I’m here in the Big Apple and have attended both the Backspace Writers’ Conference and the BEA (Book Expo America). The Book Expo is an event I have attended for the past 5 years, ever since it was held in Chicago at McCormack Place. Then there was one in Washington, D.C. and a couple in New York City at the Jacob Javits Center.
One thing is for sure: you are going to have top-notch authors everywhere and there will be interesting programs and speakers. The morning Master of Ceremonies last year was Stephen Colbert, and the author of “1000 Splendid Suns” spoke. This year’s M.C. was Craig Ferguson, and the advertised author was Pat Conroy (“Prince of Tides,” “Beaches”). Unfortunately, Conroy—who had Davenport ties with his (now deceased) brother a priest at St. Anthony’s in Davenport at one time—was ill and, at the last minute, unable to attend the luncheon. (Rumor I heard was that he had surgery 2 days prior).
Still, the Backspace Writers’ Conference being held on W. 32nd Street at the Radisson Martinique Hotel featured keynote speaker David Morrell (“Rambo”) and at least 12 separate agents visited and shared wisdom with the would-be authors. Morrell was receiving an award for being so supportive of the conference, initially, but there were other speakers throughout the day.
Unfortunately, I was unable to hear his keynote address today in the afternoon, as I was helping hold down a table at the BEA for one hour (2:30 to 3:30 p.m.) advertising my first collaborative novel Out of Time and meeting and greeting a variety of authors, booksellers and readers.
One notable event occurred with “Sully,” that would be the pilot who put his plane down safely in the Hudson River, saving all 155 passengers onboard, spoke to the assembled crowd. (See photo). On Saturday night, musicians Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and Clarence Clemmons, “the Big Man” of E-Street Band fame were speakers.
All-in-all, with the weather improving to perfect by today, it has been a busy and fun-filled 5 days, and, except for having to find a dentist in midtown Manhattan to fix a tooth that flossed into oblivion, a very productive trip.