If you live in New York and read young adult books you might already know this, if not, let me clue you in: Last week (March 14 to March 20) was the third annual New York City Teen Author Festival. The week-long event includes author readings, signings, and other wacky events. The festivities culminate in a MASSIVE author signing at Books of Wonder–a delightful independent bookstore (with in-house cupcakes!) that always hosts really great events.
I’m sure it’s a huge amount of work but the festival a lot of great events and introduces people to a lot of really fabulous books. As always, this year I was floored by how smoothly everything went, how well it was organized, how many authors participated (and were willing to take the time to do so), and of course how very, very fun it was.
I attended the first year’s massive author signing when I was still finding my voice as a blogger and last year I attended two great events with friends I met during library school. The first year kind of changed my life–I’d never actually been to a book signing or met any authors before–and the second year was great to go to so many events with my friends and fellow book lovers.
This year, though, was really fantastic. Together with the inimitable Nicole who blogs as the Book Bandit, my friend and event buddy for all things book related, I think this year I really managed to rock the NYC Teen Author Festival like a pro. (The week started a day early, the Sunday before the Festival, with a viewing of Gnomeo and Juliet–again with The Book Bandit–it was a lot of fun and essentially a movie length homage to Elton John. What’s not to love?)
The Teen Author Festival is always a big deal for me and something I look forward to. This year, I took it to the next level. Nicole and I have been preparing for this week for a month. Seriously. I think expeditions to the top of Mount Everest have been mounted with less preparation.
The week of Festival events started, as many weeks do for me, with reader’s theater. On Tuesday, with The Book Bandit, I attended a Reader’s Theater event at Barnes and Noble in Union Square. The event, featuring Holly Black, Judy Blundell, Gayle Forman, and Eliot Schrefer (AKA E. Archer), was hosted by YA dynamo David Levithan. For the event, each author adapted an excerpt from one of their books into a script to be performed . . . by the authors! Reader’s theater is always a good time but this event was especially fun because the readings were a blend of some of my favorite authors new books (“>Where She Went and “>Strings Attached) and some of the funniest excerpts I’ve ever heard (“>The Good Neighbors and“> Geek Fantasy Novel). It was a magical evening all around made even better by getting to talk to Judy Blundell and Gayle Forman (who liked the jewelery my mom made!) and getting Judy Blundell’s new book Strings Attached which I am crazy excited to read. The performance from Geek Fantasy Novel was definitely the funniest thing I’ve heard in weeks–if the excerpt is any indication then the book is going to be absolutely hysterical.
The very next day Nicole and I headed uptown to NYPL’s Schwarzman Building for a combination Tiger Beat/book reading event. Tiger Beat is a band comprised of . . . YA authors! Specifically the band consists of: Libba Bray, Natalie Standiford, Daniel Ehrenhaft, and Barnabas Miller. They do a variety of covers and some original songs, perhaps most famously The YA Song which expounds the virtues of none other than Holden Caulfield. (They also debuted a song this time mentioned in Bray’s Printz winning novel “>Going Bovine. Between sets the audience was also treated to a variety of readings by Philana Marie Boles, Libba Bray, Barnabas Miller, Jon Skovron, Jeri Smith-Ready, and Rita Williams Garcia. All of the readings were great (of course) and there are a lot of books to be excited about from this bunch.
The week-long author fest culminated at Books of Wonder for a signing featuring FORTY-FIVE authors. It was epic. Nicole and I were there for three hours. We both had huge bags of books. It was crowded and crazy. And it was worth it.
It’s always great to meet the author of a book you love. This year, for me, it was really cool because I was able to line up some exciting things for future blog content, pass around business cards (yes, I have cards), and talk books. And acquire books. (I’m doing my part to support the publishing industry.) All of the authors were delightful and charming and fantastic. The day was amazing and I walked away having talked to a lot of my favorite authors.
For anyone who is desperately curious, here are the authors I met at the signing: Maryrose Wood, Maggie Stiefvater, Alyssa Sheinmel, Leila Sales, Sarah Mlynowski, Terra Elan McVoy,Melina Marchetta, David Levithan, Melissa Kantor, Gwendolyn Heasley, Kim Harrington, Elizabeth Eulberg, Sarah Beth Durst. ‘
Here’s a fun surprise: Some of the signed books aren’t for me. They are for YOU, dear readers. Whiles I am not doing weekly giveaways anymore I do have big plans for this year’s Blog Birthday–so watch for that!