Texas Book Festival, Austin: October 31

After the by-now-familiar 6.15 pickup and five hours of flying, I was picked up at the Austin airport by first-time Escort Jill Wilkinson, who was doing this task as a volunteer for the enormously popular Texas Book Festival – started by Laura Bush when she was the Governor’s First Lady. (“Governess?” No, I guess not. Not Jane Eyre.)

By this time I was toppling over with fatigue, but Jill was more than friendly and helpful, and so were all the folks in the Omni Austin Hotel, who’d been to Friendliness School. By the time Jill and I had snatched a quick bite (and some, yes! Organic coffee!), attended by super-efficient and courteous serverfolk, I felt I was in the Disney Cinderella scene in which all the birds are lending a beak to get Cinders ready for the ball, while trilling with cheerful joy.  I was so groggy I did not snap a picture of Capuccino Man, or of Omelette Man the next morning – my two superheroes of the Omni – but they know who they are.

The event was at the Paramount Theatre, and it was, well, full. It took the form of an onstage conversation with my youthful Moderator, Ben Moser, author of what looks to be a fascinating book about Clarice Lispector, Why This World.

(http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/LiteratureEnglish/)

(Here follows the Wiki entry-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarice_Lispector) “Clarice Lispector (December 10, 1920 – December 9, 1977) was a Brazilian writer. Acclaimed internationally for her innovative novels and short stories, she was also a journalist and a translator. A legendary figure in Brazil, renowned for her uncommon and unique writing style, her great personal beauty… and her eccentric personality, Clarice is now considered one of the two most outstanding Brazilian prose writers of the twentieth century.”) Ben looked altogether too young to be the author of such a serious work, let alone the book editor of Harper’s Magazine – which he also is  — but was not displeased to be told so, commenting only that he maybe had only a few more years of that sort of thing.  We had a jolly time of it onstage, followed by some Qs and As, and then I signed books.

Then I signed more books.Then I signed some more books, and lest things get monotonous, I signed yet more books.Even the Barnes & Noble booksellers were looking at their watches – when would they be able to pack up and go home? Texans, your enthusiasm, your waiting-in-line stamina, and your hunger for the novelistic word are truly humbling.

My old friend and avid reader Coleen Grissom of San Antonio made the right call when she said she didn’t intend to drive for hours, cram herself into the theatre, then stand in line for more hours just to say Hi.

Then Jill took me back to the Omni, where I fell over. All those who’ve been making book on when I would finally do that, you just won your bets. It wasn’t permanent, however. Next morning, there I was, alive again. Missed Hallowe’en, though. Rats.  When will we three meet again? Next year, Fellow Broomsters. I’ll be there then. In one form or another.

7 Comments

Filed under 1, YOTF Tour Blog

7 responses to “Texas Book Festival, Austin: October 31

  1. Carol

    3 questions I would have asked at the TX Book Festival:
    1) Who is Adam One, really?
    2) How did you get inside the heads of twisted adolescent boys?
    3) I think your gardeners are a bit like Octavia Butler’s Parable books. Would you agree?

  2. Sandra Payette

    I’ve been following you around on your book tour. It’s been quite a tour at that. I am amazed that you have been able to keep up this pace. Hats off!
    Thanks for taking the time to write in your blog. I really enjoy the humour (oops said I spelled humor wrong). You make me laugh.
    Thank you, Margaret. Take special care of yourself. I hope you have a place in the sun planned for a little R&R after the tour is over.
    Best always,
    Sandra

  3. Randi

    Thank you for coming to Texas! I will always treasure my signed copy of YOTF. I can’t wait for the next book!!

  4. Melanie

    Your Q and A at the Paramount was, without a doubt, the highlight of my Halloween. Seeing my literary hero in the flesh, without the barriers of paper and prose, was just as thrilling as attending a concert with musicians I’ve loved since my youth. Since this day, I’ve been inspired to use The Year of the Flood as a source for a project for my Waste Studies class. Thank you for being such a powerful positive influence.

  5. re: “Ben looked altogether too young to be the author of such a serious work, let alone the book editor of Harper’s Magazine ”

    I find as I get older, everyone looks too young to be in the business they are.
    Can’t wait to read your new book. I loved Oryx and Crake

  6. Hannah

    Well I don’t have a website, but yours is so entertaining, I’m now considering. I just want to say thank you for coming to Austin! I first read your works in a college course (Canadian Fiction) and I have been reading your books since. I really enjoyed Oryx and Crake and am so thrilled to be in the midst of The Year of the Flood. Hearing you discuss your books was very provocative and inspiring. And you are oh so hip!

  7. Katherine

    It was worth every minute of the ninety minutes we stood in line. Thanks for coming to Austin and, more importantly to me, thanks for going to Manoa in September of 87.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s