A recap of the Literary Tastes author panel in Orlando:
While attendance was not as high as past events, the caliber of this year’s author panel went unmatched. Award winning authors spoke candidly on themes of folklore, Polish culture old and new, child behavior, injustice, racism and fear. Literary Tastes is an opportunity to hear from noteworthy authors whose books are among their annual selections and also celebrate the art and craft of writing with fellow book lovers.
Naomi Novik, author of Uprooted, (Del Rey Books), was the 2016 Fantasy category winner of RUSA’s Reading List. Novik said, “Uprooted is, underneath, how people are connected and how people need one another.” She spoke of her Polish roots and how they influenced her story’s mythological aspects.
Jim Shepard spoke of his book, The Book of Aron (Alfred A. Knopf), which was name the 2016 winner of RUSA’s Sophie Brody Medal for excellence in Jewish Literature as well as a finalist for the 2016 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. Shepard said “I’m interested in fictions that dismantle.” We read this chilling story from Aron’s perspective, a child in the Warsaw Ghetto during WWII, who uses his willful, limited capacities to survive and to understand the world around him.
James Hannaham, author of Delicious Foods, (Little, Brown and Company) was named a 2016 RUSA Notable Book for Fiction, which has since won the 2016 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. In a frank discussion about how we perceive and portray context, he says he liked the idea that “the book could move forward with information rather than plot.” Hannaham has many conversations about racism and slavery, but “part of it is that it’s not over.” He left the captivated audience yearning for more.
Lastly, Karin Slaughter, author of Pretty Girls (William Morrow), who was the 2016 Adrenaline category winner of RUSA’s Reading List, spoke of her growing up in the south as the youngest of her sisters. Her stories are influenced by the fear her father instilled in her, “the last time a child left the refrigerator door open, they died,” she said jokingly and “children who read are quieter,”. The room was full of constant laughter as if we had transported to a late night comedy club. Her famous departing words, “I’ll leave you with urine and fear.”
The audience took a wild literary journey through past and present. Authors were there signing books immediately following the presentation where attendees could share their enthusiasm and take the occasional selfie. This annual RUSA event is quickly becoming a conference highlight for readers of all types. We are looking forward to next year!
RUSA’s 2017 Achievement Awards nomination period opens September 1 and runs through December 9, 2016. Nomination and submission instructions can be found on each of the award pages here: http://www.ala.org/rusa/awards/achievement. Librarians and library staff that work in reference and user services, instruction, readers’ advisory, business reference, historical research and genealogy, interlibrary loan are encouraged to apply!
The Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction longlist will be announced in in the fall! The winners will be announced at RUSA’s Book and Media Awards ceremony on Sunday, January 22, 2017 at ALA’s Midwinter Meeting in Atlanta.
Welcome to Jennifer Cross! Jennifer Cross has been hired as the new web services specialist for ASCLA and RUSA. Jennifer has her Master’s in Library Science from Texas Woman’s University, and a B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Illinois. Most recently she has been a Programming and Web Design teacher in Caracas, Venezuela. In past positions, she has been a technology teacher, school librarian and web developer. Please direct any web services, RUSQ, and appointment database questions to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
RUSA Vendor Relations
From achievement awards, travel awards, receptions and more, our sponsors enhance the ALA Annual experience for RUSA members. Thank you, RUSA sponsors, for your continued support!
Global Financial Data
Little, Brown and Company (Hachette Book Group)
Penguin Random House
Reference Service Press
S&P Global Market Intelligence
Vendor Relations Liaison