BookExpo America 2017

As technology advances and the world becomes seemingly more digital, the publishing industry must adapt in order to survive and flourish. BookExpo America, a three-day conference, seeks to engage and inform its attendees of changes in the market while cultivating relationships among publishers.

The 2017 BookExpo took place on May 31 to June 2 at the Javits Center in New York City. The conference provided several opportunities for publishers and book-worms alike to learn, ranging from Global Marketing Forums (GMFs) to autograph sessions to even author breakfasts. The conference offered many occasions to explore all things books!

“BookExpo is evolving to lead the global publishing industry to its consumer driven future and celebrate storytelling in all its forms,” was one of the goals of the conference stated on BookExpo’s website.

One of the special events at the conference were the author breakfasts, where publishers and readers were able to sit in a breakfast-like setting with some of the world’s most influential writers. On Thursday, Whitney Cummings hosted a breakfast session in which authors such as Stephen and Owen King and Claire Messud were interviewed. On Friday, Savannah Guthrie hosted a session in which authors such as Jason Reynolds and Jennifer Weiner were interviewed.

Another special event hosted at the conference was the Global Marketing Forum (GMF) which “addresses the diverse topics and relevant issues that define the new publishing industry.”

Some of the team at the University of North Georgia Press were fortunate enough to attend this year’s conference and bring information important for the UNGP’s growth.

“The publishing industry is changing, and it is important for those of us at UNGP to stay knowledgeable of these changes,” said Corey Parson, managing editor at UNGP. “BookExpo is a great place to learn about new tech and trends and share notes with others in the industry.”

For more information regarding BookExpo America, please visit their website.



My Time with the Press

This last year that I’ve had with the University of North Georgia Press is proof that things happen for a reason. There is a plan for the universe, and if something doesn’t work out it only means that there is something better just around the corner. When I first applied to work with the Press, I was excited to have this opportunity, especially since my dream is to work in the book publishing industry. However, I was filled with disappointment from finding out that I did not get another job that I had interviewed for just a few weeks previous. This is truly the best thing that could have happened.

Working with the Press has validated my chosen career path and allowed me to gain some of the experience that is so necessary for me to break through the competition. I’ve been able to jump into the industry at the end of my collegiate experience and begin to fully understand what it means to be an editor.

Before, I knew that the job would involve combing through manuscripts, searching for mistakes and ways that the writing could improve. What I didn’t understand is the huge amount of writing, marketing, and graphic design that would be included in the process of releasing a book to the public. I didn’t know about those important elements before, but their presence is not disappointing.

I love watching a book evolve, knowing that I was there to see its transformation. I edited, I marketed, and I designed. I love shaping the book, molding it into a better version of itself. I love knowing that readers will enjoy it that much more because of the time and effort that I put in. I love helping the author reach an audience in the most effective way.

As I approach the end of my time with the University of North Georgia Press, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for taking the time to work with a student who had too many things on her plate. Thank you for showing me the ropes, and showing me that there is more to love about publishing than just perfecting the words on the page. And thank you for shaping my childlike passion for the written word into something mature and concrete.

Poet Spotlight: Neil Hilborn

And we’re back for another poet spotlight, and this time we’re appreciating some contemporary poets.

This week’s spotlight: Neil Hilborn 

Photo Courtesy of Button Poetry

Neil Hilborn is an American poet known for his accomplishments in slam poetry.  While attending Macalester College, he was a member of the 2011 Macalester Poetry Slam team, which ranked first at the 2011 College National Poetry Slam event. He later joined the Minneapolis adult National Poetry Slam team, which placed 5th out of 80 teams from across the country. In August of 2013, Hilborn’s poem “OCD” went viral, receiving nearly 13 million views (and counting). Since then, Hilborn has performed at a number of colleges, including the University of North Georgia, and participated in workshops to teach a new generation of poets.

His collection of poems, Our Numbered Days, launched in 2015 and sold over 250,000 copies, making it an Amazon bestseller. The official description reads, “Utilmately, Hilborn is a poet of the people: his work is accessible, honest, and entertaining – a revitalizing entry in contemporary poetry.” His subject matter is real and relevant, and his self-

Photo Courtesy of Button Poetry

deprecating humor creates a powerful sense of vulnerability and understanding. If you’re looking for a contemporary change of pace, be sure to read Hilborn’s work.

