Last weekend Chelsey and I were lucky to attend the Harper Collins Frenzy event in Toronto. Since we first started running Death of the Author we’d been interesting in attending one of these events but never had the chance to. HC Frenzy was our first chance to attend an industry event in our hometown instead of our yearly pilgrimage down to Book Expo.
It turns out that the Toronto HarperCollins office was on the 40th floor. The view of the city was stunning. I took this picture before my brain promptly reminded me that I was afraid of heights. I then sat down on the opposite side of the room far away from the window.
To start off the presentation the Frenzy team introduced themselves and showed the trailer for the upcoming Hate U Give film.
Then they spoke about Angie Thomas’s next novel On the Come Up.
On the Come Up follows sixteen year old Bri who wants to be a rapper. Thomas describes the novel as being about what it’s like to be young and black in America. She also mentioned the importance of hip hop and the impact it has on young people and how that plays out in the novel. She spoke about her own teenage years and how she wasn’t much of a reader at a young age because she didn’t see herself in the books she read.
But she could find herself in hip hop. On the Come Up serves as a a companion to Hate U Give. It’s not a direct sequel but readers will recognize some characters and locations.
And don’t forget. if you’re around Toronto for TIFF you can catch a screening of Hate U Give before the wide release in October
Frenzy Presents: The Books
After discussing Hate U Give and On the Come Up, the Frenzy team took us straight into the catalogue for the fall season. Oh man there are so many cool and interesting books coming out.
The Reading List
(All of the books discussed during the presentation)
Sawkill Girls – Claire Legrand
Shadow of the Fox – Julie Kagawa
The Ladies Guide to Petticoats and Piracy – Mackenzi Lee
A Very Large Expanse of Sea – Tahereh Mafi
Broken Things – Lauren Oliver
Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree – Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani
Four Three Two One – Courtney Stevens
Oh My Goth – Gena Showalter
Sex Plus – Laci Green
The Caged Queen – Kristen Ciccarelli
Pride – Ibi Zoboi
Pulp – Robin Talley
What If It’s Us – Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera
This Splintered Silence – Kayla Olson
The Light Between Worlds – Laura Weymouth
Two Dark Reigns – Kendare Blake
Swing – Kwame Alexander
This Is Kind of An Epic Love Story – Kheryn Callender
When We Caught Fire – Anna Godbersen
Damsel – Elana K. Arnold
After the featured books presentation we all played the game Book Nerd Questions. The question asked that caused the most impassioned answers was “If you could change the end of any book which would it be?” Everyone in the room had an answer for this. Some of the titles shouted out that caught my ear were: Breaking Dawn – Stephanie Meyer, His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman, Alligient – Veronica Roth and Bloodlines – Richelle Mead.
The Main Event: Laurie Forest
Then it was time for the guest of honour Laurie Forest to talk about her upcoming sequel to 2017’s The Black Witch: The Iron Flower.
Forest described her inspiration behind the series. The Black Witch came from Forest’s own experiences during Vermont’s fight for civil unions (and eventually marriage) for the LGTBQ community. Forest described the type of hate that she was engaging with on a daily basis shocked her. And how in the middle of the night someone tore up her lawn and destroyed the rainbow signs she and her family had placed there. Forest mentioned how that was only a taste of what some of her friends were experiencing every day.
Forest works in the medical profession and began writing what became The Black Witch around her day job. When asked how she managed to write such a long book around her busy schedule she had some advice: “Any writing advice that tells you there is a certain way to write is the worst advice” and just try and write every day.
In the past year The Black Witch has been surrounded by a lot of controversy. Check out Chelsey’s review of the novel and response to that here.
The Most Important Thing: The Swag Bags
I had heard the swag bags at these events were legendary. I wasn’t disappointed. My bag contained three arcs including A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi, one of my most anticipated releases!
Check out the rest of the goodies below:
Overall I had a great experience at HC Frenzy. I met a lot of really interesting people involved in the book blogger/vlogger scene in Toronto. I was also called an Influencer for the first time in my life… which I’m not going to lie was kind of strange.
But for now, I have a lot of reading to catch up on!
Thanks again to the Frenzy Team for inviting Chelsey and I and we can’t wait for the next event!