives, Inc. The AAP is the national trade association comprised of 300 member groups representing the premier publishers in the US. Founded in 1900, the ABA is a non-profit trade organization dedicated to meeting the needs of independently owned brick-and-mortar book retailers. The AAR is a not-for-profit organization of qualified literary and dramatic agents, the largest group of its kind in the US.
Those of us who like to plan ahead, BEA 2013 will return to the Jacob Javits Center June 3, 6, 2013.
Text and Photos Ó 2012 M.D.Caprario
M. D. Caprario is a journalist, author and editor working in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and around the world covering books, film, and people and things that make a difference in our World. Reach her at [email protected]