21 March 2009

A Day of Authors

Today, I got up really early in the morning and drove to Cal State Fullerton. I was lucky enough to be one of the first 500 people to register for the ALPHA 17th Annual Day of Authors.

The keynote speaker was Jodi Picoult. I have to confess to never having read any of her books, but I may have to change that. She was a captivating speaker, talking about the research for three of her books in particular: Second Glance, Nineteen Minutes and her latest title, Handle With Care.

The second speaker was Nicole Mones, who spoke about her experiences in China, and her latest novel The Last Chinese Chef, which won World Gourmand Cookbook Award, 1st place in the U.S. and 3rd place worldwide as the best Chinese cookbook of 2007.

There were six breakout session speakers, and I chose Kerry Madden's session because she writes children's books, and I really miss being a children's librarian. What I hadn't realized when I registered was that her latest book is a YA-level biography of Harper Lee, who just happens to have written one of my favourite books of all time. She told some wonderful and hilarious tales of interviewing some of Miss Lee's contemporaries and neighbours. (Harper Lee herself refuses to be interviewed, because she doesn't believe a person should be biographied while still alive.)

The closing speaker was Rhys Bowen, an elegant and gracious woman whom I actually saw a great deal last week in Hawai'i. Her description of her evolution as a writer was witty and charming, and was a lovely end to a wonderful day.

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