Last weekend, the University of Illinois Press trekked north to take part in the Printer’s Row Lit Fest. This pillar of Chicago’s again-thriving book culture always offers us a chance to meet that literary segment of the public while presenting our wares—and glowing personalities—to discerning readers.
This year, stalwart staffers Margo Chaney, ace exhibits manager, joined sales and course adoption guru Ami Reitmeier under the big tent, with your blog host Kevin C. pitching in during the Saturday rush hours.
Temperatures in the nineties also failed to daunt our authors and editors. Brian Dolinar, a Printer’s Row fixture for us, chatted with book buyers about his much-acclaimed book The Negro in Illinois: The WPA Papers. The tireless Cynthia Clampitt signed copies of Midwest Maize: How Corn Shaped the U.S. Heartland, and we sold out her stack of books by midday. Gary K. Wolfe, editor of our Modern Masters of Science Fiction series, stopped to say hello.
This year, attendees paid special attention to books of local interest like Adam Mack‘s Sensing Chicago: Noisemakers, Strikebreakers, and Muckrakers, and Sonja D. Williams‘ Word Warrior, a biography of African American writer Richard Durham. Our music titles seem to always draw big interest and not surprisingly Alan Harper‘s Waiting for Buddy Guy enjoyed a great deal of attention. Corrupt Illinois, by Thomas J. Gradel and Dick Simpson, and Fixing Illinois, by James D. Nowlan and J. Thomas Johnson, as always inspired some good jokes and found buyers.