Never read any of pieces by this contemporary poet? Here are some excerpts from his collection, Our Numbered Days, to peak your interest:

“I’m so lucky that right now, I’m not describing Joey’s funeral. I’m so lucky we all lived through who we were to become who we are.” 

“When you’re dumb enough for long enough, you’re gonna meet someone too smart to love you, and they’re gonna love you anyway, and it’s gonna go so poorly.” 

“I think that the genes for being an artist and mentally ill aren’t just related, they’re the same gene, but try telling that to a bill collector.” 

“It’s unfortunate that your offspring make people wish for a dystopian future in which euthanasia is a universally beloved form of birth control, but when elderly women literally everywhere are better parents than you, perhaps it’s time to hand up the baby-making spurs.” 

Who are some your favorite contemporary poets? Be sure to check back in next week for our next poet spotlight!

Poet Spotlight: Walt Whitman

This week will be featuring another one of America’s most prominent poets in American history!

This week’s spotlight: Walt Whitman

Photo Courtesy of WikiMedia Commons

On May 31, 1819, Walt Whitman was born, the second of nine children. At the age of twelve, Whitman became acquainted with Homer, Dante, and Shakespeare while learning the printing trade and quickly fell in love with the written word.

After a fire devastated the printing district in New York City in 1835, seventeen-year-old Whitman became a teacher, and he taught from 1836 to 1841. He founded a newspaper called The Long-Islander that is still publishing today and later edited different Brooklyn and New York newspapers.

In 1848, Whitman moved to New Orleans where he was exposed to various cultural differences that sparked a creative period for him. He quickly returned to Brooklyn and founded a “free soil” newspaper called The Brooklyn Freeman and began to develop his unique style of poetry. In 1855, Whitman took out a copyright on the first edition of Leaves of Grass, which featured

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

twelve untitled poems that we now know as poetic classics, including “Song of Myself” and “I Sing the Body Electric.” He also wrote the influential “O Captain! My Captain!” and “O Me! O Life!

In 1862, Whitman visited Fredericksburg to find his brother, George, who fought for the Union. He was getting a wound treated there, and this prompted Whitman to moved to Washington D.C. and spend time visiting the wounded soldiers. He made nearly 600 hospital visits and saw 80,000 to 100,000 patients. The works was physically and emotionally exhausting but propelled him back into poetry, leading to the publication of a new collection call Drum-Taps.

The exploration of self and the fight to overcome moral, psychological and political boundaries which are so evident in these poems make Walt Whitman one of America’s most important poets to date.

Here’s one of his shorter pieces, “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer”:

“When I heard the learn’s astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns
before me;
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, 
divide, and measured them;
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he
lectured with much applause in the lecture-room.
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself, 
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.” 


Check back in next week for the next installment of Poet Spotlight!

While You Wait for “Turn Back Before Baghdad”

As you may know, the Press has an upcoming release about the Persian Gulf War called Turn Back Before Baghdad. It takes place 25 years ago during Operation Desert Storm. This was a tumultuous time in which Saddam Hussein was given a choice: withdraw his troops by January 15, 1991 or face the wrath of the United States and our allies.

Turn Back Before Baghdad, including commentary from late Laurence Jolidon, is a collection of firsthand dispatches from American and British news correspondents in the middle of the historically significant events.

While you eagerly wait for the release, here are some other books that may quench your need for some historical wartime accounts. While Turn Back Before Baghdad focuses on the media development and media pools during the events, these picks take a look at some otheraspects of the Persian Gulf War from diverse perspectives.

Courtesy of B&N


1) Crusade: The Untold Story of the Persian Gulf War by Rick Atkinson

“This definitive account of the Gulf War relates the previously untold story of the U.S. war with Iraq in the early 1990s. The author follows the 42-day war from the first night to the final day, providing vivid accounts of bombing runs, White House strategy sessions, firefights, and bitter internal conflicts” (Barnes & Noble).



                                  2) Jarhead: A Marine’s Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles by Anthony Swofford

Courtesy of B&N

“Anthony Swofford’s Jarhead is the first Gulf War memoir by a frontline infantry marine, and it is a searing, unforgettable narrative. When the marines — or “jarheads,” as they call themselves — were sent in 1990 to Saudi Arabia to fight the Iraqis, Swofford was there, with a hundred-pound pack on his shoulders and a sniper’s rifle in his hands. It was one misery upon another. He lived in sand for six months, his girlfriend back home betrayed him for a scrawny hotel clerk, he was punished by boredom and fear, he considered suicide, he pulled a gun on one of his fellow marines, and he was shot at by both Iraqis and Americans. At the end of the war, Swofford hiked for miles through a landscape of incinerated Iraqi soldiers and later was nearly killed in a booby-trapped Iraqi bunker” (Barnes & Noble).


