BOOKCON Announces Special All-Star Kickoff Event

Special Event to feature Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, director Shawn Levy, and writer Jonathan Tropper

Panel Discussion and Sneak Peek of Upcoming Feature Film Release “This Is Where I Leave You” on Friday, May 30 Sets the Stage for Highly Anticipated Consumer Book Event

Hot on the heels of its recent announcement of BookCon, a one-of-a-kind interactive consumer book event, ReedPOP, the world’s largest producer of pop culture events, announces a star-studded kickoff celebration to usher in the show.  Exemplifying the show’s mission of giving fans an experience where books and pop culture collide, ReedPOP will host a special panel and sneak peek of the upcoming film adaptation of Jonathan Tropper’s bestselling book This Is Where I Leave You. The panel discussion will feature two of the stars of the film, Jason Bateman and Tina Fey, along with director Shawn Levy, and Tropper, who also wrote the screenplay, based on his novel. It will be followed by an exclusive Happy Hour to celebrate the debut of BookCon which will feature access to a number of top authors, giving fans the ultimate interactive experience.  The limited access BookCon kickoff event will happen on the eve of BookCon on May 30 at the Special Events Hall in the Javits Center.

The all-star BookCon kickoff event was created as a window into the type of events that BookCon will offer attendees.  The day-long event is crafted for creative-minded, passionate book fans in the publishing capital of the world.  Every aspect of the show is thoughtfully designed to appeal to the modern-day book lover with an appreciation for broader pop-culture and where these worlds intersect. By bridging the world of film and literature, the panel is a prime example of the mission for this consumer event and will usher in more exciting events and panels soon to be announced.

The hour-long panel, moderated by Entertainment Weekly’s Anthony Breznican, will start at 4:00 p.m. A limited number of tickets for the BookCon kickoff event will be available for all those who purchase BookCon and BEA tickets for an additional $10. ReedPOP will also offer tickets as part of a VIP package that will include special artwork, a signed copy of This Is Where I Leave You, First Access to seating, access to BookCon on Saturday, and more.

“This is exactly the type of event that embodies what BookCon is all about and sets the tone in a truly impactful way,” said ReedPOP’s Global Senior Vice President, Lance Fensterman.  “This is our way of celebrating the debut of BookCon and giving fans a unique experience that will carry into the following day.”

Announcement of the kickoff event follows ReedPOP’s recent news of BookCon and its lineup of feature headliners including Amy Poehler, Martin Short, John Grisham, R.L. Stine, Stan Lee, Cary Elwes, Cassandra Clare, and Maggie Stiefvater.

Jonathan Tropper says: “This Is Where I Leave You was launched at BEA five years ago, so returning now to introduce the movie for the first time is a fitting and deeply satisfying way to celebrate the adaptation.”

Additional exciting details about BookCon exhibitors, talent, and sponsors will be revealed in the coming weeks. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit or BookCon’s social media pages (FacebookTwitter & Instagram).


The dramatic comedy This is Where I Leave You is directed by Shawn Levy, and based on the hilarious and poignant bestselling novel by Tropper.  It features a starring ensemble cast including Golden Globe winner Jason Bateman (Arrested Development); Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner Tina Fey (30 Rock); and two-time Oscar winner, multiple Golden Globe honoree and 2013 Emmy Award nominee Jane Fonda (Klute, Coming Home, HBO’s The Newsroom).

When their father passes away, four grown siblings, bruised and banged up by their respective adult lives, are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof together for a week, along with their over-sharing mother and an assortment of spouses, exes and might-have-beens.  Confronting their history and the frayed states of their relationships among the people who know and love them best, they ultimately reconnect in hysterical and emotionally affecting ways amid the chaos, humor, heartache and redemption that only families can provide—driving us insane even as they remind us of our truest, and often best, selves.

Shawn Levy, who helmed the blockbuster Night at the Museum films, as well as Date Night and Real Steel, directs from a screenplay by Jonathan Tropper.

The film also stars Adam Driver (HBO’s Girls), Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids, X-Men: First Class), Corey Stoll (House of Cards, Midnight in Paris), Kathryn Hahn (NBC’s Parks and Recreation).

This is Where I Leave You is produced by Paula Weinstein (The Perfect Storm, HBO’s Recount) Shawn Levy, and Jeffrey Levine (The Family Man).  Mary McLaglen (Real Steel, The Proposal) and Jonathan Tropper serve as executive producers.  The creative filmmaking team includes director of photography Terry Stacey (Safe Haven, 50/50), production designer Ford Wheeler (Rachel Getting Married), editor Dean Zimmerman (Real Steel) and costume designer Susan Lyall (RED).   The music is by Oscar-winning composer Michael Giacchino (“Up”).

Warner Bros. Pictures presents a Spring Creek Production, a 21 Laps Production, a Shawn Levy Film: This is Where I Leave You, opening September 12.  It will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment company

Writing and Book Expo America

By Kendra Saunders


It’s afternoon, the beginning of June and I’m sitting outside of Starbucks in Concord, New Hampshire. This Starbucks holds special meaning, from the friendly staff to the two electric plugs that all of the laptop-happy-customers fight over. It’s very windy today and a Ben Kingsley lookalike sits in the parking lot watching me and blasting a news program from the windows of his Jeep. It’s surreal to be here, in a place that has been my home for so long, in the place where I wrote Death and Mr. Right, after visiting the gray and grime tinged rush of New York City.

