The day after Thanksgiving I’ll be leaving for Mexico, to help represent the U.S. at FIL, the Guadalajara International Book Fair. It’s a new trip with the State Dept.’s Speaker and Specialist Program, my first one since I was in the Middle East back in 2010. (I did do a “virtual visit” to Indonesia last year, but that was limited to a Skype interview and presentation.) After my comments regarding my 2010 trip to Bahrain, I was wondering if I was still on my country’s “good side,” but apparently I am. Bueno!
FIL is the world’s second largest international book fair (after Frankfurt), and this year’s “guest” of honor is the country of Israel. Word is that the president of Israel will be at the opening ceremony, so I’ll be sure to keep my distance from any Uzi-toting security folks.
My involvement at the festival will mostly be with FILustra, an illustrators conference held in conjunction with the book fair. In fact, I’ll be delivering FILustra’s closing keynote address on Monday evening! I’m supposed to discuss how I bring social issues into the world of comics, as well as my observations about the state of comics in the U.S. (and Latin America, if I could be so bold). Needless to say, I’m still working on putting my talk together. *Gulp!*
After FIL, I’ll drive from Guadalajara to the neighboring state of Aguascalientes, to present my work to university students there, and conduct a comics-making workshop with high school kids. Finally, on my fifth day away, I’ll fly into Mexico City and do a couple of workshops—one at a university, and one at the famous Benjamin Franklin Library for a mixed group of kids and grownups. Thankfully, I have a good go-to minicomics workshop that has proven popular with groups from all over.
I’m excited for this new travel opportunity and the chance to learn about the comics scene in Mexico. I also hope to see a few familiar faces along the way…