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This fall, not only will booksellers across the country have a chance to meet in person for conferences, trade shows, and other educational gatherings but they’ll have lots of opportunities to connect with authors with big books coming out from presses large and small. Here are selected events from each show, compiled in the order in which they will take place.
Pass a Good Time with SIBA in New Orleans
New Orleans, September 7–8
This day-and-a-half event gives booksellers a chance to network, learn bookselling tips, and meet authors across genres. It kicks off with a visit to four bookstores that have renovated, changed locations, and/or launched during the pandemic.
• A bookstore bus tour will make stops at Baldwin & Co., Tubby & Coo’s Mid-city Book Shop, Octavia Books, and Garden District Book Shop.
• A welcome reception is planned at the Historic New Orleans Collection in the French Quarter.
• Bookseller presentations will feature Jill Hendrix of Fiction Addiction in Greenville, S.C., on lessons learned from two decades in bookselling, and a conversation with Shari Stauch of Main Street Reads in Summerville, S.C., and Angela Trigg of the Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Ala., on online automation tools and offline organization.
• ABA will present a session on understanding profit-and-loss statements, and how to use the annual ABACUS Report that it prepares. NOLA booksellers will lead an idea exchange on how booksellers can assess what’s working at their store.
• An author lunch is planned, as is an author speed-dating event to close out the day.
CALIBA Fall Fest
Sacramento, Calif., September 9–11
Fittingly, the California Independent Booksellers Alliance, which represents booksellers throughout the state, has chosen California’s capital as the site for its first conference and trade show since its inception in 2020. This is also CALIBA’s first in-person trade show, and the group is encouraging booksellers to meet with their elected officials and visit the city’s many independent bookstores. Rep picks, bookseller roundtables, and education break up two and a half days filled with author events, as well as opportunities to spend time in the exhibit hall.
• An opening cocktail reception will be held at There and Back Café, which is around the corner from owner Capital Books, with six authors: Charmaine Craig (My Nemesis), Clare Frank (Burnt: A Memoir of Fighting Fire), Stephanie Keuhn (By the Time You Read This I’ll Be Gone), Benson Shum (Anzu the Great Kaiju), Joseph Earl Thomas (Sink), and Salina Yoon (Penguin and Penelope).
• More writers are on tap at the next day’s breakfast with “rockstar” indie booksellers and authors: Andrew Sean Greer (Less Is Lost), Ross Gay (Inciting Joy), Kristin Harmel (The Paris Daughter), Jenny Odell (Saving Time: Discovering a Life Beyond the Clock), and Abraham Verghese (Covenant of Water).
• An author speed-dating event will feature 10 writers, including Carell Augustus (Black Hollywood: Reimagining Iconic Movie Moments), Ethan Chatagnier (Singer Distance), Jennifer Givhan (River Woman, River Demon), Darwin Bond Graham (The Riders Come out at Night), and Kiyash Mosef (Once There Was).
•The last day begins with a children’s breakfast with Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen (The Three Billy Goats Gruff), Jason Chin (The Universe in You: A Microscopic Journey), Julie Fogliano (I Don’t Care, illus. by Molly Idle and Juana Martinez-Neal), Matt de la Peña (Patchwork, illus. by Corinna Luykenen), and Deborah Underwood (Walter Had a Best Friend, illus. by Sergio Ruzzier), with authors and education panels across all genres and interests scheduled throughout the rest of the day.
• A panel on allyship and activism in kids’ books features Lesa Cline-Ransome (For Lamb), Angela Joy (Choosing Brave, illus. by Janelle Washington), and Doyin Richards (You Matter to Me, illus. by Robert Paul Jr.).
• The closing reception highlights adult and children’s writers, including Stephen Markley (The Deluge), Wallace J. Nichols (Dear Wild Child), Louesa Roebuck (Punk Ikebana), and Tess Sharpe (Six Times We Almost Kissed [And One Time We Did]).
Tacoma, Wash., September 18–20
Authors and rep picks dominate this year’s Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association show, which is being held just outside Seattle. Plenty of time has been built into the schedule for booksellers to explore the book and gift exhibits, as well as attend educational programs, ranging from how to shift a bookstore’s focus to a specific genre or form of activism to an ABA presentation entitled “Decoding the P&L.“
• Opening brunch presents Ava Chin (Mott Street: A Chinese American Family’s Story of Exclusion and Homecoming), Victor LaValle (Lone Woman), and Matt Ruff (The Destroyer of Worlds: A Return to Lovecraft Country), among others.
• Dinner at the Kids’ Table features picture book writer Mac Barnett (The Three Billy Goats Gruff, illus. by Jon Klassen), chapter book author Saadia Faruqi (Marya Khan and the Incredible Henna Party), illustrator Corinna Luyken (Patchwork, with text by Matt de la Peña), poet Jordan Scott (My Baba’s Garden, illus. by Sydney Smith), and middle grade author Renée Watson (Ways to Share Joy).
