After visitng both coasts, BookExpo America is back in Chicago for the first time since 2001. Some say familiarity breeds contempt, but most attendees PW spoke with were glad to be headed back to the Windy City.

Former President Bill Clinton has added excitement to this year's BookExpo America—he will attend the Chicago show to address booksellers and promote his memoir, My Life (to be published at the end of June by Knopf).

This year marks the fifth anniversary of Book Sense, and it will be celebrated the entire weekend. Although the ABA will not have a booth on the trade show floor this year, its usual booth materials and information will be available at the ABA/Book Sense Lounge in Room 401. This Lounge will feature promotional material and items promoting Book Sense at Five. Everyone at Book Sense is tight-lipped about what will happen on the trade show floor at 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 5. But we're told that Ingram will wish Book Sense a happy birthday and that booksellers won't want to miss it.

Chronicle Books also has a surprise for booksellers arriving at the opening of the trade show floor at 9 a.m. Friday. We were advised to get there early and be at the main entrance.

Where Are the Dining, Dancing and Clubbing Guides?

If you think this BEA preview issue has an Atkins feel to it, you're right: it is a little trimmer. This year we decided to put some of the articles devoted to activities outside the BEA--right here on! Because the Internet offers more expansive space, we're able to provide extended (and opinionated) listings of Chicago eateries, nightlife and sight-seeing activities. Our friends at Frommer's have provided us with restaurant listings (taken from The Unofficial Guide to Chicago), a snappy guide to Chicago's nightlife (from the editors of Frommer's Irreverent Guide to Chicago) and a comprehensive guide to sightseeing in the Windy City (from the editors of Frommer's Chicago 2004). Frommer's also created nine Chicago maps especially for our Web site that will help readers locate all the restaurants, nightclubs and attractions mentioned in the articles. These maps and the three tourist articles will be on the main page of our Web site (along with much of the BEA package printed in this issue) for the next month.

Eat, Drink and Listen to Authors

One of the more enjoyable aspects of attending the BEA is a chance to see your favorite writers and—for a modest fee—listen to them speak while you eat. The first breakfast scheduled is the

Children's Book & Author Breakfast on Friday, June 4, at 8 a.m. with Jamie Lee Curtis, Ursula K. Le Guin and Jack Gantos. The

BEA's Book & Author Breakfast program begins at 8 a.m. Saturday with NPR's Terry Gross hosting talks by David Sedaris, Alexandra Fuller and Alexander McCall Smith. On Sunday morning, Graydon Carter hosts Jon Stewart, Gish Jen and Tom Wolfe.

If you're a late riser, you can catch Saturday's

BEA Book & Author Lunch at noon with Donna Brazile, Janeane Garofalo, P.J. O'Rourke and Linda Chavez. Brian Lamb will moderate. Filling the afternoon lull is the Saturday

Audiobook Tea (4 p.m.), featuring Amy Tan, Augusten Burroughs, Kinky Friedman and Scott Turow.

Last year, Ellen Degeneres gave a stand-up performance to benefit the Book Industry Foundation, which supports ABFFE and the Association of American Publishers' Get Caught Reading campaign. This year, there's

BEA's Evening with George Carlin at 9 p.m. on Saturday at the Navy Pier Grand Ballroom. Carlin, a successful author (both Brain Droppings and Napalm and Silly Putty were #1 bestsellers) and creator of the classic "Seven Words You Can't Say on TV" routine, should have a few thoughts about the Patriot Act. Tickets are $25 each; two for $45; or five tickets for $100. The event is sponsored by Hyperion, which will publish Carlin's When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? in October.

It doesn't always cost money to see favorite authors. This year, the

BEA's Autographing Sessions—which are scheduled all day long on Friday and Saturday in the South Hall—will feature more than 450 authors. And that's not including the authors who will be signing at their publishers' booths on all three days. A $1 donation per book is requested (which will benefit the Book Industry Foundation) at the traditional autographings. Most autographings are on a first-come, first-signed basis, but some celebrity authors require a ticket to get in line. Tickets are distributed at 7 a.m. on Friday and Saturday in the convention center lobby, by the registration area. A complete schedule of authors will be listed in May on the Web site

