Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The book tour

Author Joe Queenan describes some of his favorite people, his companions on his literary tours.

JQ: I have always loved book tours. I became a writer only so I could go on book tours. I have done tours as small as four cities and as large as 16. They have taken me to places I never expected to visit — Iowa City, Coconut Grove, Hay-on-Wye — and introduced me to passionate book lovers I will remember forever. Among these book lovers, the most memorable are the “literary escorts” who ferry authors around town.

Literary escorts, by and large, are middle-aged women who make a living by picking up authors at the airport, shuttling them from one media outlet to another, filling them in on the next interviewer’s background, buying them lunch, telling them where the liquor store is, preventing them from having nervous breakdowns. Some do it as a job, some as a hobby. Escorts are always smart and invariably funny. A lot of them smoke. More...

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