I’ve known for awhile that First Second’s Editorial Director Mark Siegel would come to Minneapolis this winter. Until he arrived, I didn’t understand why.
Minneapolis, I now know, was the second stop on his “goodwill tour” (my words). Siegel is meeting with booksellers, organizers, librarians and students in an effort to promote comics readership and by extension First Second Books.
He’s reaching out to the people who matter in the comics world who we rarely talk about — the connectors. People who are positioned to take comics seriously and bring new readers to the medium. His travels have taken him to Seattle and Minneapolis so far.
Siegel’s tour may lead to other cities, I didn’t get his full itinerary, but I know he spent nearly a week in Minneapolis:
I attended a Thursday dinner where representatives from local bookstores, reading groups, writing centers and universities were present. I see that he’s really reaching out; hopefully making a big impression on our local literary scene and reigniting excitement and interest in the graphic novel.
On Friday his time was spent largely with the folks at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design (MCAD), talking with seniors during the day and at night giving a presentation on graphic novels to a packed house. The talk was sponsored by Rain Taxi (a literary magazine that also reviews comics and runs the Rain Taxi Festival of Books), MCAD and Big Brain Comics.
Saturday he delivered a talk on graphic novels to the Children’s Literature Network, an event that targeted librarians and educators and discussed comic editing and publishing at the Loft Literary Center.
Monday he stopped by comic shops around town, including Dreamhaven (closed, unfortunately) and The Source Comics & Games, and ran a workshop on creating graphic novels through the Minnesota Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators.
Tuesday he met with a group of public librarians through the Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA), a library group that includes the majority of the metro area’s public libraries — including Hennepin County Library, one of the top library systems in the nation.
I was able to attend his talk at MCAD and have transcribed parts of it below.
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