Londel's in Harlem, the site for the Black Pack aka Blacks in the Book Industry Party
This year marks the 9th year of the Black Pack Party, which is held during Book Expo America, the largest book industry forum in North America. The gathering is an opportunity for publishing professionals to mix, mingle, and trade book industry news and insights. I have attended the Black Pack Party only once before, several years ago, when it was also held at Londel's. This year, just as then, the restaurant was jam-packed, vibrantly buzzing like a well-syncopated harmony. The event is presented annually by Linda Duggins, Michelle Gibson (Written Magazine), Troy Johnson (AALBC.com), and a different guest host every year.
I caught sight of Blood Sweat and Heels reality star and author Demetria Lucas D'Oyley, who is also well-known for her A Belle in Brooklyn blog, along with several authors whose works I plan to explore:
Blood Sweat and Heels reality star and author Demetria Lucas D'Oyley (right), who is also well-known for her A Belle in Brooklyn blog
Photo left to right: Victoria Christopher Murray, author of Stand Your Ground and 20 more books; and What's The 411 Book Editor, Luvon Roberson
• Victoria Christopher Murray is the author of more than 20 books and her upcoming release, Stand Your Ground, has received a Library Journal starred review. The new novel centers on two women facing the same tragedy. A black teenage boy is dead. A white man shot him. Was he standing his ground or was it murder?
• K. Edwards makes her debut as an author with Five Nincompoops, the Princess and One Saviour, a story of love, marriage, and looking for “the one,” told through the hilarious yet sometimes painful life experiences of Princess
• In her novel, Divergent Lives, Minnie Lahongrais tells us about RJ and Adina, who enter the world as fraternal twins, one raised by old-world, controlling immigrants in El Barrio, the other sold into a religious home filled with lies and scorn.
Photo left to right: Minnie Lahongrais, author of Divergent Lives, with What's The 411 Book Editor, Luvon Roberson
Scanning the crowded space, I see a PR maven who says he knows Black Pack Party's presenter Duggins from their college days and introduces me to her. Duggins, Senior Director of Publicity at Grand Central Publishing, not only graciously offers me an overview of the annual event, but also connects me with Adrienne Ingrum, Senior Manuscript Editor at Hachette, and other professionals in the publishing industry.
Photo left to right: What's The 411 Book Editor, Luvon Roberson; and Linda Duggins, Senior Director of Publicity at Grand Central Publishing
That kind of mixing and mingling is what keeps the Black Pack Party a must-attend event during Book Expo America. Indeed, not even the sudden rain shower could dampen the buzz of excitement and purpose of this gathering of book lovers and publishing industry pros. Perhaps many see the event as a rare opportunity to be in-community and key to helping make #WeNeedDiverseBooks a reality.
For more about The Black Pack Party, visit: http://aalbc.com/events/black-pack-2001.html