Sunday, October 16, 2011

Southern Festival of Books in Nashville

Hi all!

Early morning at festival
Clyde Edgerton
I'm just back from the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, Tennessee! Besides seeing my sweet cousin and eating lots of good Southern food (fried green tomatoes, collard greens, fresh shrimp from the Gulf coast, lots and lots of barbeque), I spent Saturday at the book festival. There were tons of amazing authors there--it was a librarian's dream! I heard Alexandra Styron read from her touching memoir about her famous, tortured father in her book Reading My Father: A Memoir. Then I raced over to another venue to hear two of my favorite Southern authors, Clyde Edgerton and Josephine Humphreys talk about their work and read. Edgerton is the master of southern dialogue. And he's so funny!

Walter Mosley
I met with my fellow panelist, Roger Reid, to talk about what the heck we were going to say in our discussion in the late afternoon. Roger's a great guy as well as an Emmy award-winning director and producer. Roger is the author of a really cool series of fiction series for middle graders and teens. As I was getting ready to go hear Walter Mosley speak, I ran into him in the hallway and directed him to the bathroom! I was thrilled! Mr. Mosley read from his latest (and very different) novel The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey. I can't wait to read it. Very affecting...

Next I dashed over to the Capitol Building to hear my good friend Ruta Sepetys give an amazing and heartbreaking presentation on the story behind her best seller Between Shades of Gray. I was so proud of her and the success of that book. It deserves it.

After Ruta, Charles Frazier (author of the award-winning Cold Mountain) talked about his latest book, Nightwoods. Another one I must get my hands on.

Oh, and yes, I was there as an author myself! Roger and I each read bits from our books, talked about why we like writing for kids and teens, and answered lots of questions from a small but enthusiastic audience. I was so thrilled to be in Nashville since part of A Dog's Way Home takes place in the city. And I'll take any excuse to go "back home" to the South.

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