BookCon is back.
The literary celebration from the people behind New York Comic Con skipped town last year for Chicago. But this weekend, it returns to NYC with two days of panels, author signings and more at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.
Founded in 2014, the midtown Manhattan convention is expected to draw some 25,000 people over the course of two days looking to connect with their favorite pop culture authors.
“Reading is a pretty private act, but people want to come out and unite around it,” said Brien McDonald, event director for BookCon. “We want authors who are intriguing and interesting and can give fans a unique experience.”
The event looks to connect attendees with more than 170 authors through dozens of panels as well as publisher exhibitor booths where they can get the “inside scoop on what’s next,” McDonald said.
McDonald shared some highlights of this year’s BookCon.
A pic with Kevin Hart
This is a personal one for McDonald. “Kevin Hart to me is one of the most interesting celebrities and is so hilarious,” he said. Those who agree will be able to catch the comedian, who is celebrating the release of his new book, “I Can’t Make This Up,” at a meet-and-greet and photo op all day on Sunday.
Seeing YA stars
Young adult authors “bring so much energy and have such a great connection to their fans,” McDonald said. Some big names at this year’s BookCon in that realm include Veronica Roth (“Divergent”), who is participating on a panel and signing autographs on Saturday; Leigh Bardugo (“Grisha Trilogy” and “Six of Crows”), who is participating on panels and signing autographs on both days; and Danielle Paige (“Dorothy Must Die”), who is on two panels and signing autographs on Saturday and doing a YA roundtable on Sunday.
“One thing we worked really hard on this year is family programming,” McDonald said.
Big draws in that area include Jeff Kinney, author of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” who will be celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the series’ first book at a panel on Saturday and doing a Kids Book Blockbusters panel on Sunday, as well as signing autographs both days; and “Captain Underpants” author Dav Pilkey, who will be at a panel on Sunday and signing autographs on both days as well.
“It just so happens that the film [‘Captain Underpants’] comes out the weekend of BookCon, so there will be a lot of awesome energy around that property,” McDonald said.
Inside ‘The Last Tycoon’
TV and books collide with “The Last Tycoon,” an Amazon Prime drama based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s unfinished novel. The show’s star, Matt Bomer, as well as executive producers will be at BookCon on Sunday to discuss bringing the novel to life. “This brand-new show is super interesting and cool, and has top talent,” McDonald said.
Some cosplay to be expected
Comic Con is known for its visual displays of fandom, with elaborate and impressive costumes. Does BookCon draw the same level? “We’ve had some awesome cosplay out on the floor,” McDonald said. “I think we’re going to start seeing that more and more. There will definitely be some Harry Potters running around.”
No more waiting in line
New this year, BookCon attendees can sign up for autograph sessions in advance on the website — as opposed to waiting on line or getting a wristband the day of like in year’s past. “They can plan out their day and do more of what they want, and not waiting, waiting, waiting if they’re going to get into an autograph sessions,” McDonald said. “The fan experience is always paramount.”