Sunday, September 27, 2009

TSS: When Writers Speak

Good morning, readers. I'm very excited this weekend... my book club is getting season tickets to the Rosamond Gifford Lecture Series! This is the largest library-related lecture series in the country, it's something we've talked about attending for years, and it is finally becoming a reality! A combination of children getting older and a truly outstanding season line-up has pushed us, at long last, into action. Eight of us have purchased season tickets - six great authors and maybe even six dinners beforehand. I couldn't be happier!

This year's line-up includes:
Khaled Hosseini
Geraldine Brooks
Pete Hamill
Richard Russo
Sara Gruen
Jeffrey Toobin

I've read, or at least own in Geraldine Brooks case, books by all of these authors... except Pete Hamill. If anyone is familiar with Hamill's work, suggestions would be welcomed.

I love hearing writers speak! About ten years ago, I remember being on the edge of my seat the entire time Pat Conroy was on stage. My face actually hurt from smiling and laughing at An Evening David Sedaris last winter. Now, I can't wait to see what a talk by Richard Russo or Khaled Hosseini will bring!

Do you ever go to events like this? A few months ago, I wrote a post (When Writers Read) about authors reading their own work for audiobooks. It sparked a great discussion, and now I'm wondering about writers as speakers. Have you heard many authors speak? Obviously some must be better than others. Who have you enjoyed? Who's funny? Have they simply read from their work, or did they have a prepared talk? Do you ask questions, or hope someone else will ask them for you? How long are you willing to stand in line to get a book signed? I'd love to hear about your experiences!


  1. My daughter and I sat down with Jodi Picoult and Vince Flynn for lunch when they were in Toronto about six years ago. I was given a special pass through a publisher to attend an author's luncheon and had no idea it would be so initimate! Jodi signed a couple of books for me and Vince signed a brochure. I've also been so lucky as to have a quiet word with Robert Munsch, who signed a book for me and asked if he could sign it 'Darling Darlene'! Diana Gabaldon has spoken several times at a Highland Games Festival nearby and tells wonderful stories. She's signed a couple of my books in person and has had an assistant mail me personalized bookplates for the others. One day I wish to travel to the Hay Festival to listen to authors speak for days on end.

  2. Lucky, lucky person! We have something similar here in DC in the PEN Faulkner series at the Folger. The lineup for you is amazing! I cannot wait to see what you write about the events. Happy reading!

  3. I'm one of those weird people who don't like to meet authors, or even think of them as people. I like to know authors through their books instead. :)

  4. OK, so I thought I was jealous when I heard you were going to hear Geraldine Brooks speak, but Richard Russo as well! I even buy Russo's books when they come out. Something almost unheard of in this library besotted house.

  5. I've seen one author, and you'll probably laugh when I tell you who that one author was--none other than Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight Series and The Host. I saw her in March of last year, and, of course, had a ball. I was disappointed she and my mom hadn't had the same classes at BYU, as they were both there around the same time.

    It's funny, though, that you should post this now, as I've just planned to go see Jamie Ford, author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (which I'm almost finished with), Naseem Rakha, author of The Crying Tree, and Scott Westerfeld, author of the YA Uglies Series. They're all collected at a festival near me, and I was thrilled. I originally looked into it because I knew Naseem Rakha would be there, and the others were a very pleasant added bonus! I'm thrilled, and will definitely be posting about all of them, and soon be writing reviews for "Bitter/Sweet" and "Crying Tree" (I always nickname books).

    Meyer's was a signing as well, and she answered some questions picked from a handful ahead of time. It was great fun. I especially enjoyed her comments on reading and story-telling. I can, unfortunately, hardly remember exactly what was said, but I have it all recorded somewhere.

    Technically, a few other authors have come to my schools, but I was never particularly interested, as I was never interested in their books. I do have a signed copy of The Giver (by Lois Lowery), I think... Anyway, that's my experience. I hope to see at least on author each year, and this year I'm seeing three in one day. I will definitely be attending the same festival annually!


    P.S. Let's hope I get to see Suzanne Collins next!

  6. Such fun! I read a book by Pete Hamill for my bookclub. I think it may have been called Snow in August.

  7. Lucky, lucky you! Can't wait for a full report. Enjoy!

  8. This sounds wonderful! I am more than a little jealous :)

  9. Wow - that's so exciting, especially Khaled Hosseini and Geraldine Brooks. Very envious! I once heard Sebastien Faulks talk and also Vikram Seth - it was amazing to hear such good writers talk about their writing and read from their latest books. Look forward to hearing about the events as you go!

  10. Wow, what a great lineup. That sounds like SO MUCH fun! :-)

  11. Darlene - The author luncheon sounds wonderful ...and 'Darling Darlene' - I love it! Attending something like the Hay Festival would be a dream.

    Frances - We've had some great line-ups in the past, but this one is really special. Do you ever go to the series at the Folger?

    Eva - I'm sure meeting authors isn't for everyone. Wouldn't it be horrible if you didn't like one of your favorites?

    Ann (Table Talk) - I was at the bookstore hours after Russo's latest book was released! He's one of my favorites, but I'll have to wait until March for his talk.

    Madeleine - That is so cool that your mom and Stephanie Meyer were at BYU together! The festival you're going to sounds great, too...I love having opportunities like that!

    Reviewsbylola - Snow in August is the title one of my group members suggested. ( I kept thinking of Light in August by Faulkner!) Did you like it?

    ds - I'll be sure to report back!

    Verity - Wish I could have heard Seth. I loved A Suitable Boy! Hosseini will be the first speaker...a week from tomorrow.

    Marie - We're all really looking forward to it! Hosseini is next week, and I'm thinking of hosting a pot luck dinner beforehand.

  12. OMG!! I'm so jealous and happy for you that you get to experience these awesome authors!!!!

  13. Thanks, Staci...all these years of wanting to do this, and now I finally am!

  14. Khaled Hosseini! I'm so jealous. I love his writing, and I've always wondered how he would come across as a speaker. Can't wait for your update.

  15. Hazra - Hosseini speaks on Tuesday, so hopefully you won't have to wait very long! I'm still trying to decide if I can fit in a reread over the weekend...I really want to finish The Woman in White though.


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