Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Austin Teen Book Festival - Review

This past weekend was the awesome Austin Teen Book Festival. I dragged a high school friend up there and we hung out on Friday night with a bunch of fabulous bloggers.

Threadgills is amazing! Great food and the waitress was patient with everyone. C and I walked 6th street, but had to call it quits because we were both sick and we had to get up early-ish on Saturday for the festival. Luckily, I booked us a room at the Hilton Garden Inn. I almost booked at the Homestead, which is where a lot of other bloggers and authors ended up staying. So glad I didn't! I love Austin, but the Homestead is one destination I'll never have to arrive at.

The festival started at 10am. I was late, as per usual, but I didn't miss much. The place was packed (The Palmer Events Center). Scott Westerfeld gave the keynote address and had the audience laughing a lot. He's a wonderful speaker and he really knows how to connect with a room full of teenagers. What a great choice for keynote speaker!

After the keynote, we had time to get to the first panel session (they had five panels to choose from and three time-slots). The Palmer has one main hall and a few meeting rooms upstairs. Unfortunately, the organizers of the Festival put three of the panels in the big meeting hall with just some curtains dividing the room. So the first hour downstairs was kind of a mess. I will give them credit for realizing their mistake and rearranging panels so only one at a time was going on in the main hall. I'm sure next year they'll make other arrangements.

I was very happy with the selection of authors and panels. It was really nice to see such a wide range of genres represented there. Last year was also good, but I definitely felt like this was better, although I really enjoyed having the festival at a high school. The big event center kind of made it feel a little impersonal.

I'd say the low point came with the signings at the end of the day. They packed in the panels and didn't allow enough time for the actual book signings, which disappointed a lot of kids. Not everyone got everything signed. I think the mistake came when the allowed about the same amount of time as last year, but they this year there were several more authors. It would have been nice to have a bit more time.

But I came away with several interviews to post on the podcast, and I'll get to each one along with reviews and possibly some giveaways. I had a great time, and my hat is off to the organizers of Austin Teen Book Festival. Not many people can get something like that together without too many hiccups, and these folks did a great job with such a huge gathering of fest-goers. I can't wait until next year!

Until next time, go read something!

~ Vilate

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