A new Tucson tradition

I had a fabulous time this weekend at the first annual Tucson Festival of Books. Right now, when writers talk about events, the talk is so often about numbers being down–so what a delight it was to see the University of Arizona Mall packed with Tucsonans who’d come out to celebrate books and reading. I hear about 30,000 people showed up, which in a city of about a million This huge, but more, there was just a good energy about the weekend, as we all spent a beautiful Arizona spring day wandering the event together.

And there were so many panels in so many different genres one couldn’t even really begin to choose–I managed to find time to hear Emma (coffeeem) and Will (talking about being a writing couple), Neal Shusterman (whose Antsy Does Time and Unwind both recently blew me away in different ways), Adam Rex (whose True Meaning of Smekday is the funniest post-apocalyptic book you’ll ever read, and who drew pictures as he spoke), and Cynthia Leitich Smith (cynleitichsmith, whose Cynsations blog is required reading for children’s and YA writers and illustrators, and whose Eternal was just released).

I spoke on a couple panels too: one on Five Minutes in the Life of a Children’s Author (along with Juanita Havill, Terri Fields, B.G. Hennessy, Jennifer J. Stewart (jennifer_j_s), and Lynne Avril; and one on writing fantasy for teens (with Charles de Lint and Laurie Brooks). And I spent time signing at Mysterious Galaxy, an independent SF/fantasy/mystery bookstore based in San Diego (they’re also ConDor regulars and the folks who made sure I knew about that con), as well as visiting with the folks at my local B&N.

There are some photos from the five-minutes panel here. Lynne drew photos of each of us speaking as we spoke, which impressed me tremendously! (What do you think? Does it look like me? :-))

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m ready for next year!

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