“Booktopia is a series of three annual reader/author weekend events, held at various locations around the US in partnership with great independent bookstores.”
Ann Kingman and Michael Kindness of the podcast Books on the Nightstand started Booktopia several years ago in Manchester, Vermont. They have have since included more locations throughout the US, but each event is capped off at 85 attendees and 6 authors in order to keep the experience on the intimate side. And one of the three events, I’m told, will always be held in Manchester in partnership with the Northshire Bookstore.
This year the Vermont event sold out in six minutes. I was on the waiting list and was invited to come on Wednesday. I lucked out! This is my first Booktopia, but some attendees are old hands.
|Bibliophiles queuing up, waiting for the doors of the First Baptist Church to open. This year the author events are held inside this church and in the Northshire Bookstore, which is the blue-green building in the back.|
|Ann and Michael kick things off.|
|Bruce Holsinger, author of the Chaucer historical thriller A Burnable Book, and P.S. Duffy, author of the World War I novel The Cartographer of No Man’s Land, discuss historical fiction.|
|Rupert Thomson reads from his new novel Secrecy. This novel is also historical fiction, set in Florence in 1691. This is not the Florence of the Renaissance days, but a dark, repressive Florence where pleasure is outlawed. A composer friend of Thomson’s may be turning this story into an opera.|
|Here’s a shot of the Northsire Bookstore (on the left) and the First Baptist Church (on the right).|
I also attended the Yankee Book Swap which was held at the Inn at Manchester. For this event attendees were asked to bring a wrapped book of their choice, either a favorite or even a gag book. The books were placed on a table and we were each given a lottery ticket. When your number was called you chose a book and opened it. The person who gave that book said their name, where they’re from, and why they gave that book. There are folks where from Seattle to Florida and everywhere in between. It was a nice icebreaker. The second person to open a book on down to the last, were able to “steal” a book from someone else if they preferred a different book, and then at the end the first person could “steal” any book they wanted. There was some stealing going on and lots of laughter.