Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My First Conference: NCTE

This was an exciting weekend for me, as it marked by first-ever trip to a book conference AND my first-ever business trip. I was a little nervous because I started only a month ago, and don’t know Harper’s list as well and I could, but I could not have been more pleasantly surprised by the whole excursion.
We arrived in Las Vegas for the annual National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) convention late on Wednesday, and fell asleep quickly after a long day of travelling. When I woke up the next morning to go down to the lobby, I was able to take in the MGM Grand casino in its full splendor, replete with its giant golden lion, too many slot machines to count, and an unexpected number of 8am gamblers. We walked what seemed like a mile, past many rhinestone-happy clothing stores, and began to set up for the conference, which officially started at noon on Friday.
Everyone I met during my four days in Las Vegas was so incredibly nice. All the teachers seemed so enthusiastic about their jobs, and our books (especially the many free copies we distributed). Our two panels (“Reaching Boys Who are Reluctant Readers” and “Ask the Experts About Thornton Wilder”) went off without a hitch, and I came away with a much better sense of our books and what works in mostly middle and high school classrooms. Titles that the teachers seemed especially excited about included Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, The Graveyard Book, The Art of Racing in the Rain, How to Write a Sentence, Understanding Comics, and the new graphic novel version of The Alchemist, along with classics like Our Town and Their Eyes Were Watching God.
I had a really wonderful time, and hope to stay in contact with many of the teachers I met and spoke with there. I think that I’m going to love the conference-going aspect of my job in the future, because it provides the unparalleled opportunity to actually meet our customers, and hear what works for them and what doesn’t.
 - Louisa
P.S. - Did I forget to mention the food? SO. MUCH. GOOD. FOOD. If you ever have the chance to travel to Las Vegas, you’re definitely in for a treat in that department, even if you have to wait in line for an hour and fifteen minutes like we did for the famous Caesar’s buffet.

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