Keep your eyes peeled for the release of Turn Back Before Baghdad this April. Stay connected with us through the Press blog, Twitter, and Facebook to keep up to date on all upcoming events and releases!

Happy Birthday, Leslie Marmon Silko!

Photo Courtesy of Miriam Berkley

On March 5, 1948, Leslie Marmon Sliko was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Silko is constantly breaking down barriers and creating a platform for Native American writers to be heard while attempting to define to herself and the world what it means to be a Native woman.

Throughout her childhood, Silko and her family tied their identities to the Laguna Pueblo tribe but lived on the edge of Pueblo society, literally and figuratively. Since Silko was only one-fourth Laguna Pueblo, she and her family were often not permitted to participate in various rituals or join any of the religious societies. While her parents worked, however, she was cared for by her grandmother and great-grandmother who told her of all the Laguna stories and histories. As a result, she heavily identifies with her Laguna heritage, saying “I am of mixed-breed ancestry, but what I know is Laguna.”

After receiving her Bachelors of Arts from the University of New Mexico, Silko began to pursue her literary career full time, finding inspiration from her storytelling grandmother. One of her first short stories “The Man to Send Rain Clouds,” was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Grant and has made several appearances in different anthologies. Since then, her portfolio has grown

Photo Courtesy of Arizona Public Media

exponentially, including novels and collections such as Storyteller, Almanac of the Dead, Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit, and The Turquoise Ledge

In her novels and poems, Silko strives to open up the Anglo-European definitions of American literary traditions to incorporate underrepresented traditions, priorities, and ideas, including Native American stories and Native women’s issues. She includes elements of traditional Native American storytelling, like circular time, while weaving in myth and historical fact to create a truly new and intriguing narrative.

Today, we would like to honor Silko for her dedication to inclusive literature, which is a hot button issue even today. Very few authors get to see their works rise to such popularity in their lifetime, and her pieces are sure to have a lasting effect on generations to come. So, happy birthday, Leslie Marmon Silko! Your contributions to American literature will never be forgotten.

“Writing can’t change the world overnight, but writing may have an enormous effect over time, over the long haul.” – Leslie Marmon Silko 

Books We Love – Week 3

The Rebel

Photo Courtesy of Barnes and Noble

Author: Albert Camus

Genre: Sociology

Vive la révolution? In Albert Camus’s book-length, sociological essay, he looks at the development of rebellion and revolution, particularly in Western Europe. Originally written in French, the novel explores the motivation for revolution based on basic human rejection of normative justice and the inevitable failure of attempts at human perfection. Camus also discussion the rise of “utopian” society and “materialist idealism” that aid in the rebellion losing touch with its original platform.

If you’re looking for an incredibly relevant and cerebral read, this is the novel for you.


I’ll Give You the Sun

Author: Jandy Nelson

Photo Courtesy of Barnes and Noble

Genre: Family Drama, Mystery, Young Adult Fiction

Jude and Noah are twins who are inseparable. Noah is isolated and loves to draw, while Jude is as outspoken as her personality. Three years later, however, the twins barely speak to each other. With Noah and Jude having two different halves of the story, can they reconcile their relationship?

This young adult novel steeped in suspense and mystery is sure to have you hanging on every word. If you find yourself of a fan of John Greene or Dave Levithan, this one is a must-read.



Author: Michael Pollan

Genre: Food Histories

Photo Courtesy of Barnes and Noble

Fire, water, air, earth. Pollan ventures into uncharted territory to find out how the four elements transform our food. Between grilling with fire and fermenting beer and cheese, he explores the role of the cook not only in the kitchen but in the balance of nature and culture. Pollan learns the art of how grain, water, and heat come together to create a delicious loaf of bread and the magic behind fermenting.

Pollan pushes it a little further and looks into cooking as a kind of social and ecological glue that connects family, friends, and simply people in general. For a thought-provoking and educational piece, Cooked is sure to satisfy culinary craving. Also, check out its docu-series on Netflix that recently launched on Feb. 19th!





Be sure to check in next week for the last installment of “Books We Love,” and let us know what some of your favorites are in the comments!