Turn of the table

Dear bookish reader,

Several years ago I attended the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association trade show in Portland, Oregon. I went with Melissa Behnke, the co-owner of Fireside Books. It was so serious and so fun. We were bona fide booksellers with empty suitcases and notebooks, setting out on an important mission — to learn more about our trade and to discover, and bring home, exciting new books.

But we were also book lovers in a land of books.  We went on giddy binges of greed, walking the trade show floor and filling our arms with free books. We sat in on panel discussions and visited with other booksellers. We talked books, and talked books.

By far the most memorable event was the “feast of authors.” We were all situated at tables in a dining hall. Throughout the meal, selected authors sat down at our table and visited with us. Several authors came to our table that night; I remember two vividly. Floyd Skloot, a wonderful poet, novelist and essayist, told us about his memoir,  A World of Light. Since that dinner, his daughter Rebecca Skloot has published the bestselling The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Another visitor to our table was Laura Numeroff, author of If  You Give a Pig a Pancake among may others sweet children’s books. I couldn’t wait to get home and tell my daughter I had met her.

Never once did I think to myself “I wonder if I’ll be here again someday, but instead as an author.” It didn’t even cross my mind, even though I had already begun work on an early novel.

So imagine my delight and surprise when my publicist emailed the other day to say it was official — I am to be one of the guest authors at this year’s PNBA “feast of authors.”

I would be nervous, except I know how to dress in Portland, Oregon. And I also know — these are my people. They love books. I love books. We’ve got the whole world in common. We’ll talk about their bookstores and Fireside Books, and I’ll have to imagine Marlena my publicist at my shoulder, gently reminding me to not just talk shop with my fellow booksellers, but also tell them a bit about my debut novel. Maybe then I can describe how I was struck with the idea for The Snow Child when I was shelving books at Fireside. I can tell them that being a bookseller is the perfect day job for a would-be novelist.

I can’t wait until October!




15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Melissa Behnke
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 09:56:21

    What a delight to read this letter and have all the memories of that trip come flooding back. I think I have to sign up to attend the PNBA show again this year, Eowyn! This is so exciting!

  2. Nita
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 10:20:01

    How exciting. Congratulations on, well on all of it. I can only imagine the giddiness you feel. It will be such fun. 🙂 ~Nita

  3. Sue Mathis
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 10:58:38

    Right now I’m wishing I was a bookseller so I could sit at a table at the “feast of authors” and have you come over and talk to us about books and especially The Snow Child! I’d love to hear what inspired you to write such a wonderful story! So seeing as I am not a bookseller, maybe you could share your inspiration here on this blog????

  4. Shereen
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 11:21:01

    So….. what are you going to wear?!? 🙂

    • Eowyn Ivey
      Aug 17, 2011 @ 11:42:35

      Well, you remember those chest waders I had on when we were all salmon fishing at the Deshka River? Wouldn’t they look smashing with a pair of heels and a cute top? 🙂

  5. Pam Ivey
    Aug 18, 2011 @ 10:51:09

    Congratulations, the trip sounds like a lot of fun! We are happy for you and the opportunity to go in this role.

  6. Mr. Baer
    Aug 18, 2011 @ 15:42:23

    I beg to differ on the smashing look of chest waders. #1, you will never fit a pair of high heels over the feet in chest waders and they are called chest waders for a reason, your cute top will not be seen! Better to go with hip boots, hot pants and cute top for that Alaskan look. Congratulations, live it up in Portland.

  7. Nathan Dunbar
    Aug 18, 2011 @ 17:06:17

    Oh congrats! Must be a thrilling feeling 🙂

  8. Mr. Baer
    Aug 19, 2011 @ 06:35:45

    Sports Illustrated

  9. Nana
    Aug 20, 2011 @ 07:31:04

    I know I am late for this post but..CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!
    I have checked the ‘feast of authors’ and I know some of them (..read their books I mean). You are in good company..so so cool! Yay!! 🙂

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