Sweet home Chicago

HarperS16May 11-13, 2016, the publishing industry will descend upon the City of Big Shoulders for the textapalooza that is BookExpo America.

BEA, held at Chicago’s McCormick Place this spring, is the “leading book and author event for the North American publishing industry,” and the show has moved for this year from NYC to the Second City.

As authors, publishers, booksellers, librarians and readers flock to the exhibition hall, one BEA attendee will be recreating a transatlantic pilgrimage from the past.

In 1979, British music fan Alan Harper scrounged together his scant resources and flew from the UK to Chicago to live, at least temporarily, in the home of the blues. Once in the city, he knocked around the clubs and rubbed shoulders with legends like Big Walter Horton, soaking up the sounds and witnessing the changing character of a scene with one foot in the rural country blues and one in the electric domain of guitar aces.

In 2016, the University of Illinois Press published Harper’s chronicle of his blues expedition, Waiting for Buddy Guy: Chicago Blues at the Crossroads.

And so it is that Alan Harper will return to the home of the blues to sign copies of Waiting for Buddy Guy at BookExpo. You’ll find him at booth #614 on Thursday, May 12 at 11:00am. Stop by and pick up a signed copy of the book (complimentary, while supplies last for all BEA attendees) and maybe chat with Alan about the great clubs like Kingston Mines and B.L.U.E.S.

Clip from “Pride & Joy, The Story of Alligator Records”, dir. Robert Mugge, Courtesy of MVD Visual.



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