Friday, November 20, 2009

Sleepless in Philadelphia

My Philadelphia visit has to be cut short a few days, but I thought I'd quickly share some of the fun times and cool people that made these two days so special.

On Thursday, I gave two library presentations where several high schools sent students. Every student had been given a copy of Thirteen Reasons Why before their visit, which always makes the Q&A much more interesting. And I finally autographed a book for someone with the title "Sister"!

On Friday morning, at the National Council of Teachers of English conference, I was on a panel with David Levithan and Lauren Myracle to discuss intellectual freedom. I'd never met Lauren before and had only caught a glimpse of David in the past, so I was really looking forward to this panel. We've all had different experiences with our books being banned or challenged, so hearing their thoughts was fascinating. But beyond what they had to say about tampons, thongs, erections, and the word %$@&, they both seemed like genuinely wonderful people.

After I signed books on the conference floor, I grabbed some autographs and photos of my own. As many of you know, Gordon Korman is a rock star to me. When he offered a blurb for my book, I was in heaven. But I actually haven't seen him in person since before I'd even finished writing Thirteen Reasons Why. So it was great to catch up!

I love Gene Luen Yang's Printz Award winning graphic novel, American Born Chinese. Though I already have a copy back home, when I saw that he was signing books, I had to buy another so I could have it autographed.

Of course, when I heard that Sandy Asher was nearby, I had to finally meet her. But no, we aren't related...though we tried to find some distant relative in common.

Though I've seen Laurie Halse Anderson at a few writing events, chatted with her briefly a couple times (and sent her a gushing fan letter for Chains), I've never had the pleasure to actually hang out with her. Suddenly, I'm sitting behind a table with her at a booksigning! For this event, with both Laurie and Lauren, I temporarily changed my name to Laurel. So here's Laurel Asher, Laurie Halse Anderson, and Lauren Myracle...

The people who showed up were brilliant! They had such amazing questions. In this photo, I think Lauren's showing the crowd how she can make her hand move really, really fast...

And in case you were wondering, yes, of course I devoured a Philly cheesesteak during my visit!


Frankie Diane Mallis said...

Aw does this mean you aren't going to be at the signing on Sunday? Well glad you got your cheesesteak! Hope you had a great time!

Jay Asher said...

No, I won't be at the signing.

But yes, I did get the cheesesteak...and had a great time!!!

Donna Gambale said...

Also bummed we won't get to see you again Sunday, but glad you enjoyed Philly and got to meet some of your favorite writers. One question -- where'd you get the cheesesteak?

Paul Greci said...

Looks like you made the most of your time!

sandi said...

Hey! I was at this conference and sat in on your session with David & Lauren. GREAT!!

and I got a signed copy of 13 Reasons Why. Love love love it. It was my #1 favorite book last year. I am telling everyone I know they need to read this book.

Keep up the good work!