Alice Hoffman, Jodi Picoult and Beach Reads Queen Elin Hilderbrand were among the many fabulous authors with ties to New England who took center stage at this week’s Book Expo America in New York City. In addition to taking part in other events, Hoffman of Massachusetts and Picoult of New Hampshire schmoozed and talked about their latest releases: The Marriage of Opposites for Hoffman and the young adult Off the Page for Picoult, which she wrote with her daughter Samantha Van Leer. Always a fan favorite, Hilderbrand of Massachusetts (pictured with her agent Michael Carlise) promoted her new novel The Rumor, which releases June 16.
Literary New England’s Cindy Wolfe Boynton met many of these #LitNewEngland superstars, and then scoured Twitter for photos of others. Tweet pics of those she missed to @LitNewEngland. We’ll be sure to RT and post here!
Cindy was 64th in line Thursday to meet New York Times best-selling novelist Jami Attenberg, whose fifth book, Saint Mazie, will be published in June. Earlier Thursday, the Washington Post’s Ron Charles interviewed Pulitzer Prize-winner Geraldine Brooks about her much-anticipated new novel The Secret Chord, which releases in October. Brooks lives on Martha’s Vineyard.
Massachusetts was well represented at BEA. Gregory Maguire and Lev Grossman are both from the Bay State. Maguire spent time meeting fans and signing copies of After Alice, while Grossman did the same for The Magician’s Land. After Alice, which puts a magical new twist on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, will be published in hardcover in October to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Lewis’ Carroll’s beloved classic. The paperback version of The Magician’s Land–the third novel in Grossman’s Magicians Trilogy–releases in June.
Europa Editor Michael Reynolds showed off Europa authors Chantel Acevedo, a former Connecticut resident, and Jennifer Tseng, who lives on Martha’s Vineyard. Both women also held autographing sessions at the Europa booth, Acevedo for The Distant Marvels and Tseng for Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness. Several rows over, the Horror Writers Association put a spotlight on the novel Poe written by J. Lincoln Fenn. Fenn now lives in Hawaii, but she grew up in New England and is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire. The novel was the 2013 winner of Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror category.
The lovely Pam Jenoff was a fan favorite at BEA, where she signed advance copies of The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach, which will be published in late July. Jenoff will be in New England next week, doing an event June 5 with the equally wonderful Jenna Blum for the Friends of the Wolfeboro Library in Wolfeboro, NH. When Cindy saw that Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Gay was there to sign copies of Little Victories: Perfect Rules for Imperfect Living to be released in November, she knew a photo was mandatory! She’s been a fan of Gay’s work for decades, having followed his career since his earliest days at a rookie reporter for the Vineyard Gazette in Massachusetts.
Naomi Jackson, a graduate of Williams College in Massachusetts, was all smiles as she autographed copies of her debut novel The Star Side of Bird Hill, which will release June 30. Also caught having a great time was journalist Kate Bolick, author of the memoir Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own. Like Bolick, who grew up in Newburyport, Mass., four of the five women writers she features in the book have ties to New England: journalist Neith Boyce, who lived in Massachusetts and is buried in New Hampshire; social visionary Charlotte Perkins Gilman, author of the must-read “The Yellow Wallpaper,” who was born in Hartford, Conn.; poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, who was born in Rockland, Maine; and novelist Edith Wharton, who lived in Massachusetts.
If there was an award for Best BEA Tote Bag, it would have to go to these given away by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Best American Short Stories series editor Heidi Pitlor is also the author of the recently published novel The Daylight Marriage. She lives outside of Boston. Also causing all kinds of buzz was Sabaa Tahir, whose recent young adult debut An Ember in the Ashes is on most every fantasy lover’s must-read list. Both Pitlor and Tahir will be on this coming Monday night’s Literary New England Radio Show, which airs at 8 p.m.
International bestseller Tess Gerritsen of Maine spent time at the Mystery Writers and Edgar Awards booths, signing copies of her new novel Playing with Fire, which will be published in October. She’s shown here with best-seller Wendy Corsi Staub. Also drawing crowds was the legendary Gloria Steinem, a graduate of Massachusetts’ Smith College, who signed copies of her first book in 20 years, My Life on the Road, which will hit bookstores in October.
Former Connecticut newsman Brian Kilmead, now co-host of Fox News’ Fox & Friends and Kilmeade & Friends, clearly had a ball signing ARCs of Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates, the follow-up to his New York Times best-selling George Washington’s Secret Six. The incomparable Delia Ephron, sister of Massachusetts mystery writer Hallie Ephron, was also all smiles as she and renowned New Yorker cartoonist Ed Koren signed copies of their updated illustrated manners book Do I Have to Say Hello?, which releases in November.
A giveaway of advance copies of Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, written by Connecticut native Elizabeth Gilbert, caused a line that snaked around several booths. Equally popular was Friday’s author tea with Jacqueline Woodson, Jack Gantos, Adriana Trigiani and Judy Blume. Blume’s new adult novel In The Unlikely Event will bring her to New England for several events in June, including June 23 at the Jewish Community Center in Greenwich, Conn.; June 24 at Brookline Booksmith in Brookline, Mass.; June 25 at Amherst College’s Johnson Chapel, sponsored by Odyssey Books in South Hadley, Mass.; and June 26 at the First Congregational Church on Meeting House Lane in Madison, Conn., sponsored by RJ Julia Booksellers.
Among the many books with New England connections that Cindy scored at BEA: The Wonder Garden by Connecticut native Lauren Acampora; Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders by Massachusetts author Julianna Baggott; The Courtesan, a debut novel by Georgia resident Alexandra Curry, a graduate of Wellesley College in Massachusetts; The Hundred-Year House by Rebecca Makkai, whose background includes an MA from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English in Vermont and a stint as a Wesleyan Writers Conference fellow in Connecticut; and Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon, who cites Connecticut’s Mark Twain and this Twain quote as among her writing influences: “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.”