Ten Bookish People I’ve Met

Top Ten Tuesday

I have an affiliate relationship with Bookshop.org and Malaprop's Bookstore in beautiful Asheville, NC. I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you if you purchase merchandise through links on my site. Read more on my affiliate page.
Top Ten Tuesday

Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl invited us to share ten bookish people we’d like to meet this week. I decided to tweak the topic just a bit and write about ten bookish people I’ve met at book signings and festivals. I haven’t been to many book events since the pandemic but before that, I was fortunate to attend quite a few. Malaprop’s, my local independent bookstore, always has tons of author events. Now that my husband and I travel with his job, I try to keep an eye out for author events wherever we are. Here are a few of the authors I was most excited to meet. I wrote about some of these meetings so I’ve linked to those posts where available.

Markus ZusakThe Book Thief is my favorite book, period. I never dreamed that I would have the opportunity to see Markus Zusak speak in person though, since he lives in Australia and I’m in the US. Fairly small-town US, no less. But while we were in Austin, TX, Mr. Zusak had a US tour. I jumped at the chance to see him and get my book signed at BookPeople, one of Austin’s fantastic independent bookstores.

Sarah Addison Allen–Ms. Allen is from Asheville, NC, my hometown. She launches her new books at Malaprop’s and I have attended many of those events. She is an absolute joy to meet. And she usually brings some sort of related treat and some fun swag!

Lee Smith–Ms. Smith is originally from Virginia and I’m from North Carolina but the fact that we’re both southern Appalachian girls completely eradicates any artificial state lines. We share an accent, we tell stories about eccentric relatives and neighbors, and she writes beautifully and feelingly about the people who populate these mountains we love. It has truly been an honor to meet her a few times.

Joshilyn Jackson–My husband encourages my reading habit but he doesn’t read a lot himself. He accompanies me to author events if he isn’t working and he’ll usually sit in the audience with me and politely listen. He doesn’t begrudge the time spent but it’s not something he actively looks forward to either. But then he saw Joshilyn Jackson with me at the Decatur Book Festival. She is hilarious! He had such a good time that he was excited to see her speak again when she came to Malaprop’s.

Charles Vess–Mr. Vess is a very well-known fantasy artist and illustrator who also happens to live within a couple of hours of my hometown of Asheville. He’s another frequent visitor to Malaprop’s. I love his presentations of his newest work and collaborations and had one of his signed prints hanging on the wall of my personal library before we started traveling.

Rick Bragg–Mr. Bragg is a natural storyteller and I can never decide if I prefer to read his books in print so that I can savor every word or if I prefer to listen to him tell his own books (He doesn’t read them; he tells them). You can imagine what an event with him is like. The audience was eating out of his hands.

Wiley Cash–Wiley Cash is another North Carolinian who writes difficult stories about characters who feel real. He seems to love morally gray situations, where there’s no right or wrong answer. To my surprise, he kept us in stitches of laughter when I saw him at an author event!

Khaled Hosseini–I was absolutely floored when I saw that Khaled Hosseini was coming to little Asheville. We get more than our share of authors passing through, many of whom are known nationally, but they’re usually authors who live in the Southern US. I don’t know how Malaprop’s made this event happen but it was a pleasure to meet such an internationally-known author.

Ruta Sepetys–I saw Ms. Sepetys speak at the Texas Book Festival in Austin in 2019, when she was launching The Fountains of Silence. She spoke knowedgeably and compassionately about life in Spain under General Franco. She also occasionally referenced her time working as a manager for rock musical acts. Her talk was fascinating and varied to say the least!

Grady Hendrix–I love Grady Hendrix’s books. Sure, they’re horror but there’s a surprising depth to them if you look for it. I had to go see him when I saw that he was going to be at Yallfest in Charleston while we were there. He was part of a panel of speakers but my husband and I loved hearing Mr. Hendrix in particular bring up Gen X pop culture. When we met him afterwards, it felt like we could have gone and grabbed a drink and chatted for hours.


Neil Gaiman–I get all tongue-tied when I actually meet authors but I do manage to at least squeak out a please and thank you, sometimes more–enough to feel that I can say that I’ve actually met the author. But Neil Gaiman rolled through Asheville as part of a storytelling tour. I went to see him but there wasn’t any meet and greet or book signing afterwards so I didn’t get to meet him at all. But still. I have been in a theater with Neil Gaiman! Woohoo!

That’s my list! Have you met any authors and/or illustrators? If not, whom would you be most excited to meet? Link up every Tuesday at That Artsy Reader Girl!

Other Posts You May Enjoy:


  1. What a fantastic list of authors that you’ve met, I would love to hear Ruta Sepetys speak!

  2. I’ve had the chance to meet Mr. Zusak twice. He came to my library both times and he’s such a lovely man. He didn’t care how long it took and made sure every single person had a chance to spend some time with him while he was signing. It was nearly 1am by the time the signing was over. I’m glad you got the chance to meet him too.

    My TTT Post

  3. Oh, I would have loved to have met Markus Zusak! I loved The Book Thief and keep intending to re-read it. And Rick Bragg. Oh, my gosh! I was just talking about All Over But the Shoutin’ last night. Definitely time to read that one again. Many, many years ago I watched a couple of book talks on CSPAN with Bragg. He is just as entertaining as his books. Wiley Cash is another marvelous storyteller. Lucky you!

    Off the top of my head, I have meet Mary Doria Russell, Lorna Landvik, Jill Ker Conway, William Kent Kruger, Ted Kooser (poet), Kent Haruf, Jeff Guinn, Tosca Lee, and of course, Rod Scher. 😉

    1. How cool that you’ve met Mary Doria Russell and Kent Haruf! And your hubby 😀 I talked my brother-in-law into reading The Sparrow recently and he came back like, “What on earth did you do to me? That was so disturbing at the end!” I had to tell him to go read the sequel to get some closure. I’m not sure if he has though.

  4. I’m so jealous that you got to meet Markus Zusak, The Book Thief is one of my absolute favourite books too but I think I probably have very little chance of meeting him since I live in the UK (though if he’s ever by chance doing a book tour in Australia that coincides with me visiting my sister then I am there!). I’d also really love to meet Ruta Sepetys, again she hasn’t ever done a UK book tour, though I feel like I might have slightly more chance there as we do get quite a lot of American authors come over here.
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2023/03/07/top-ten-tuesday-410/

    1. You can always hope! I would expect to see an Australian author in the UK before the US but maybe we’re just a bigger audience on this side of the pond. I’ll cross my finger that one or both of them heads your way!

    1. I have been very fortunate to meet so many, especially given that my hometown of Asheville is fairly small. It’s cool that you have such a personal connection to one of your favorite authors though!

  5. I would love to meet Sarah Addison Allen! I have had a similar experience with Neil Gaiman and I have attended lost of Melbourne Writer’s Festival events! I have gone off topic for my TTT this week.

I love to hear from you! Please contact me (menu bar, above) if you're having trouble commenting.