I don’t belong here.

Last year, I pitched a novel to Kate Kaynak in New York City, as we carpooled back to New Hampshire together. It was my first time in America’s best city and I was overwhelmed with exhaustion, inspiration and lyrics from Interpol songs. Death and Mr. Right had a title and it had already been written as a short story. The premise: the agent of nightmares falls in love, loses his job and is exiled into the modern world. Kate loved the idea and asked me to write it and submit it to her. I returned home, my head buzzing, and wrote Death and Mr. Right in only a few months. I edited it and put the finishing touches on it Halloween 2012. The next morning I began writing The Unlove Spell, a novel I’d been kicking around my head for weeks.

Death and Mr. Right was accepted by Spence City in late 2012 and I wrote The Unlove Spell in a few brief, joyous months. Both books were comedies, full of light and dark, in-jokes, colorful characters and tributes to my friends, muses and heroes. They were the easiest books I’d ever written. Both were also surprisingly personal – much of Death’s backstory was linked to my own youthful neuroses, brought to life through the safety of humor. Viktor’s struggles to balance a demanding family member with responsibility and his own dreams of being a writer reflected my own familial troubles as an eldest child with a difficult relationship with a cruel parental figure. But both were full of bliss, a cathartic experience, a creative binge that left me worn out in the best possible way and glowing afterward.

When my publisher said we would have review copies of D&MR to sign at Book Expo America, I planned my whole year around the trip, reserving a room at the Jane Hotel as much for its special meaning to my best friend (her favorite building in the city) as for the inexpensive price.

All of my books are written like movies, with a complete cast of muses. The Unlove Spell had been inspired by Clemence Poesy as my impulsive witch, Marling, Lana Del Rey as my crazy fae queen (perfect, right?) and Dmitry Sholokhov as the honorable, rock star writer who is also hiding a huge secret – he doesn’t write about magical beings. He IS one.

I met Dmitry at his Lord & Taylor event to launch his capsule dress collection and told him how much he’d inspired me, both because he’d worked so hard to get where he was (a kick for me to get moving!) and as a muse for Viktor. Fast forward to May and Dmitry was gracious enough to take time out of his busy schedule to drop by the Javits Center for a bit, as my guest.

Kendra Saunders and Charles Day at BEA. More pictures can be found here,

BEA seemed busier this year than the year before, but as I sashayed my way through the Javits in my gorgeous Sholokhov dress and six-inch heels, I noticed a more subdued attitude in the crowd. There weren’t nearly as many free books and from what I could tell, the biggest draw of Friday would be Grumpy Cat.

My signing took place between 12:30 and 1:30, deep inside the air-conditioned safety of the Javits. Handing my book to bloggers, librarians and reviewers was absolutely enchanting and nerve-wracking, in the right portions. One gentleman caught sight of it as he walked by, wandered over to investigate and ultimately asked for a copy. I guzzled two water bottles to suppress nerves, and received a steady stream of compliments on my dress, shoes and book cover.

Books and fashion? Win-win!

Dmitry arrived at the end of my signing and I handed him a special unbound copy of The Unlove Spell’s unedited manuscript, told him all about Viktor and then posed for pictures. Though it was a blur, I do remember looking out and seeing a line of ten? fifteen? digital cameras, professional cameras, cell phones and a pink iPad. It was crazy.

After wandering a bit, laughing about Grumpy Cat’s impending appearance and signing some silly messages in Dmitry’s copy of my books, we said our goodbyes and headed out into the blistering afternoon. All I could think of, over and over, was The Great Gatsby. My friend Megan and my sister hopped into a cab with me and we escaped to Greenwich Village, intending to hide out in the cool of our hotel, just as the protagonists of Gatsby had. I’d only taken a few steps away from the cab when my shoe broke.

I took this as a good omen. I’d traveled to the big city, brought along some dear friends, been aided by several fairy godmothers (complete with lip balm, tissues, and bottles of water!)

Death and Mr. Right lives in the hands of bloggers, reviewers, librarians, teachers, a few authors, a lovely young woman who travelled from Maryland to meet me and Dmitry. Between now and October 1, I will have interviews and promotional events to keep me busy, but June in New Hampshire might as well be the dark side of the moon in most respects. I’m ready to hear what everyone thinks of little blue haired Death and his misadventures, ready to unleash The Unlove Spell on the world, and I’m dying to return to New York City.

If the broken shoe is any sign of the future, I should be headed back that way soon, ready to begin a new volume in the book of life.

About the Author:

Kendra L. Saunders is the author of the urban fantasy Inanimate Objects, short story collection Overlapping Visions and the upcoming dark comedy Death and Mr. Right (Spence City, 10/13).

She’s conducted interviews with Jennifer L.  Armentrout, Aurelio Voltaire, Dmitry Sholokhov, Fabio Costa and many  others for ipmNation, Steampunk Magazine and The New England Horror  Writers. She’s one cat allergy away from a stereotypical writer. Find  her at or on twitter @kendrybird where she loves to answer writing questions, talk about music and fashion and share insider tips about the publishing industry.