Posts Tagged ‘brooklyn book festival’
What most surprised me about the Brooklyn Book Festival was how big it was, and how many people were meandering around looking at books, reading on the steps, and filling up the chairs for the panels. At first, it was too much to take in, but once I had a map and saw where the Youth Stoop stage was, I had my landmark for the day.
I enjoyed being on the Another World panel with Jewell Parker Rhodes and Bill Willingham, especially since they went first and I could see how they talked about their work and answered questions. Jewell gave us a nice big spoiler, which was funny, and Bill described his talking animals, with no spoilers. Susan Chang was a gracious and thoughtful moderator. Thanks, Susan!
Cory Doctorow, Gayle Forman, and Jacqueline Woodson were interesting together on the subsequent panel, Making Difficult Choices, in part because their books are so different. I was happy to moderate because I was able to ask what I most wanted to know and think about the ways books change individual readers and then the world. Gayle’s pins for “Team Adam,” if you haven’t yet heard, are in support of guys who are really nice, solid guys and not self-absorbed jerks. I’m paraphrasing.
Afterward, I had the chance to hang around talking with some very nice readers and bloggers. Then I met up with Nancy Mercado, my editor, and some of the other writers who have her as an editor: Tommy Greenwald, Casey Scieszka, and Steven Weinberg. We had conspired via email to meet in person and secretly gawk at each other, wondering what we must have in common that Nan had chosen all of our different books.
Over dinner at Noodle Pudding, I discovered that Lauren Tarshis, Nan Marino and I are all writers who don’t write with outlines, but rather immerse ourselves in the scenes and plan to rewrite massively after we have a complete draft. It made me think our editor must be especially good at seeing the kernel of a valuable idea in a manuscript and trusting that she can help us work to develop that. At least, that’s my new theory. It was great to talk with Laura Toffler-Corrie and Tracy White who joined us, too.
It was an inspiring day, and fun, and filling.
Thanks to Nancy Mercado and the rest of the BBF committee for putting together a stupendous event. If you’d care to see more photos from the day, check out Nancy’s album.
Since a couple of months ago, when my editor Nancy Mercado asked me to moderate a writers’ panel at the Brooklyn Book Festival, I’ve been reading works by Gayle Forman (If I Stay, Where She Went), Jacqueline Woodson (After Tupac and D Foster, Under a Meth Moon), and Cory Doctorow (Makers, For the Win, Contents) so I’d be ready to ask them a few questions. Gayle’s books made me think about if, without family, there’s a point to living, Jacqueline’s made me feel like I am a 12-year-old friend growing up in Queens, and Cory’s made me see technology and world-wide gamers in a way that I still can’t quite wrap my head around. Devising questions around the panel’s topic, Making Difficult Choices (3:00), has intrigued me. These are the kinds of books I have personal relationships with now. They’ve become part of me and nudged the way I see the world. As I writer, I’m thinking about memory, and pacing, and scope of conflict with new attention. I’ve had deep reminders to write honestly about what matters to me, in ways only I can do, and to do it with conviction.
A week ago, my editor told me a different writer cancelled out on another panel and asked if she could plug me in there because my work fits the topic, Another World (2:00). So I’m on a panel with Bill Willingham and Jewell Parker Rhodes, and that should be fun, too. I expect to be inspired.
The Brooklyn Book Festival is this coming Sunday, September 18th, 10:00-6:00, and over 260 writers are involved. Events are free. Come by to hear about some amazing new books, meet some super nice writers, have a few laughs, and say hello!