Life is one adventure after another, and at booth 1313, Abbeville Press is celebrating some of the things that make it so: Italian cuisine, the seven seas, and Jane Austen.
Abbeville’s adventures kick off today with food: chef Cesare Casella will sign 32 copies of the illustrated encyclopedia of Italian cuisine, Gusto: The Very Best of Italian Food and Cuisine, edited by Armando Minuz (Apr.), for which Casella wrote the foreword. The signing will take place between 11 a.m. and noon, close enough to lunch to whet the appetite of even those who don’t move quickly enough to score a copy. Shifting from the fruits of the land to the treasures of the sea, between 3 and 4 p.m., underwater photographer and deep sea diver Jeff Rotman, whose photos have been featured everywhere from National Geographic to Time, will do a show-and-tell at the booth about his 40-plus years career. Rotman, whose latest adventure is advocating for the protection of the world’s fragile marine habitats, will also sign posters for his new book, The Last Fisherman: Witness to the Endangered Oceans (Oct.).
And last but not least, the author who once wrote that life “seems but a quick succession of busy nothings.” This fall, Abbeville will publish all three volumes of Jane Austen’s first stabs at writing fiction as a teen, In Her Own Hand. Visitors will receive chapbooks containing a story from Austen’s first notebook, aptly titled, Volume the First, which is a rollicking tale of adventure as only she could write it: Eliza crosses a powerful duchess to be with the man she loves. After being widowed, Eliza is thrown in prison, ends up escaping, and bites off her own fingers to feed her starving children. Despite lacking fingers, like every other Austen heroine, Eliza finds her happy ending.
Beginning at 2 p.m. on Friday, Abbeville hosts a Jane Austen trivia contest. Three winners will receive a set signed by Austen scholar Kathryn Sutherland, who wrote the intro to the series.