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Entries in Book Festivals (6)


Midnight special

In Skudenes. Photo courtesy of Jose Luis Zaragoza.It’s late. I’m triple-espresso awake do to some strange residual jetlag, mixed with insomnia. Not to mention tomorrow—heck this entire week, will be nothing but an indulgent, two-fisted writing binge (much needed), hence I’m afflicted with work-fever, feeling like a kid on Christmas Eve.

So what better time to catch up on recent doings, of which there have been many.

Did I mention Norway?

Yes, this trip to Northern Europe finally came to fruition and was absolutely worth the wait (and 23 hour journey each way, via Amsterdam).

Oslo was splendid and it was a pleasure meeting folks from my Norwegian publisher, Pantagruel. (Thanks Alex!)

And yes, Norway made my heart quiver with envy as I stared on the outside looking in, to a culture with universal healthcare, free college, and government-paid maternity and paternity leave (1 year for moms and 3 months for dads). All for a tax rate equivalent to what I’m paying now. Ah, America…land of the free, home of the reactionary, polarized, hyper-political obstructionist. Ah, but I digress…

Politics aside, the lucid dream of the week was the SILK Festival in Skudenes, a seaside village with a population lower than the student body of a typical Texas high school—small, but in a gorgeous location—pristine, persevered, and magical.

And the lovely people we hung out with (from the UK, Norway, Iraq, Spain, Nigeria, Vietnam) were among the most literate, interesting, and fantastically unpretentious folks we’d ever met.

It’s no coincidence that we’re planning on sending a daughter (or two) back to Norway as exchange students.

The view from the podium at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. What, no mosh pit? And before I’d even unpacked, I was off again, this time to California for the 5th Annual Thousand Oaks Reads. Previous authors included David Eggers and Jonathan Safran Foer—heady company, to say the least.

The venue was enormous and the production first-class. I felt like a rock star, minus the contract clauses about no brown M&M’s in the dressing room. (There was a bottle of peach schnapps, leftover from a previous headliner, perhaps?)

So many cameras. Note to self: fix zipper and check teeth of spinach.And last, but not least, I had yet another film meeting. It’s still a long-shot, but in the search to find a proper home for my literary child, we’re getting closer and closer.


March Madness

I wish I were a bigger NCAA basketball nut, but alas, I’m not. And neither is my immediately family. When I asked Luc, my 12-year-old, who he was pulling for he said, “Kentucky, because I love their fried chicken.” That kinda says it all right there.

But March brings travel madness—in this case I’m on the road for more than half the month. So far it’s been Seattle…Stuart and Vero Beach, Florida…Coeur d’Alene, Idaho…and Arizona, for the Tucson Festival of Books.

The best thing about book festivals is getting to hang with fellow authors. I loved spending time with Lisa Genova, Ann Hood, Helen Simonson (who really should have her own HBO Special) and Luis & Cindy Urrea.

On a side note, while in Tucson we were able to attend a benefit to preserve ethnic studies in Arizona—Mexican American History, Black History Month, books about Chinese boys falling in love with Japanese girls—just sayin’.

With plaintiff, Curtis Acosta, along with Luis Alberto Urrea, Ann Hood, and Thomas Cobb.Next week I’m off to Findlay-Hancock, Ohio for another community read.

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