• Breakfast is worth getting up for when it’s filled with nearly a dozen authors, ranging from Neil Cochrane (The Story of the Hundred Promises), Kevin Maloney (The Red-Headed Pilgrim), Andrea Pons (Mamacita: Recipes Celebrating Life as a Mexican Immigrant in America), and Janet Yoder (Where the Language Lives: Vi Hilbert and the Gift of Lushootseed).
•Eighteen children’s and adult authors and illustrators will mingle with booksellers at the final dinner, called “The Signature Dish.” Among them are Erin Bow (Simon Sort of Says), Suzanne Kaufman (A Friend for Ghosts and All Are Neighbors), Mary Kubica (Just the Nicest Couple), Cherie Priest (Flight Risk), Trang Thanh Tran (She Is a Haunting), and Jason Roeder (Griefstrike!).
• The closing author event, the Authors Over Easy Breakfast, brings together Roshani Chokshi (The Last Tale of the Flower Bride), Cai Emmons (Livid and Unleashed), Dan Flores (Wild New World: The Epic Story of Animals and People in America), and Stephen Markley (The Deluge).
The NEIBA Fall Conference
Providence, R.I., September 21–23
When the New England Independent Booksellers Association conference and trade show returns for the first time in person since 2019, it will launch in its longtime venue, the Rhode Island Convention Center, and with a similar format as in years past, with education sessions, rep picks, keynotes, and a multiauthor reception—and that’s just the first day.
• Opening day keynotes will feature Kwame Alexander (The Door of No Return) and Tracy Kidder (Rough Sleepers).
• An author reception will feature more than two dozen writers, including Kelly Andrew (The Whispering Dark), Jay Baruch (Tornado of Life), Janet Bosta Bates (Rica Baptista), Ann Dávila Cardinal (The Storyteller’s Death), Boyah J. Farah (America Made Me a Black Man: A Memoir), Kelly Link (White Cat, Black Dog), and Tony Massarotti (This Is Our City).
• An adult author breakfast will include Helen Elaine Lee (Pomegranate), Laurie Lico Albanese (Hester), Rebecca Makkai (I Have Some Questions for You), and Susan Rogers (This Is What It Sounds Like, coauthored by Ogi Ogas).
• A children’s author breakfast will include Tami Charles and Bryan Collier (We Are Here), Gale Galligan (Freestyle), Chloe Gong (Foul Lady Fortune), Malinda Lo (A Scatter of Light), and Brian Selznick (Big Tree).
• For the closing keynote Grady Hendrix (How to Sell a Haunted House) will be in conversation with Isabel Cañas (The Hacienda).
Denver, September 28–October 1
This year’s Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association conference and trade show opens with a children’s author and illustrator keynote and includes a daylong Pick of the Lists presentation, as well as an opening reception in the exhibit hall. The last day is packed with education and networking sessions. And it wouldn’t be FallCon without cocktails and bragging rights for the winners of literary trivia. At press time, many authors were still being confirmed.
• Philip C. Stead and Erin E. Stead (The Sun Is Late and So Is the Farmer) will be joined by authors and illustrators of five books to lead off the show.
• Justin Cronin (The Ferryman), Lydia Millet (Dinosaurs), Matthew Quick (We Are the Light), and Brian Selznick (Big Tree) are among the featured writers at a keynote breakfast.
• Six authors of speculative fiction will participate in a keynote lunch entitled “Worlds of Words,” including Kalynn Bayron (The Vanquishers), Alexandra Bracken (Sliver in the Bone), Brianna Joy Crump (Of Cases and Crowns), J.R. Dawson (The First Bright Thing), Victor LaValle (Lone Women), and Rudy Ruiz (Valley of Shadows).
• Other opportunities to meet include lunch with a dozen fiction writers and a breakfast where 12 nonfiction authors will speak. Two author speed-dating events, one with 15 adult authors and a second with 15 children’s writers, are also planned.
Heartland Fall Forum (GLIBA and MIBA)
St. Louis, October 12–14
The Heartland partnership formed by the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association and the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association is marking its 10th year.
• This year’s event leads off with a bookstore bus tour followed by a celebration for the winners of the Heartland Booksellers Award and Voice of the Heartland, hosted by Isaac Fitzgerald (Dirtbag, Massachusetts) and Saeed Jones (Alive at the End of the World).
• The opening night closes with a 10th anniversary party for Heartland, featuring 10 independent press sponsors.
• A plenary breakfast featuring literacy advocate Sidney Keys III (Books n Bros: 44 Inspiring Books for Black Boys), and education sessions will open the second day, along with opportunities to visit the trade show floor.
• Other longtime favorites, like Quiz Bowl, will be back.
• The last day features breakfast with five keynoters, including Ross Gay (Inciting Joy), Veronica Roth (Arch-conspirator), and Brandon Taylor (The Late Americans), as well as a lunchtime moveable feast with 40 authors.
Rhinebeck, N.Y., October 17
In addition to education, a favorite children’s author will be receiving NAIBA’s highest award.
• The morning education will include private breakouts for an owners retreat and staff retreat to discuss issues particular to them.
• A Legacy Award will be presented to Lesa Cline-Ransome for her body of work.
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