ReedPop’s sixth BookCon, which immediately follows BookExpo, will be held at New York City’s Javits Center on Saturday, June 1, and Sunday, June 2. Reed is maintaining the show’s focus on YA and middle grade book fans but also continuing its expansion of programs for general interest adult readers. Many of the middle grade and YA authors are among the biggest names in books for younger readers: Tomi Adeyemi, Cassandra Clare, Marissa Meyer, R.J. Palacio, among others. Big-name adult authors include Joe Hill, E.L. James, and Jeff Vandermeer.
Big Names and Pop Culture Idols
No former U.S. presidents are scheduled to appear—last year’s headliners were Bill Clinton and James Patterson, who launched their collaboratively written thriller The President Is Missing at the fair—but Reed is still betting on the power of celebrity to draw crowds. The show organizer has booked several pop cultural figures who have recently crossed over into books. On Saturday, actor Neil Patrick Harris, author of the Magic Misfits middle grade series, will appear in conversation with Eva Chen, fashion editor, social media superstar, Instagram exec, and new picture book author. Their event is at 12:45 p.m. on the Downtown Stage. Harris and Chen are both scheduled to sign books following the event.
Actor and activist Alyssa Milano will participate in the “Middle Grade Blowout”panel, at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday in Room 1E14. She will be promoting her debut novel, Project Middle School. Joining her on that panel are Evangeline Lilly (the Squickerwonkers series), Palacio (Wonder), and Rachel Renée Russell (the Dork Diaries and Max Crumbly series).
On Sunday at 12:45 p.m. on the Downtown Stage, Adam Savage, of TV’s Mythbusters, will join webcomic creator Randall Munroe on a panel. Savage will be launching his new book on creativity, Every Tool’s a Hammer: Life Is What You Make It. Munroe will discuss his upcoming How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems.
The twin sisters and indie rock musicians who perform as Tegan and Sara will appear Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at the Downtown Stage to promote their forthcoming memoir, High School, which will be out in September.
Clare, James, and Meyer are among the biggest book world people appearing at BookCon. James, who is the big adult draw at the fair, will present at a Main Stage event on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. She will be promoting her new novel The Mister, her first book not set in the world of Fifty Shades of Grey. James will sign copies of The Mister after her event.
Clare will appear on the Main Stage at 11 a.m. on Saturday in conversation with Entertainment Weekly editor David Canfield to promote her newest Shadowhunters novel, and will sign books at noon. She will also appear on the “Epic YA” panel at 2 p.m. on Saturday on the Main Stage, along with Adeyemi, Julie Murphy, and Jason Reynolds.
Book to Screen
Film adaptations of books is another continuing focus at BookCon, as the show highlights the meeting of book culture and popular culture. Hulu, the TV streaming service, is sponsoring two panels on Saturday to promote two of its book-based series. First is “Hulu Presents The Handmaid’s Tale Season 3” at 10:45 a.m. in Room 1E10, featuring showrunner Bruce Miller, as well as actors from the show. The third season will premiere on June 5.
On Saturday at 5 p.m. on the Main Stage, Hulu will also preview the highly anticipated launch of its adaptation of Looking for Alaska, John Green’s first novel (published in 2005). Green will be joined by fellow executive producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, as well as talent from the show, for “Hulu Presents John Green’s Looking for Alaska.”
Saturday will also feature a book-to-screen panel with Alafair Burke, Eoin Colfer, and Nicola Yoon. Burke’s The Wife is being adapted as a feature film by Amazon Studios. A film based on Colfer’s Artemis Fowl series, directed by Kenneth Branagh, will be out this August. The film version of Yoon’s The Sun Is Also a Star is due this month. These authors will speak about the process of having their books adapted in a panel moderated by author David Levithan at 2:45 p.m. on the Main Stage.
Comics and Crossovers
Comics and genre fiction are two of BookCon’s main areas with crossover appeal for younger and older readers. DC Comics will present one panel on each day, featuring DC Ink, its new YA imprint, on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. in Room 1E10, and its mature-audiences Black Label imprint on Sunday at 11:15 a.m. in Room 1E16. And Tor will present its YA line, Tor Teen, on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in Room 1E16, as well as a panel of new voices on Sunday at 3:15 p.m in Room 1E16.
Romance may be the area with the most interesting and innovative programming. Sunday will feature panels on millennial romance (“When Millennials Met Romance” at 1:15 p.m. in Room 1E16 ) and New York City–based romance (“New York, I Love You” at 10:15 a.m. in Room 1E16).
There will also be a number of games and activities. Taking off from a Sunday morning panel titled “Draw Me a Sunny Day: A Celebration of Sesame Street’s 50th Anniversary,” at 10:45 a.m. at the Family HQ, featuring children’s authors who have contributed to the show, Random House will host a Sesame Street photo booth in the Javits lobby. BookCon’s popular audiobook game show “I’ll Take Quidditch for $500, Please!” will return on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. in Room 1E10. “Geek Geek Revolution,” a literary game show featuring various authors, will also take place on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Room 1E07.
This is just a small sampling of the breadth of BookCon and its events. Overall, the show has settled into its format and identity. There won’t be any international figures of Clinton’s stature this year, but there will be plenty of heavy hitters to draw crowds.