Blair Staffers Take Boston (and Freeze in the Process)

Last Wednesday, Steve and I left cozy North Carolina for Boston. “What’s in Boston?” you may ask. WELL, aside from Harvard Square, eclectic restaurants, and blizzards, Boston was the spot for this year’s annual Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference. Blair and numerous other publishers set up shop at the Hynes Convention Center to schmooze writers from all over the world. Blair had a prime spot at the convention, and we displayed our books proudly:

Blair Table

Blair books, WHAT! WHAT!!!

And we had plenty of authors at our booth, including Steve Almond, author of God Bless Americawho stopped by to say hello.

Steve Almond at the Booth

Clearly, something very interesting is happening behind me.

Though the Hynes Convention Center has an adjoining Sheraton hotel, Steve and I weren’t able to reserve rooms there because the hotel sold out within the first few days of conference registration! Crazy, right?! Instead, we stayed at the Doubletree hotel just off the JFK/UMass T-stop (I sound so Bostonian!), which gave us a chance to ride the subway every day and really experience the city.

Boston Subway

Random subway-ites

Steve on the Subway

Steve taking the train seriously

It also gave us the chance to experience some good, ol’ Northeastern snow.

Boston in Snowfall Compilation

Boston = some snow + very wet feet

The highlights of our trip included eating at the Dumpling Café in Chinatown:

Dumpling Cafe in Chinatown

Attending the awesome panels AWP offered this year:

In a Panel at AWP

Visiting the Harvard Book Store in Harvard Square:

Harvard Bookstore Compilation

Yes, I totally am the lame nerd who bought a Harvard T-shirt despite never attending the school or having any affiliation with the university AT ALL.

Introducing Steve to shawarma:

Shawarma

I can’t even look at this picture without wanting to book a plane ticket back to shawarma heaven. Nom Nom.

And making time for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston:

Domed Ceilings at MFA

A domed ceiling at the MFA in Boston

The museum had works by amazing artists including Monet, Degas, and Van Gogh.

MFA Compilation 2

But Steve said his favorite was the one below “because [he’s] a simple man”:

Crystal Jars at MFA

Whereas I liked this man’s sassy pants:

Sassy Pants at MFA

Look at him! Too sassy for his pants!

But my favorite was the postcard exhibit:

Publishing Postcard compilation

Wait a second! That bottom one on the right … is that? Couldn’t be. But I think … OMG, it is!

Look closely:

Blair Staff Recovering Books at MFA

It’s the Blair staffers re-covering books at the last staff meeting!

Both Steve and I agree, though, the BIGGEST highlight of our trip was seeing all of our friends.

Friends of Blair Compilation

Thanks to all the folks at Lookout BooksHub City PressSweet: A Literary Confection, and Press 53 for making Boston one of the best Blair trips ever!

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Congrats to Press 53 on 5.3 years of business!

Press 53

Fellow Winston-Salem publisher Press 53 is celebrating its 5.3-year anniversary this weekend (fun, no?). Founded in 2005, Press 53 is an independent publisher of literary fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. They’re always hosting poetry readings and other events (including a 5.3-year celebration this weekend), so if you’re in the Winston-Salem area and need a little culture, check out what they’ve got on the calendar. Learn more about Press 53 and the kind of works they publish here.

All of us at Blair would like to extend a big congratulations to Kevin Watson and his whole team on this milestone. Cheers to you!