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Bookstore at Writers’ Conference is open to the public

By Lee Bellavance

Starting February 12, when the San Miguel Writers’ Conference begins, its bookstore will be, “ the largest, coolest English language bookstore in all of Mexico — for one week!” according to associate director of the conference, Maia Williams.

San Miguel Writers’ Conference Bookstore
Open to the public
Thu, Feb 13–Mon, Feb 17, 9am–6pm
Hotel Real de Minas
Ancha de San Antonio 1
Corner of Stirling Dickinson

Dozens of presenters at the upcoming Writers’ Conference and Literary Festival, including the distinguished keynote speakers, will display their books at the store, as will members of the San Miguel Literary Sala and full conference attendees who have published books. All of that adds up to thousands of interesting books!

Authors have been invited to sign their books and mix and mingle with bookstore browsers as well. The bookstore is the hub of the entire Conference and a place to meet interesting faculty and Conference participants who have traveled to San Miguel from all over Mexico, the US and Canada. A coffee lounge will also be available for more extended conversations.

Dozens of presenters at the upcoming Writers’ Conference and Literary Festival, including the distinguished keynote speakers, will display their books at the store, as will members of the San Miguel Literary Sala and full conference attendees who have published books. All of that adds up to thousands of interesting books!

 

The store will be located in a large tent directly behind the Hotel Real de Minas. Although many of the conference events are almost sold out, the bookstore is both free and open to the public. It will feature a unique blend of works by Mexican, American and Canadian writers. All of this will be available starting at noon on February 12 and from 9am to 6pm every day thereafter through February 17.

An instant, popup bookstore involves an enormous amount of logistics. The books all arrive in a small window of time and then must be inventoried, displayed, sold, accounted for and paid for — within about a week! This year, the daunting and detailed task has been taken on by volunteer bookstore director, Raisl Rich.

Just consider the scope of what Rich is doing: pricing in pesos and dollars; authors from Mexico, America and Canada; delivery and inventory of all the books; opening the store daily; sales by cash, credit card or check; and payment to authors by the end of the conference!

“The whole thing has been one enormous challenge for me, and will continue to be,” Rich says of the huge job. “But I love books and am very happy to have this challenge.” Raisl Rich is a former reference librarian and very well suited for the job. “The kinds of books range from poetry and novels, to memoirs and history. Some of the books are of specific interest here in Mexico, some not,” she says.

Although it is Rich’s first year at the helm, she is taking over from Jim Knoch and Wendy Weber who handled the transition of moving the bookstore into a tent and ran the operation for four years. Before that, the bookstore was in the back of the hotel ballroom–and sometimes had to be totally dismantled in the evenings for the keynote addresses. One of the first bookstore directors was the indefatigable and talented Diane Aigaki, who, we are sad to report, recently died of cancer.

The Conference encourages everyone to visit the bookstore at the Hotel Real de Minas on the Ancha de San Antonio daily from the 12th through the 17th of February during the international San Miguel Writers’ Conference. For more information, go to the sanmiguelwritersconference.org website.

 

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