Yesterday was the 12th New England Authors' Expo held at Danversport Yacht Club on Rte. 62 on the Danvers-Beverly line. With an array of tables spread out in the main hall/ballroom, hundreds--yes, you read that right--hundreds of authors, illustrators, writing groups and publishers were on hand plying their wares.
But where were all our Salem authors and writers?
I found just one: Local historian and archivist, Nelson Dionne with his latest book, "Salem in Stereo," complete with specialized glasses to view the vintage stereoscopic scenes of old time Salem ( http://yesteryear.ning.com ) along with his publisher who is also head of the Salem Arts Association, Ellen Hardy representing her outfit, HardyHouse Publishing & Communications (www.hardyhouse.us and firstname.lastname@example.org ). Both Dionne and Hardy were in great form promoting, selling and discussing Nelson's fascinating book with interested bookworms and historians.
Nelson Dionne's book is a rare, innovative experiment in literature in a specialized format highlighting Salem's past that encourages a deeper love for the city, a thirst for more of Salem's history, and encouraging more energetic historic preservation.
Still, I was a bit astonished not to see some of Salem's other literatti glitteratti there like Bob Booth, Bonnie Hurd Smith, Christopher Luke Dowgin, Jim McAllister, Brunonia Barry, Jerome Curley, ad infinitum (hmmm, who have I forgotten?). I'm thinking now that some may very well be on vacation--and who can blame them with this sweltering heat! But some of these extraordinary authors are best sellers and fantasy fans, along with those exemplary historians who would bleed themselves dry to propagate Salem's enormous legacy; yes, they would have added more glimmer to the day's events. I would have loved to have seen even just a few of these great authors there! So many questions to ask them directly, so much to discuss, so much more to learn from them! Well, I'm counting on them for next year.
But I digress.
I was, nonetheless, impressed with the massive showing of New England authors and publishers and I spoke with several, including Anne Ipsen, that lovely lady of Danish birth whose books include a memoir, "A Child's Tapestry of War--Denmark 1940-45," and her current offering, "Karen From the Mill --A novel from the golden age of sail," both from Beaver Pond Press. Those and Ms. Ipsen's other books can be ordered through www.AnneIpsen.com.
In addition, I spoke with the educational consultant for Usborne Books and More whose motto is "When children read they succeed!". Bernadette Randle was a treasure trove of information on publishing children's lit, and as she says they're "Promoting literacy, one book at a time!" Some of Usborne Books' titles covered a vast array of subjects ranging from "What's Happening To My Body?" one for boys and one for girls as well as "Famous Buildings Around the World," and countless other fascinating and engaging subjects for children. Ms. Randle and any book published by Usborne Books and More can be found at www.BernadetteAtUsborne.com.
Another interesting publisher was Schoolmaster Press of Cambridge. Because I'm a major John Adams fan, I was halted in my tracks as I was about the leave the conference hall when I spied some wonderful history books for kids. "John Adams: The Voice Heard 'Round the World" by Marian R. Carlson. There's even a CD available with it, narrated by the greatest Adams fan of all, author David McCullough accompanied with music by the Boston Landmarks Orchestra. This book was selected as a winner of the Parents' Choice GOLD Award. It's thorough and joyful enough to inspire Pulitzer Prize Winner, David Hackett Fischer of Brandeis to comment: "John and Abigail Adams delighted in happy experiments, and they would be doubly pleased by this one. It will inspire anyone, of any age, who loves history and music 'to dare to read, think, speak and write' in our time, as they did in theirs." Other classroom tested books by Marian Carlson include writing skills/activities inspired by the works classic American authors.
I love a book store, a library, and a quiet, gentle spot to read. I even love to explore books, titles, and captivating illustrations in a humming, busy conference hall which I found in abundance on Wednesday at the New England Authors' Expo. What a treat it was!
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Salem historian and archivist, Nelson Dionne has written several books, ("Salem Then and Now" with Jerome Hurley) among others, gives numerous presentations on Salem's history, and has a book coming out from Arcadia Press on the French population of Salem. He's currently working a book on Salem's Firefighters, especially regarding the great Salem Fire of 1914 and expects to be published through HardyHouse. http://yesteryear.ning.com
Ellen Hardy, CEO of HardyHouse Publishing & Communications continues to work with authors and illustrators, heads-up the Salem Arts Association and teaches graphic arts, etc. at Phillips Academy in Andover. www.hardyhouse.us