An Abundance of Literacy

October 29, 2008

The past two weeks in Salt Lake have been a book lover’s dream. It started at TKE with the Red Wagon Read-a-thon where we had kids sprawled on the floor of the childrens’ room on a Saturday reading, reading, reading! The following Wednesday, writers from all over Utah gathered at the downtown library to celebrate the Utah Arts Council Original Writing Competition, the May Swenson Poetry award winner (Idris Anderson) and the Utah Book Awards. The wonderful finale of the evening was a performance by Red Rock Rondo of songs from their Zion Canyon Song Cycle. It was pure magic.

Then we gathered again in the auditorium to watch the film, Paperback Dreams, produced and directed by Salt Lake’s own Alex Beckstead. I had the privilege of being on a panel with 4 other booksellers including Patrick de Freitas (of Waking Owl fame), Tony Weller from Sam Weller’s Zion Bookstore, Ken Sanders of Ken Sanders Rare Books, and Drew Goodman of the University of Utah bookstore. We had a lively discussion of the future of the independent bookstore and I think everyone agreed that we need to Buy Local First!

And then, best of all, the Utah Humanities Council 11th Annual Book Festival took place all day last Saturday at the downtown library. The urban room is an absolutely perfect setting for celebrating books and the people who love them. We connected with favorites like Ann Cannon and Katharine Coles and were thrilled to hear Thrity Umrigar speak. Terry Tempest Williams moved her entire audience to tears with her talk about her new book, Finding Beauty in a Broken World.

And across town that same afternoon we listened to Naomi Wolf speak about her new book, Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries. Thanks to the Salt Lake City Film Center for bringing her to SLC.

Sound exhausting? A little; mostly it was invigorating. It was definitely a reminder of the abundandance of literacy that Salt Lake and Utah have — an abundance that we are thrilled to be a part of.

Rapunzel Roundup Pictures

August 28, 2008

Rapunzel Roundup | Ann Cannon & The Loser’s Guide

August 7, 2008

Ann Cannon will be signing at the Rapunzel Roundup, August 23rd, 1 p.m. at the Foothill Library, 1135 South 2100 East, Salt Lake City

Ann Cannon, always wise beyond her years, has a sense of humor, a way with language, and a fondness for her characters that catches at your heart even while it makes you laugh. In The Loser’s Guide to Life and Love, a 21st-century riff on Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, the cast of characters includes: Ed, who is looking for love; Scout (longtime friend and coworker), who has a crush on Ed; Quark (best friend and neighbor), who has a crush on Scout; and new-girl-in-town Ellie, who has a crush on a memory. What comes out of the long series of slip-ups and switches (which in Shakespeare, as in life, always border on tragedy) is proof that there must be real magic that comes even into our perfectly ordinary lives. For teens and 20-somethings (and more than an occasional grownup who needed something like this in youth), this is an astonishing tour de force, beautiful beyond even our wildest dreams, one of the best so-called “young adult” novels we have ever read. Magical doesn’t BEGIN to describe it. – Review by TKE Staffers Margaret Brennan Neville, John Merritt, Betsy Burton, Linda Gurrister, and Anne Holman

Guest Blogger | Ann Cannon on Loser’s Guide to Life and Love

July 18, 2008
Ann Cannon at The Kings English Bookshop

Ann Cannon at The King's English Bookshop

So TKE hosted an event for my new young adult novel, The Loser’s Guide to Life and Love, and seriously I felt like a debutante at my own debutante bowl, except that I’m 52. And also I wasn’t wearing a corsage.

Anyway, it was a GREAT evening (thanks, Jenn!) with all kinds of amazing and personal touches–from the dragonflies on the banner to the icy cold cans of Dr. Pepper to the readers’ theater (the kids were amazing!) to Anne Holman’s sweet and funny introduction.  Plus there were actual people in attendance. PEOPLE!  No kidding. I’ve had events in the past for other books where nobody came.  So thank you, everybody, for being there.

Sometimes readers ask which of my books I like the best.  It’s a hard question to answer because your books are like your children:  you love them all equally but some days (truth be told) you like the kid who cleans up his bedroom without being asked better than you like the kid who just totaled your new car.   I will say this, though.  I never ever had more fun writing a book than I did writing Loser.  I think that’s because I wrote about things I love: summer nights in Salt Lake City, my Avenues neighborhood, the moon (and Goodnight Moon, too!), sweet and silly teenage boys, overly affectionate cats, old movies, party food, flowers, romance.  I call Loser my happiness book, and while I don’t know if it’s the best book I’ve ever written, it certainly holds the distinction of being closest to my heart.

