Ami and I are one week away from the 7x20x21 program at BEA, so I thought I’d introduce our speakers here in case you’re unfamiliar with their respective ventures. We’ve done some early statistical analysis of the exit polls with Nate Silver, and 74.1% of people in publishing say this will be the monster truck rally of BEA events. (5% indicated “No answer,” and the rest said it would merely “Forever alter their perception of publishing, New York, and life as we know it.”)
Jennifer Egan – I think I first heard about her from The Keep and this killer review. In fact, why are you reading this? Click on the link. …Ok. Her new book A Visit from the Goon Squad promises to be even better, and in her presentation she’s previewing some creative uses of PowerPoint. I’ll try and shake off the horrible connotations I have with the software and enjoy the presentation.
Jacob Lewis – Formerly of The New Yorker and currently partnered with Dana Goodyear at Figment. If you haven’t read Goodyear’s much anthologized “I ♥ Novels” article, I highly recommend it. Lewis is looking at interesting ways to tie teens, mobile devices, publishing, and the online community together through professional and amateur writing. It’s pretty exciting stuff, a cousin to Richard Nash’s “Red Lemonade” project. I can’t wait to see what Lewis has to say.
Justin Taylor and Eva Talmadge – There’s a very specific nerd nerve that HTML Giant stimulates like none other. I don’t know what it is. I read it daily. That’s how I first heard about Justin Taylor. The NYTBR rave of his short fiction collection Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever helped too. Taylor and Talmadge’s forthcoming book is a compendium of literary tattoos from readers around the world. They’ll be sharing some of the book’s mistakes and regrets excerpts with us.
Clay Shirky – The polymath behind Here Comes Everybody will be talking about his new book Cognitive Surplus, which originated from this essay. If I had my way Shirky would be advising the White House on civic engagement. This will be one of the highlights of BEA.
Ed Nawotka – If you don’t know Publishing Perspectives yet, check it out. Expanding the scope of book news to a global level, Nawotka’s site is like the BBC of the book world. He’ll be addressing a topic too often ignored at BEA – high school and college reading habits. How are the frontlist book buyers of tomorrow reading books today? How does British Literature 101 pedagogy change when everyone’s permanently tapped in to Wikipedia? Nawotka calls his plan “Teaching Literature Backwards.”
Nick Bilton – Chances are you’ve seen some of Bilton‘s work in the past 24hrs – he’s been a researcher at The Times Research & Development Labs and currently writes about technology for their Bits Blog. His forthcoming book is called I Live in the Future: & Here’s How It Works; expect his talk next week to more or less act as a teaser trailer to the way we’ll interact with one another in 2011 and 2012.