Get Buzzed

One of the most popular events over the last few years has been the

BEA's Editor and Bookseller Buzz Forum, where the book industry's editorial leaders share their personal perspectives, insights and reasons they are excited about various forthcoming titles and authors. This year the Buzz Forum will be moderated by PW's editor-in-chief Nora Rawlinson on Thursday, June 3, at 4:40 p.m. She will be joined by: Michael Pietsch, senior v-p and publisher, Little, Brown; Anika Streitfeld, fiction editor, MacAdam/Cage Publishing; Ann Godoff, president and publisher, Penguin Press; Dan Menaker, senior v-p and editor-in-chief, Random House; Judith Regan, president and publisher, ReganBooks; David Rosenthal, executive v-p and publisher, Simon & Schuster.

While we're shamelessly plugging PW's sponsorships, we should mention that PW is also sponsoring Friday's

BEA's Religion Day: An Afternoon with Religion and Spirituality Authors at 3:30 p.m. The culmination of BEA Religion Day Friday conference activity (see below) this program will feature: Andrew Greeley, The Catholic Revolution: New Wine, Old Wineskins and the Second Vatican Council (Univ. of California Press); Naomi H. Rosenblatt, After the Apple (Miramax); Jonathan Kirsch, God Against the Gods (Viking Compass); Oriah Mountain Dreamer, Opening the Invitation (Harper San Francisco) and Jerry Jenkins, Glorious Appearing and Silenced (Tyndale House Publishers). The authors will talk about the importance of faith in their forthcoming works with moderator Lynn Garrett, PW's religion editor. A book signing will follow the program.

Another notable event is the

BEA's Afternoon with Art Spiegelman on Saturday at 3 p.m. The Pulitzer Prize—winning author of Maus will discuss the inspiration behind his forthcoming work, IntheShadow of No Tower (Pantheon), his illustrated response to the events of 9/11. PW news editor Calvin Reid will host the event.

Latin & Full-Day Celebrations

Saturday, there will be a number of workshops, readings and author forums devoted to Latin American and Latino authors. The

BEA's Latin American & Latino Book Buzz Workshop begins at 1 p.m. Editors will speak about nurturing talent and promoting new titles. Kendra Marcus, president of Bookstop Literary Agency, will moderate, and panelists include Macarena Salas, editor of Scholastic, and Silvia Matute, editor of Santillana USA. Stay in the same room, because at 2:30 p.m. is

Writers on the Verge/ Nuevos exponentes de la literatura latina. Ana Castillo, author of Peel My Love Like an Onion, will introduce emerging Latina/o writers who will read from their newest works. Writers include Black Artemis, H.G. Carrillo, Mary Helen Lagasse, Joe Loya and Silvio Sirias. Finally, there's BEA's second annual

Latin American & Latino Author Forum (4:30—5:30 p.m.), featuring Ernesto Quiñonez, author of Chango's Fire; Nina Marie Martínez, ¡Caramba!; Ignacio Padilla, Antipodes; Luis Rodriguez, Music of the Mill and Carlos Eire, Waiting for Snow in Havana. The forum is hosted by Chique Cartagena, author of Latino Boom! What Every Business Needs to Know About the U.S. Hispanic Market.

Check out the convention schedule on beginning on page 50 for some full-day educational events. The

African-American Booksellers Conference begins at 11:30 on Thursday and ends with a reception from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Almost concurrent on that Thursday, the

Association of Booksellers for Children begins its annual meeting at 11:45 a.m., followed by a noon luncheon and a

Children's Booksellers Afternoon from 2 to 4:15 p.m.

On the Exhibit Floor

With more than 2,000 companies exhibiting in one main hall at McCormick Place Convention Center, it's easy to lose your way. With your handy PW exhibitors listing (beginning on page 58), you can plot out in advance which publishers you want to see. To help, the trade show floor has some special pavilions where like exhibitors have been grouped. Two new areas this year—the African-American Pavilion and the Audio Publishers Pavilion—join returning pavilions for Graphic Novels/Comics; Children's Books; Spanish Books; DVD/ Music; and Remainders. These are in addition to the eBook Experience and the Cookbook Expo, which are off the trade show floor.

Next year's BEA will be in New York City (June 3—5, 2005) and—for those who really like to plan ahead—the following year will find the BEA in Washington, D.C. (May 19—21, 2006).

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