April 25, 2011

Getting the word out

Inaugural Alumni Authors Book Fair to be held April 30 on Homewood campus

The inaugural Alumni Authors Book Fair welcomes 39 writers to the Homewood campus on Saturday and will also showcase JHU Press books by university alumni. Photo: Will Kirk/Homewoodphoto.jhu.edu

In Jessica Anya Blau’s well-received debut novel, a 14-year-old girl named Jamie must navigate the choppy waters of adolescence amid a backdrop of sex, cigarettes, surfers, tanning and free-spirited parents who unabashedly sit poolside au naturel. In the book, set in Santa Barbara during the summer of 1976, Jamie rebels against her parents’ inflated open-mindedness and her friends’ search for boys and the perfect tan.

The Summer of Naked Swim Parties supposedly contains elements from Blau’s own childhood growing up in Southern California. How closely does Jamie’s life parallel that of the author, a 1995 graduate of The Johns Hopkins University’s Writing Seminars? Why not ask her yourself.

Blau will be among the 39 featured guests at the inaugural Alumni Authors Book Fair to be held from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 30, in the Great Hall of Levering Hall on the Homewood campus.

The authors represent a variety of genres in the worlds of fiction and nonfiction. Many of those scheduled to attend came through the university’s Writing Seminars or had works published by the Johns Hopkins University Press. The event, which is free and open to the public, will give participants an opportunity to discuss the world of print and publication with authors who know the highs of acceptance and lows of rejection.

Event organizer Judy Fusting, an associate in the Office of Alumni Relations, says that the fair should appeal to bibliophiles and budding authors alike.

“This is certainly a great opportunity for current students with an interest in writing to speak with a published author,” she said. “We also think it’s a great service for alumni and a chance to give our growing number of authors greater exposure.”

The list of alumni scheduled to attend includes Sujata Massey, author of the mystery series featuring amateur sleuth Rei Shimura; Todd Cohen, whose A Patient’s Guide to Heart Rhythm Problems was named Library Journal’s Best Health Book for 2010; David Edelman, a science fiction author whose book Infoquake was Barnes & Noble’s Best Science Fiction Book of the Year in 2006; and Charles Euchner, who wrote Nobody Turn Me Around: A People’s History of the 1963 March on Washington.

The Book Fair is sponsored by the Class of 1986. Books will be available for review and purchase.