Alumni in the Spotlight | Mauricio Díaz

Mauricio Díaz (’12) is the Art Director of Open Road Integrated Media, a digital media company founded on “breathing life into classic works” by authors like Alice Walker, Jack Kerouac, Joan Didion, and Sherman Alexie – writers whose books were traditionally only available in print. In his position, Díaz designs covers, hires freelance artists and designers, and dreams-up creative concepts for content. Continue reading “Alumni in the Spotlight | Mauricio Díaz”

Around Town: Book and Magazine Events in NYC

around-town2Thursday, September 18th, 8pm-9pm
Symphony Space’s Peter Jay Sharpe Theatre, 155 W 65th St, New York, NY 10023
If fast-paced, competitive, humor-centric readings are up your alley, the Literary Death Match might be the perfect event for you to check out. Read more on Literary Death Matches.

Strand teams up with Symphony Space for a fantastic installment of the popular series Literary Death Match. Featured writers for this round include Joshua Ferris, Julie Klam, Nick Flynn, Rivka Galchen and Bill Scheft. Hosted by Literary Death Match creator Adrian Todd Zuniga, this event will take place at Symphony Space’s Peter Jay Sharpe Theatre… stick around after the show for a special signing with the Death Match authors!


Sunday, September 21st, 10am-6pm
Brooklyn Borough Hall and Plaze, 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Rain or shine, the show must go on! Spend the day visiting booths and enjoying the lively literary marketplace. Children and adults alike will enjoy the events of the day, from readings and discussions on a variety of topics like narration types, starting  reading groups, and cover design. But those don’t even scratch the surface of what’s available. Click here for a list of Sunday’s events.

This is an event you do not want to miss!


Monday, September 22nd, 6pm
Barnes & Noble, 97 Warren Street, New York, NY 10007.|
Author and artists Michael Cho and Charles Burns will chat with Chip Kidd about their new graphic novel, Shoplifter. Purchase book for entry. Join us!

Corrina Park used to have big plans.

Studying English literature in college, she imagined writing a successful novel and leading the idealized life of an author. But she’s been working at the same advertising agency for the past five years and the only thing she’s written is . . . copy. Corrina knows there must be more to life, but and she faces the same question as does everyone in her generation: how to find it?

Here is the brilliant debut graphic novel about a young woman’s search for happiness and self-fulfillment in the big city.


Lauren-Oliver30410865Tuesday, September 23rd, 6pm
Barnes & Noble, 97 Warren Street, New York, NY 10007.|
Author Lauren Oliver will discuss and sign her new book, Rooms. She is the bestselling author of Panic and the ‘Delirium Series.’ Purchase a copy of Rooms at Barnes & Noble Tribeca for entry.

After a number of highly acclaimed New York Times bestsellers, including the Delirium trilogy and the standalone novels Before I Fall and Panic, Lauren Oliver returns with a spellbinding tale that confirms her place as one of our finest storytellers. Fueled by the same inspired feel for plot and character that drew readers to Oliver’s earlier works, Rooms is a mesmerizing and suspenseful story of guilt, love, and family secrets.

Report from the Trenches: An Evening with the Book Industry Guild!

By Hannah Bennett

Last Tuesday, some fellow classmates and I were invited by Professor Delano to attend a Book Industry Guild of New York event entitled “What Inspires You?  Mediation on Jacket Design.”  The Book Industry Guild of New York is “a member-operated professional organization composed of professionals from every aspect of the book publishing and book manufacturing industries.”  As students and non-members, we felt a little timid as we entered the halls of Random House and took our seats for the panel, but we were instantly welcomed by the friendly people that we met on the way.

The evening consisted of three speakers, all prominent Art Directors and Jacket Designers, who came prepared with entertaining slideshows about what inspires them creatively.  The first speaker of the night was Krista Vossen, the Associate Art Director for Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.  She began by describing her path to graphic design, and then described her current work at Simon & Schuster, which involves overcoming the inherent challenges of working with middle-grade books and trying to make age-appropriate jackets that appeal to both genders.  Her description of YA jacket trends was hilarious, especially when she described how she used the “big dress trend” but “downgraded to a poofy skirt” for Poison Princess.  In the end, her inspiration was in large part the city of New York, where she said, “inspiration hits you in the face.”  However, she also emphasized the importance of clearing one’s head for true creative inspiration.

Next up was Greg Kulick, the Associate Art Director for Blue Rider Books (Penguin Group, USA).  Like Vossen, Kulick began his discussion of inspiration by taking a look at his earliest influences.  For Kulick, his early artistic influences were tied to skateboard culture and punk music. The intense graphic style of the skateboard artwork certainly had an influence on the jacket designs Kulick eventually created.  Kulick also discussed his transition to a management role and how that affected his creativity.  What inspires Kulick now?  “Giving work to other people,” was his tongue-in-cheek answer.  However, the ability to delegate has opened up Kulick to work on new projects, such as getting to produce photo shoots.  In a roundabout way, delegating truly has been a source of inspiration.

Photo Credit:

The last speaker of the night was the ever-vibrant Chip Kidd, who has garnered a certain celebrity status among jacket designers for both his inspired designs and his exuberant personality.  Kidd, who recently did a TED Talk in which he talked about some of his most famous designs, is the Associate Art Director at Alfred A. Knopf.  He looked at the subject of inspiration in several ways, discussing both his challenges, such as the crisis of redesigning a book last minute, and his successes, like the beautiful cover design of IQ84 by Haruki Murakami.  But after 25 years at Knopf, Kidd maintained that what inspires him is the text.  Another life-long inspiration for Kidd has been comics and graphic novels – as he said, he is a “professional Batman fan.”  In what was definitely the most entertaining part of the evening, Kidd discussed what it was like to write an original Batman graphic novel, entitled Batman: Death by Design.  Kidd showed pages of the graphic novel and narrated a scene from it, doing all the voices of the characters, including the Joker and the female roles.  Despite his great success as a jacket designer, it’s possible that Kidd missed his true calling of becoming a performer and comedian.

The entire evening was, for lack of a better word, inspiring.  So perhaps I should take a shot at answering the question of the evening:  ‘what inspires you?’  Well, creative people who work with books and are passionate about their jobs inspire me, as a student of publishing.  An organization that seeks to educate people about the book industry, and in doing so allows students to attend one of their excellent events, is certainly an inspiration.  And also, I’m going to have to agree with Chip Kidd and say Batman.