A Worthy Cause

July 8, 2008

How cool are our local authors? This cool! (Thanks, Shannon!)

Writing for Charity

This summer have unfettered access to professional children’s authors, all in the name of charity! Saturday, July 19 several local authors will host a Writing for Charity event in Salt Lake City, with all profits going to The Wheelchair Project. Come hear writers talk about their process, how to write for a young audience, storytelling tips, and the ins and outs of the publishing business. In addition, have your picture book text or first page of your novel (the most important page!) workshopped by professionals.

When: Saturday, July 19, 9 am to 1 pm
Where: Salt Lake Main Library, 200 East 400 South, Salt Lake City, Utah
Cost: $45 (should be tax deductible!)
Event breakdown: 9:00 am — Registration
9:15 – 10:15 am — Panel discussion in the auditorium
10:30 – 11:15 — Break out discussions in topic groups
11:30 – 1:00 — Small group workshops

Authors and publishing professionals include Brandon Mull, Shannon Hale, Mette Ivie Harrison, Ann Cannon, Kristyn Crow, Becky Hickox, Kimberley Heuston, Anne Bowen, Aprilynne Pike, Laura and Tracy Hickman, Ann Dee Ellis, Mike Knudson, Sydney Husseman, Chris Schoebinger (editor), Amy Jameson (agent), and Wendy Toliver.

Space is limited, first come first serve. To reserve your spot, mail in the $45 registration fee.
Mailing address: 1176 E 2620 N, Provo, UT 84604-4132
Make checks to: “LDS Philanthropies” (the organization that runs The Wheelchair Project) and write “Wheelchair” in the memo line.
Also include: Your name, age, phone number, and area of interest–picture book writing, fantasy novel, or realistic fiction novel.

On the day of the event, bring 15 copies of the first page of your novel or picture book text (maximum word count: 300 words) for some hands on workshopping. If you don’t have a first page to workshop, don’t let that stop you!

100% of the proceeds go to The Wheelchair Project, a wonderful charity that donates new wheelchairs to people in third world countries, many of whom have never had one. A wheelchair can completely change the life of a disabled person, offering mobility, increased independence, and a chance to go to school or find employment. Because this charity is administered by volunteers with LDS Philanthropy, there is no overhead and every penny donated goes directly to purchasing wheelchairs. This is not a religious charity–the wheelchairs go to the needy regardless of their faith. Thank you for supporting this extraordinary cause!

Author Update | Ann Cannon

July 3, 2008

Last night was a blast! Our Midsummer Night’s Party for Ann Cannon was tons of fun; Ann gave us the full story behind The Loser’s Guide to Life and Love, then we had a cast reading, and then folks lined up to get their books signed, chat with each other and with Ann, and had baba ganoush, hummus, and baklava from Mazza plus Dr. Pepper (Ann’s favorite drink!) to celebrate. I’m pretty sure I can safely say that fun was had by all. But just in case you doubt me, here is a slideshow (hopefully) of pictures from last night:

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Ann Cannon: We Liked Her First

June 26, 2008

Our very own Ann Cannon (a.ka. A.E. Cannon) is making waves with her new teen novel, The Loser’s Guide to Life and Love. What kind of waves? Well, if they continue at this pace, they will soon be tsunami-sized. She’s being interviewed by the illustrious (Shannon Hale and Powell’s!) as well as the media and has lots of fans on Goodreads. The book has been blurbed, at least in our store, by every single one of us who has read the book: The Inkslinger, our store newsletter, has a VERY LONG review (you will notice the proliferation of initials after it; I have a feeling that JM actually wrote the review in question, but I’m not 100% positive). AND, last but not least, we are having a PAR-TAY for her next week!

Loser’s Guide (or Sergio, as it is fondly known in our store) is a modern-day retelling of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, told in alternating viewpoints by each of the four love-struck protagonists: Ed (a.k.a. Sergio), Scout, Quark, and Ellie. It’s set in Salt Lake (which, as far as I know, makes it the second YA novel in history to be set in Utah; shout-out to Sara for being the first!), and is so fresh and funny that, when I was re-reading it recently to prep for the event, I laughed out loud, all over again. Currently we are fighting over who gets to introduce her; the book is dedicated to Betsy, so that just might put her out of the running…