Animal House, or Something Like It — Bookrageous BEA Party at Housing Works

1. Titi Nguyen, an essayist, with author Megan Mayhew Bergman. We talked pho, banh mi, and pain. 2. MIXTAPES!!!

Last night there was a party at Housing Works in SoHo. Everyone involved in the publishing world and their mother was there, and why wouldn’t they be? It was for this thing called Book Expo America, which is, according to their website, “North America’s Publishing Event.” BEA is the publishing world’s strut, and last night’s sponsors Bookrageous, Small Demons, FSG: Work in Progress and Vol. 1 Brooklyn know how to throw a party. Hijinks were promised. Totally delivered.

1. Brian Morell, a librarian at Queens Library, with wife Jennifer Morell, a freelance writer and education arbiter. 2. David Macinnis Gill at the mic.

I got there early and found fellow Disher Sam Gold sitting with some people on the side of the stage in a scantily occupied Housing Works. But as soon as Events Coordinator Amanda Bullock announced that the limited-open bar was now ready, more people filed in from Crosby Street and pounced upon the bar. The party was now, as they say, on.

1. Crowd, not quite drunk. Yet. 2. Vol. 1’s Tobias Carroll and Jason Diamond: “We are going to raffle mixtapes. It will be awesome.”

On the bill for our evening: Readings (kind of) from Megan Mayhew Bergman, David Macinnis Gill, Brian Francis Slattery, J. Courtney Sullivan and Emma Straub. Also, a sweet raffle to benefit Housing Works, which were seven mixtapes from the likes of Jennifer Egan, Kate Christensen, Jami Attenberg, Justin Taylor, Ben Greenman, Lev Grossman, and Emma Straub. Yes, they were real cassettes, and totes hand-decorated. One can only hope that the Justin Taylor mixtape had crust punk/peace punk hits, and whomever got the tape with Weezer on it is nostalgically enjoying Cuomo-on-tape as much as I would.

1. Brian Francis Slattery, shredding. 2. Emily Pullen, a bookseller from Skylights Books in LA (❤) and author Justin Taylor.

First, the “reading”: it definitely felt more like a book-themed open mic to round the corners of the rager that was now in full swing, but no less entertaining and bookish. Highlights include Megan Mayhew Bergman’s dramatic reading of an ’80s song, J. Courtney Sullivan’s dancing, and Emma Straub’s brownies, because “she has no talent at all.” After all the authors read, Vol. 1 Brooklyn editors Tobias Carroll and Jason Diamond brought up their big jar and raffled off the mixtapes. Many went unclaimed on the initial or second drawing, thanks to the din, but all the mixtapes went to happy readers, writers, editors, and people of other stripes.

1. Mixtape winners Emily Wunderlich, Editorial Assistant at Penguin, with NYC MTA maven, Robert Colorafi. Also pictured: photobombers Tiffany Gibert, also at Penguin, with Sam Gold’s eyeball. 2. Gabrielle Gantz, Senior Publicist at Picador and Book Borougher; Courtney Young, Editor at Houghton-Mifflin; and Largehearted Boy David John Gutowski.

Some events for Dish have me “on assignment” more than others: most of my posts are readings by authors or journals I admire — a lot — and thus the recaps are heavy on providing context and a feel for the work that’s read. It’s easy to overlook the actual leg work that goes into producing a journal, a book, selling manuscripts, representing authors, and making sure all of that continues by making money. While these pictures show the book world letting loose from the myriad panels, exhibitions and booth walks from BEA, the expo ensures that the book world evolves for the whole of writers, readers, editors, and bloggers, and to keep literature exciting. It’s a nice reminder that readings are not all what writers do to promote their work, that there’s much, much more to do after the writing. And after all that, we like to party hard.

1. BROWNIES! 2. Isn’t there a song that’s like, “shots, shots, shots-shots-shots?”

Afterwards, we drank the last of the free booze, Straub distributed her brownies to a select few (to say that they are good would be a major understatement. Those brownies are sublime), and I took a bunch of photos. The hijinks moved over to Botanica, and we raged on into the night. Keep track of BEA happenings here at the outlet, and if you are so inclined, look for the mixtapes on Spotify. Buy books, be happy.

Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures

by Emma Straub

The Astral

by Kate Christensen

The Magician King

by Lev Grossman

Birds of a Lesser Paradise: Stories

by Megan Mayhew Bergman

The Gospel of Anarchy

by Justin Taylor

A Visit from the Goon Squad

by Jennifer Egan


— Ryan Chang is Staff Writer for The Outlet. His work has appeared in Art Faccia, Vol. 1 Brooklyn and elsewhere. He is in the internet here and here.

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