The publishing world may revolve around New York City, however National Geographic calls Washington, DC home. As a result, they frequently host live events which draw engaging crowds to the theater in their headquarters.
Last Thursday night, I answered the tweet of Don George, former editor of Lonely Planet, and made the commute into the city despite cold temperatures and driving (ok, drizzling) rain. The talk with Simon Winchester, British author and editor of The Best American Travel Writing 2009, was preceded by a reception. Not knowing anyone, but clearly amongst my people (aka the well-traveled), I grabbed a complimentary beer and introduced myself to a few of the other guests.
When the lights began to flicker, we headed for the theater. Two armchairs were placed on stage, with a world globe in between. I was impressed with the turnout, since $25 per ticket isn't chump change.
A brief introduction was given by Keith Bellows, editor of National Geographic, and then Don and Simon took the stage. A big part of the reason I attended the event was to hear more of Simon, as I enjoyed his comments at the book launch party in New York City the week before.
The evening turned out to be quite pleasant, with Don effectively interviewing Simon in a relaxed and lighthearted manner. A lot of time was spent discussing how Simon is approaching the process of writing his latest book, a biography of the Atlantic Ocean. A question and answer session occurred at the end, and then the two authors were available for book signings.
I decided to make this the occasion that I picked up Lonely Planet's Guide to Travel Writing, which had been updated earlier this year. Since I was buying the book, I had to get it signed as well.
When I reached Don, I made sure to mention the NBC News piece by Wendy Rieger in which we both appeared back in Fall 2007 before my trip around the world. The video is conveniently embedded below for a good laugh at my expense.