Librarians saved my life: Lynda Barry at ALA Annual
This year was my first time at the American Library Association's Annual Conference (#alaac17, y'all!) and it couldn't have been more wonderful. We had a tremendous lineup of authors at the show - Jillian Tamaki, Elise Gravel, Guy Delisle, Marguerite Abouet, Nick Drnaso! And as if that wasn't enough, the one and only Lynda Barry came down for a day to speak at the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grant Reception too. So I wanted to share a few moments from the weekend.
Lynda signed copies of the brand new D+Q edition of One! Hundred! Demons! as well as galleys of her forthcoming October title, The Good Times Are Killing Me. If you haven't read GOOD TIMES, I cannot recommend it highly enough - it is a devastatingly still-relevant novella about race and friendship set in late 1960s Seattle, where white flight has left the inner city more diverse than ever, but the divisiveness of race and racism remains as omnipresent as before. It reaches into that heart of darkness and through two children's friendship, Barry confronts the realities of the world. Read an excerpt from it here and you'll see what I'm talking about.
Lynda's address to the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grant Reception later that night was incredibly powerful and personal. When she arrived on stage, she was already on the verge of tears, saying that librarians had saved her life as a kid. What followed involved more tears, much laughter, two songs, and a powerful testimony to the importance of libraries and librarians as refuges from difficult times. I took notes on what she said but have no hope of replicating the magic of being in that room filled with librarians whose work is so often invisible and who Lynda called out for their important contributions to people's lives.
But here, we did catch a little bit, so I'll leave you with Lynda's ode to libraries:
Thanks to everyone who came to see us at ALA Annual! See you next year in New Orleans!