Chicago Book Expo Puts Abandoned Borders to Good Use
PER THE CHICAGOIST:
“There will be no Black Friday sales at Uptown’s Borders this year. Instead, there’ll be something much cooler–and a week earlier to boot, allowing you to digest that Thanksgiving dinner properly. The Chicago Writers House Project is creating a pop-up bookstore in the empty building Nov. 19-20. Featuring more than 40 fiction and poetry presses, Chicago Book Expo 2011 will also include readings, live performances, and architectural walking tours.”
Well, the first Chicago book expo is over, and I must say it was a worthwhile event. Congratulations to the organization crew for their kindness and efforts in making this book fair one that is most certain to return next year. Here is a little report on how it went, along with photos of the event.
The day was cold and very windy. The luck (or lack thereof) of the draw was such that we (me and my fellow author/publisher and friend Andre Frieden from Avendia Publishing, along with a good number of Chicago presses and local fiction authors) ended up setting shop in the basement of the Uptown Broadway Building -across the former Borders store instead of within the same building-, which is rumored to be a former speakeasy.
At least, the dark, ominous setting was quite appropriate for thriller writers!
The good news is, I found a new mascot there. How could I describe it? It’s like a lucky charm, only slightly bigger than a rabbit’s foot. Here it is, below.
What a difference a new locale makes! Today, we are all sharing the space within the former Borders bookstore. It is well lit, warm and cosy! Great attendance throughout the day, which made for good sales and great conversations with the public. Channel 2 (CBS local news) was also in attendance and filmed my stand (along with my 2010 Oscar award from the French community, which the cameraman really liked!). CCLAP Publishing was also in attendance at the book expo, selling both anthologies “Amsterdamned if you do” and “American Wasteland”, for which I have contributed short stories.
At 3 PM, Andre Frieden, Libby Fisher Hellman and I took part in a reading of excerpts of our respective novels, followed by a 15-minute Q&A about thrillers. The photo below shows Andre, Libby and I after the reading.
The weekend event wrapped up at 6 pm.
I want to thank the Chicago public for braving the weather to come out and support their local writing community. This is probably the first time that so many local authors and small presses were together at the same time under the same roof, and that was an impressive feat. I also got the chance to meet fantastic people there, in addition to seeing old friends again as well as members of the Chicago Writing Association. Looking forward to next year!
List of the presses in attendance at the first BOOK EXPO
Grow Books Press
CCLaP: Chicago Center for Literature and Photography
The University of Chicago Press
The Handshake Magazine
Progressive Chicago Book Making
Arrow as Aarow
Sara Ranchouse Publishing
Burial Day + Contratiempo
Lake Street Press + Wicker Park Press
Rose Metal Press + Anobium
Speakeasy Saturday /Borders building Sunday
Nan Bu Nan Publishing
Drag City Books
Other Voices Books (near Curbside Splendor/ACM)
Curbside Splendor + Another Chicago Magazine
Lake Forest College Press + &NOW Books
Miss Nyet + Avendia
Wolfsword Press + Chicago Creative Coop
Green Lantern Press + MAKE Magazine