LA Times Festival of Books Recap
N and I spent Saturday at the University of Southern California campus for the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books and we both had a great time. Here’s a little recap of our day.
Lev Grossman and John Green Panel
I love attending panels where I get to see creative people become even more awesome before my eyes. Lev Grossman (author, The Magician King) and John Green (author, The Fault in Our Stars) wrote two of my favorite books this year and I’m grateful for the opportunity to see them just chat with each other at USC. Grossman is a book reviewer for Time and does not hide the fact he is a big fan of The Fault in Our Stars. I just love how funny and genuine both men were onstage and I wish I could be as relaxed, candid and genuine in front of a crowd as they had been.
Drawing Outside the Lines Panel
Attended a panel with comic artists Jim Woodring, Joseph Lambert and Carla Speed McNeil (her book Finder: Voice won the 2011 L.A. Book Prize) moderated by Deborah Vankin. I thought it was interesting to hear the panelists’ early experiences self-publishing their comics by photocopying and distributing their work at cons. With the proliferation of digital publishing options available to cartoonists today, their experience feels like it’s from simpler times even though it wasn’t that long ago.
I remember particularly appreciating Carla’s approach to comics early in the panel. Like me, she fell in love with drawing through animation and movies. She discovered animating was way too difficult and time consuming (in the sense that going up the ladder to become the main storyteller would take years.) Comics became the perfect vehicle to tell her stories, and she compared it to directing her own movies where she has absolute control over everything. I’ve always felt the same way with my own work and have used the “studio” metaphor in my comics numerous times throughout the years.
Emerging Voices Reading
N read an excerpt from his short story at the Etc Stage along with his fellow EV writers. It’s always fun to see these guys read their work out loud in public. You get a real sense of their voice and observe the personal rhythm of their writing. I remember being surprised listening to Neil Gaiman read excerpts from Fragile Things back in 2006 and thinking to myself, “Wow, this is how the words on the pages actually sound in his head.” (It sounds really cool with a British accent!)
Writers don’t always have the mic and the spotlight so I’m happy N’s work gets featured like this on occasion. He also gave another performance on Sunday at the Hotel Cafe which he aced as well.
It was a pretty busy weekend away from Polterguys pages and I’m still paying the price by trying to catch up on three days’ worth of work. But I’m still really grateful I got to go. The Festival of Books is an annual event that’s free to the public and I encourage you to go if you get a chance. It’s absolutely worth braving traffic downtown to attend industry panels, get to see creators talk about their work and soak in the creative atmosphere and zest for publishing.