Printers Row Lit Fest was a great success! Beautiful day and a great group of writers at the Chicago Writers Association booth. Writers Laura Enright (To Touch the Sun) and Raymond Wlodkowksi (Motor City Boys) were on either side of me and it was wonderful to spend the day with them.
But the takeaway is this...
Books are still very much alive. Yes, the publishing world has been turned on its head, and the new model for publishing, reading and consuming books continues to evolve almost daily. But... the reality is this: reading, storytelling, the human need to share stories is more alive than ever. Look at the people at Printers Row! I commented several times on Sunday while signing copies of Any Road Will Take You There how diverse the crowd was. Young, old, hipsters, hippies, old-school librarians, moms, dads, kids, students, and all of them mixing with rookie writers, veterans (James Patterson stopped by the Chicago Writers Association booth just looking around), teachers, booksellers (big and small) literature nerds, and book hoarders.
Printers Row Lit Fest has been going on for 30 years and each year it has adapted to the times, to the unique changes in the world of publishing, and each year people flock to Dearborn and Harrison streets in the historic Printers Row neighborhood of Chicago to devour stories.
Besides my writing, I do a lot of radio work, as many of you know, and many years ago the so-called experts proclaimed radio was dying. TV was going to kill it, they said. And now the Internet is being accused in the (so-called) murder of radio. Thing is, there's been no crime. Radio is not dead. Is it changing, adjusting, and still need of balance? Sure. It's evolving. Publishing is doing the same thing, evolving. But nothing can replace radio's most appealing element: its ability to be uniquely intimate. And nothing can replace what a book can do: take us to lands and cultures unknown, ignite imagination, or turn the mirror on each of us, demanding us to reexamine our place in the world. That can't be replaced. That can't be duplicated.
Don't believe me? Come out to Printers Row Lit Fest in 2015, and I'll prove it to you.