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Alexander McCall Smith to Speak at ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas

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Alexander McCall Smith, author of the internationally acclaimed No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, will appear as an Auditorium Speaker at the 2014 American Library Association (A.L.A.) Annual Conference in Las Vegas from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 28, 2014. The more than 100 books he has written or contributed to also include solo novels, specialist academic titles, short story collections and popular children's books.

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Books in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series have been translated into forty-five languages and sold more than 20,000,000 copies worldwide, and the Isabel Dalhousie Novels that followed immediately leapt onto bestseller lists. Pantheon Books, a division of Random House, published his newest book, a standalone novel titled The Forever Girl, this month.

Born in the self-governing British colony of Southern Rhodesia, which is now Zimbabwe, McCall Smith was educated there and in Scotland, became a law professor, and returned to Africa to work in Botswana. He was professor of medical law at the University of Edinburgh and has been a visiting professor at universities in Italy and the U.S.

McCall Smith has also served as vice-chairman of the Human Genetics Commission of the UK, the chairman of the British Medical Journal Ethics Committee and as a member of the International Bioethics Commission of UNESCO. His numerous awards include The Crime Writers’ Association’s Dagger in the Library Award, UK Author of the Year Award, Sweden’s Martin Beck Award and multiple honorary doctorates. In 2010 he was awarded the Presidential Order of Merit by the President of Botswana.

Although he has not won any awards as a musician, he will also entertain the audience with stories of The Really Terrible Orchestra that he co-founded and in which he plays the bassoon and his wife plays the horn. His appearance is sponsored by Random House.

The other Auditorium Speakers are the controversial movie star Jane Fonda, Iranian novelist Azar Nafisi, Marvel Chairman Emeritus Stan Lee, and the activist Ilyasah Shabazz (daughter of Malcolm X). Ms. Fonda will speak on Saturday, June 28th from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

As with MCCall Smith, Random House is sponsoring her appearance. The company is publishing her forthcoming book You, Your Body, Your Life, which is due out next month. According to the ALA, it "is a frank, straightforward and thorough guide to the body, sexuality, pregnancy prevention and STIs, identity, friendship, family, feelings and more. It is informed by Fonda's personal experience working in the field of adolescent sexuality and development with young people and experts at The Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential, which she founded in 1994, and Emory University's Jane Fonda Center for Adolescent Reproductive Health, which she founded in 2001, as well as two years of independent research. It addresses her conviction that young people are still not getting the information they need."

Viking is sponsoring the appearance of Ms. Nafisi, who will speak on Saturday, June 28th from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Her book Reading Lolita in Tehran has been published in thirty-two languages.

Disney Publishing Worldwide is sponsoring the appearance of Stan Lee (which is no surprise because The Walt Disney Company owns Marvel Entertainment). He will speak on Saturday, June 28th from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Ms. Shabazz, who is the daughter of Malcolm X, will speak from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 29th. Simon & Schuster is sponsoring her appearance.

The motto of the ALA Annual Conference is "Transforming Our Libraries, Ourselves." Early Bird rates are available through Monday, March 3, 2014.

The 2014 ALA Annual Conference & Exposition will features over 800 exhibiting organizations, special pavilions (including Artist Alley, the DVD Pavilion, the Gaming/Graphic Novel Pavilion, the Cookbook Pavilion, and the Government Information Pavilion), and stages for prominent authors in the Exhibit Hall. In addition to the authors and illustrators who will appear on stages and in pavilions, one can also expect that yet other authors to appear in the exhibit booths of publishing houses.

So far, 361 exhibitors have registered. General Exhibits will be open between Friday, June 27, 2014 and Monday, June 30, 2014. The majority of the conference will take place in the Las Vegas Convention Center, but there are also some sessions at various hotels, depending on the ALA unit sponsoring them.

The ALA cautions people who plan to attend the ALA Annual Conference, "Please be aware that there are companies out there that claim to provide housing and registration services for the ALA conferences that are not affiliated with ALA in any way. The chances are quite good that sometime soon you will receive a fax, e-mail transmission or phone call, if you haven't already, that offers you cut-rate housing. The author's apparent intent is to convince you that the offer is made on behalf of ALA. It is not. Many exhibitors have become the unwitting victims of these room block poachers who secure exhibitor lists from Internet Web sites and membership databases from the membership directories that associations produce."

DON'T BE MISLED! Housing for ALA's Annual Conference and Midwinter Meeting is handled exclusively by onPeak.

Everyone loves a bargain. Poaching housing blocks, however, is not about better prices - it is about highly suspect ethics and service.

When ALA secures sleeping rooms at hotels for our conferences we do so in order to assure that our attendees and exhibitors are adequately accommodated. We also need the hotels for meeting space for the numerous sessions. This involves contracting the rooms and space with many hotels, but doing so exposes us to cancellation and attrition policies. We hope you will support ALA's efforts to thwart the efforts of room block poachers when making your housing arrangements.

Note that full registration covers Thursday, June 26, 2014 through Tuesday, July 1, 2014 and all sessions except for Pre-Annual Institutes and ticketed events, while Exhibits-Only passes cover access to the exhibit floor only (Saturday through Monday).

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