This past week, I was hangin' out in Mississippi at the Oxford Conference for the Book. Oxford is an amazing town. It looks like the set of a Hollywood movie, with the town square built around a beautiful courthouse. But it's not a set. It's real! The square contains so many great restaurants it was hard to figure out where to eat each night (I kept returning to Ajax for the fried pickles). And get this, in one town square, they have three bookstores: Square Books, Square Books Jr., and Off Square Books.
The night I arrived, I had my first taste of those Mississippi fried pickles...and because my dinner guests were all talkative, I had a chance to steal way more than my fair share! (Check out a photo from dinner by visiting Katie and Sarah Frances at Plot This.)
On Friday, I spoke on a panel where we discussed the importance of reading and brainstormed ways to inspire non-readers to pick up books. Also on the panel was Trenton Lee Stewart, author of the New York Times bestselling The Mysterious Benedict Society.
But the highlight for any visiting author (such as Trenton and myself) is a trip to...
We were given a fascinating V.I.P. tour of Mr. Faulkner's home by the museum curator. Still written across the walls of one room is the outline to the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, A Fable.
And then we ate lunch on Billy's porch! (No, Trenton is not munching on a sunflower.)
After lunch, Trenton and I signed books at Square Books Jr. We even started a tradition of autographing their stuffed dinosaur. I put my name under the dinosaur's tongue.
On Saturday, I gave a presentation about Thirteen Reasons Why. Sitting up front was a book club from a school 30 minutes away. They took a school bus...on a Saturday...just to hear me speak. Do you have any idea how honored I felt? If I haven't said it enough on this blog, let me say it again: I love my readers!