Boston Book Festival 2011

Union Park Press is excited for the Boston Book Festival this Saturday, October 15—really excited. We love festivals, we love books, we love Boston. How could we not love the Boston Book Festival?

But what does the Boston Book Festival offer to the average festival-goer? For starters its a chance to see some super-star writers in action–Michael Ondaatje, Julia Alvarez, Andre Dubus III, Gregory Macguire, to name just a few. But  is also a chance to see how Boston, Athens of America, exists as a literary city. Writers live here. Publishers operate here. Poets compose here. And this festival is a chance for people who are regularly engaged by what is  a solitary pursuit to showcase their work.

For a small local publisher there is probably no better way to interact with our (potential) readers. What’s more, we get to talk turkey with booksellers, reviewers, and other industry professionals. Our only gripe, of course, is that we don’t get the chance to go to any of the lectures because we’re too busy rubbing elbows (and this year, making buttons) to attend!

But there is no shortage of great events and lectures scheduled this year.  Here are three events that I would recommend (and would attend, if I could in fact be in two places at once…)

  1. If you don’t know the seriously talented Kelly Link and Gavin Grant yet—just wait a few minutes. I first read Link when she published a great collection of stories:  Stranger Things Happen. She’s been busy since. Link and Grant are also the founders of Small Beer Press, based out of Easthampton, MA. So the question is, what do you do next when you’re already an avant garde publishing power couple, published some of your own work and  started your own press? You create a new genre, that’s what!  To find out more, swing by their session on Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Storiesbilled as an anthology that defies its genre even as it defines it.
  2.  We are foodies at UPP, and so the noon hour would be spent at Eat Your Words. In particular, we’d love to hear what Amy Traverso has to say about apples and her new cookbook,The Apple Lover’s Cookbook. I recently made the apple and sweet potato pancakes for the Jewish Holidays and my picky eaters devoured them. The coobook just came out in September, and there are fabulous seasonal and holiday recipes to make use of all those apples you’ve picked with your kids.
  3. At 4pm, I would run, double time, to get a seat at the One City, One Story discussion of my all-time favorite writer’s short story: “The Whore’s Child.” Richard Russo is as good as it gets—he’s funny, smart, and is the kind of self-effacing writer who I’d love to get a beer with. If you haven’t yet read Russo, try: Straight Man, Nobody’s Fool, The Risk Pool, or Empire Falls. I’ve read everything he’s written at least twice, and regularly give his books as gifts. There’s still time to get a free copy of The Whore’s Child so you can participate in what promises to be a really fabulous discussion. Best part? Russo will be there to crack wise and lip fart.

Here are a few others that might appeal to localvore bibliophiles and history lovers:

Don’t Know Much About Boston History Quiz 

The Civil War

New England Stories: Readings in the Forum

Finally, make sure you swing by the Union Park Press booth to check out our books. We’ll be there pressing palms and buttons…

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