by Sandy Colbert
I’ve attended most of the Chicago Printers Row Lit Fests in the last couple of decades. Even when I lived out of state, I would plan my vacations to Chicago so that it would coincide with the Lit Fest. If you love to read and write, there is nothing else like it. Where else can you go where you can meet the number of authors, publishers and book sellers that this Lit Fest has?. Where else can you go and see the caliber of speakers that the Lit Fest has to offer? I look forward to it each year and I am never disappointed. And I think this year’s Fest was the best one yet!
On Saturday, the weather was perfect. After going over to the CWA tent and seeing Kristin Oakley, Dan Burns, Libby Hellman and the other brilliant CWA authors, I went over to Tribune Food tent to watch the food demonstration. This was also the spot where I was meeting a friend of mine. While waiting, I looked over at the Chicago Tribune tent and saw, non other then Clarence Page, the Tribune syndicated columnist and author. I’ve always been a fan of his going back to the early nineties when I would watch him on some of the political talk shows. He’s always been a calm voice of reason in some very tumultuous times. I went over to tell him this and we started talking about a number of things, all of which had to do with Chicago. Here’s a lesson for all you authors out there. Always have a copy of your book with you at events like this. I had one in my purse. I showed him my collection of short stories, Chicago Bound, and before I knew it, he’s telling me that he has to have this book! Before I had a chance to tell him that he could have a copy, he had his money in my hands and he was telling me to make sure I signed his copy. It was an incredible experience. I was thrilled.
This only goes to show you that at this book fair, as well as others, it’s also about networking and making connections. And this was a major connection.
Later on my friends and I went to see the panel discussion with Erik Larsen and Rick Kogan. That, also was great. Erik Larsen is truly one of the great historical writers of our time.
On Sunday, for the first time ever, I got to be a seller. This has been a dream of mine for years as I wandered around as a buyer. I always told myself that I would someday, be there as a seller. One sweet dream came true that day.
In spite of the far from ideal weather, there was still a good crowd. So I sold my books and met a lot of interesting people. Even the ones that didn’t buy the book, took my flyer and chatted with me. It was so much fun. I was sorry when it was over.
I will be there next year and all the years to follow. I can’t imagine not going.