Next stop was Chicago (Naperville ) where the wonderful independent bookstore, Andersons was holding its 7th annual YA literature conference for over 300 teacher-librarians. I was one of the featured speakers, and sat on a couple of panels with Pam Munoz Ryan (her new book is called The Dreamer) and Brue Balliet (whose latest is The Danger Box). I got a chance to meet up with my editor (and fellow writer) David Levithan, and meet John Green (Will Grayson Will Grayson), and Charles Benoit who's written his first YA novel called You.
After that it was back to Toronto for Word on the Street, where I read at the Scotiabank Bestsellers Tent, and promptly boarded a plane and went to Houston for four days of school visits, and then on to the Austin Teen Book Festival.
It was my first time in Austin and it was a very pleasant surprise-- a vibrant city filled with music bars and restaurants -- and sidewalks! And people on them! Bikes, the headquarters for Whole Foods, and a fabulous independent store called BookPeople. There is also the Congress Avenue bridge which is home to 1,5 million bats. Supposedly they all swoop up into the sky at dusk, like an image from the Apocalypse-- I'd heard all about this while researching Silverwing over a decade ago. So naturally I went down to wait on the bridge with hundreds of other hopeful bat watchers and after an hour of waiting we were rewarded with -- nothing. The bats were a no show. I blame the easy availability of fast food.
Audience held spellbound by my presentation -- or just secretly revelling in the fact they're missing Math class.
After our Calgary events, Deborah (left) and I were taken up to Banff to do one last even at the Banff Centre for the Arts.
So that was Calgary-Banff Wordfest. Check back for the next stops on the tour: Victoria and the Vancouver International Writers Festival....