Saturday, March 25, 2006

PLA conference talk report

Last night Mark and I got home from the Public Library Association conference in Boston, where I was invited to give the keynote at a preconference workshop on historical fiction/nonfiction. So this afternoon, I was googling the session to find out if anyone blogged it, and it turns out that someone did. Someone from YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) must have been sitting there with their laptop taking notes while I was talking, because the report seems accurate. It's a rundown of some of the points I covered, minus the actual PowerPoint slides. I'm impressed - this is pretty cool. It even makes the talk look relatively well organized, which is a good thing :)

I've been hearing positive feedback from the committee who invited me, as well as others who attended, so I'm assuming it went well. We had a sold-out crowd of about 200 people, and it was great to see so much interest in historical topics. Right after the talk, I had one librarian come up to me to tell me what she didn't like, namely that I didn't booktalk (i.e., give a plot summary/enticing description) all the books whose jackets I displayed during the presentation. Well, there were around 30 such books, and I only had 45 minutes, so this wasn't terribly realistic. But I am going to prepare a handout listing these books, in case people are curious about hearing more. Supposedly PLA's going to put my other handout online, too, the one that talks about the different HF subgenres.

Although I had a book-signing on Thursday afternoon at the Libraries Unlimited booth, nobody came to it, but that didn't surprise me much - it was scheduled opposite Elie Wiesel's lunch talk, and not everyone wants reference books signed anyway. So I spent a pleasant hour talking about the writing process with two other LU authors, Sharron Smith (Canadian Fiction) and John Mort (Christian Fiction).

It's weird to be back home in Charleston after four days of steady activities. The dinner that NoveList staff organized for their read-alike authors at Grill 23 on Wednesday night was especially awesome, as was the LU reception at the Boston Atheneum on Thursday. No offense to the restaurants around here, but it won't come as any surprise that they don't quite measure up. Today I'm pretty much relaxing, going through the mail (a few review books showed up while I was gone...) and am about to start an exciting load (or loads) of laundry... stay tuned.

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