Booksellers to Bid on Visits With Top NY Authors During BEA

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Booksellers who have dreamed of having a long chat with an award-winning author or illustrator will get to compete for the chance in March during a nationwide auction conducted by the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE). Leonard Marcus, Chris Raschka, Robert Sabuda, Jon Scieszka, Peter Sis, and Vera B. Williams are the first confirmed participants in the new ABFFE Author Auction (Click here for biographical info about authors in the ABFFE Author Auction).

"This is an unprecedented opportunity to spend time with someone whose work you admire," ABFFE President Chris Finan said. ABFFE expects to announce the participation of more authors in the weeks ahead. "We have been very fortunate in lining up some of the top children's authors and illustrators, but we are working hard to enlist outstanding writers of books for adults as well," Finan said.

The ABFFE Author Auction will be conducted online at the ABFFE Web site,, on March 27-29. All of the authors live or work in New York City and will meet with the winners for an hour and a half on May 4 or May 5, during BookExpo America (BEA). The two highest bidders for each author will win. Both winners may each bring two friends, which means that no more than six guests will be present during the meetings. The winners will also receive five autographed copies of the author's latest work.

In most cases, the authors will meet visitors at their homes or studios, giving them a close-up view of where they work. Some authors may elect to meet at one of their favorite haunts or to lead a walking tour of their neighborhood. ABFFE will provide guides to make sure that out-of-town winners travel to and from the meeting sites without problem.

Participation in the auction will be limited to booksellers who are members of ABFFE, ABA, the Association of Booksellers for Children, or one of the regional bookseller associations. Winners will be responsible for their own travel and lodging.
ABFFE's hope is that booksellers who are planning to attend BEA in New York City will pool their resources with other booksellers when they enter the auction. "They will be able to buy into something that makes this year's BookExpo something they will never forget," Finan said.

Finan said ABFFE is very grateful to the participating authors and their publishers. "The fight for free speech is a daily battle," he explained. "The support of authors and publishers is vital to our success." The proceeds of the auction will help support ABFFE's activities, including its defense of customer privacy in the Tattered Cover case and the launch of kidSPEAK! (, its new anti-censorship Web site for middle school students.

Any author or publisher who would like to participate in the ABFFE Author Auction is encouraged to contact Tim Eubanks of ABFFE at [email protected] or (212) 587-4025.