Read Russia at BookExpo America in New York: How globalisation works for the book industry (and culture)
June 8, 2012 by ruediger

A little tired I am, I admit, and spent hours just, at first, pointlessly wandering around at the New York West Side (yes, where the wonderful Musical by Lenny Bernstein was set), to wind down from 4 days of most compact talking and looking, and listening, and interacting.

Working for BookExpo America now since 2003, this was the biggest story, and the most stunning success: Read Russia – helping to bring 260 Russians to New York, publishers, booksellers, librarians, writers, wizzards, consulting to all sides about the program, networking, making this happen, and now, also, celebrating the big event. An adventure.

See, from left to right, Svetlana Adjubai from Academia Rossica, John Siciliano of Penguin, Peter Mayer of Overlook, and Morgan Entrekin of Grove Atlantic, flooded with questions after their panel (which was moderated by Ed Kasinec, librarian emeritus of Columbia and NYPL.

The hour before I have had the pleasure to host the CEOs of the 2 largest Russian publishing houses, Oleg Novikov of Eksmo, and Yuri Deikalo of AST, who as a surprise notice, announce the merger of those houses (which had been reported exclusively at this www.BookLab.info!) – which will genuinely re-shuffle all of Russian publishing.

The massive interest of ALL major US / global actors for the Russian guests, which resulted in a long line of business meetings that had started already 6 weeks ago at the London Book Fair, was not all though.

Read Russia also has been all over New York, with literature and culture. They have a gorgeous exhibitione on children’s book illustrations on display downtone in  Tribecca, and we could assist at a lavish performance of readings of Pushkin’s peoms, at his birthday yesterday, at the Russian Consulate on the Upper East side. In between a literary soirĂ©e at the New York Public Library, readings of some 30 writers all over the city (including controversial voices indeed – see www.readrussia2012.com , when Natalya, the widdow of late Alexander Solzhenitsyn, spoke on the legacy on the writer’s archive, which is currently digitized together with Yale University (which called in even David Remnik, the editor of  The New Yorker).

For me, I admit, the most exciting part was the making of  this vast program, over the past 2 years, including meeting and on the US side also actively bringing in all thosevoices).

I willblog, over the coming weeks and months, on Russia and other emerging markets here. and twitter at @wischenbart about it. Please join me for alerts.

Nevertheless, I must admit that I also had a wide open EAR at BEA for a much different couple, Patti Smith interviewing Neil Young.

No more words about this.

I suspect however, that thatone Russian instigator, who had thought out all of this, and who had toured previously Mick Jagger around Moscow, and without whom  all this would have not have happened, and, more importantly, the preparations wouldn’t have been half so exciting and not a quarter so fun, Vladimir Grigoriev, will have also a story to tell about Patty and Neil. While my old buddy Peter Kaufmann smiles.

Thanks to all.

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