Monday, September 26, 2011

National Book Festival

This weekend I was able to visit my best friend, Heather, in Washington, DC—yay! It was so great to see her. We planned our get together this particular weekend because it was the National Book Festival.

Here are some of the highlights of the Saturday speakers:

Toni Morrison: Did you know that the Beloved author was also an editor for years and years? It was great to hear her talk about that side of her career!

Sarah Dessen: I loved her bit of writing ‘advice’: “I always eat two pieces of chocolate before writing.” Since she clearly had a fantastic writing career, I think I should just channel her talent by also having two pieces of chocolate before I write!

Katherine Paterson and John Rocco: I had already heard the fantastic Katherine Paterson speak last spring, but she surprised us by inviting John Rocco, the illustrator for Katherine and her husband John’s most recent book, The Flint Heart. I immediately liked John Rocco when he said: “I feel uneasy when I walk into people’s houses that don’t have books. As soon as I see bookshelves I feel comfortable. I know these are good people.”

Cassandra Clare: She told the most fantastic stories of her, Holly Black, and Sarah Rees Brennan doing research for their books. Like breaking into a deserted building on Roosevelt Island so Cassie could use it as a setting for her Mortal Instruments series and Holly horribly covering for her when the cops showed up…or Cassie driving Holly around in the trunk of her car so that Holly could accurately write about a kidnapping in her Curse Workers series…or the three traipsing around London taking pictures of Victorian buildings only to discover that there was a person in that window, and he was naked! Having met both Holly and Sarah I can just imagine the fun adventures they’ve had together!

Brian Selznick: He is a genius. I’m sure of it. The amount of research that goes into his books is astounding and the way he pursues his projects really shows he thinks book making is art; it’s not just about the plot or characters, it’s about what turning a page means and how each word or image interacts with each other word and image but also the reader. I just could not believe how thoughtful he was. I haven’t yet read The Invention of Hugo Cabret or Wonderstruck—the $30 price tag is a bit high for my budget—but I’m definitely checking them out from the library asap and will hopefully catch the movie adaptation of his first book, Hugo, this winter.

So, there you have my and Heather’s adventures…I hope to return to the National Book Festival again next year!


  1. Wow - sounds like a weekend of fantastic inspiration!

    Just wanted to let you know that I mentioned you for an award over at my blog:

    Have a great week!

  2. It was a great weekend! And thanks so much for recognizing me!