Working route & schedule from Chicago to San Francisco
September 13 through October 13, 2009
Schedule is subject to change.
July 12: Launch at ALA Annual conference, McCormick Place, Chicago
September 13 and 14: Preparation days in Chicago
Mill Valley, California to San Francisco, California. The dramatic arrival at the terminus of the Lincoln Highway and Lit Quake via the Golden Gate Bridge.
“Behind the Wheel of a Bookmobile” is a quixotic journey that will honor the place books have in our national consciousness. Authors Peter Laufer and Tom Corwin conceived this project.
It began with the whimsical idea of buying a vintage bookmobile, stocking it with donated books from publishers, and driving it cross-country through small towns, with well-known authors taking turns at the wheel. At each stop Corwin and Laufer hand out one book in exchange for an interview on the journey's thematic question - "Tell me about one book that has changed your life and how." A documentary film crew captures the stories.
In the few weeks since hatching the idea, the project has received the hearty support of the Association of American Publishers as well as the American Library Association - and a deal has been made to purchase a beautiful bookmobile (capacity: 3,200 volumes, see below) in Chicago. National Geographic has agreed to feature the journey in National Geographic Traveler Magazine and The Kitchen Sisters have expressed their desire to audiotape interviews along the way with both authors and regular Joes and Janes about what books have meant in their lives for NPR.
Laufer and Corwin have buy-in from a growing list of amazing authors excited to support the project and in most cases, take a shift behind the wheel of the bookmobile: including Pulitzer Prize-winners Lawrence Wright, Michael Chabon and Junot Diaz, as well as bestselling authors Tobias Wolff, Annie Lamott, Daniel Handler, Ayelet Waldman, Peter Coyote, Robert Anderson, Dave Eggers, Paul Hawkin, Vendela Vida, Scott Simon, Tamim Ansari, Amy Tan, Andrew Sean Greer, and Michael Pollan – with more joining the trip day by day.
The journey is planned to begin in September, following the Lincoln Highway, America’s first cross country roadway and concluding in mid-October in San Francisco at Litquake, (San Francisco’s leading literary festival) where our bookmobile will be a float at the concluding “lit crawl,” cruising up and down Valencia Street, loaded with authors.
An ongoing literacy education and outreach program will also be designed around “Behind the Wheel of a Bookmobile’s” continued travels. As it tours coast to coast, the programs reach will be extended with a video travel blog, interviews and web-isodes distributed to schools, teachers and classrooms across the nation through our affiliations with the American Library Association and the American Association of Publishers existing school outreach programs.
About the Authors
Tom Corwin is an author, musician, and music producer. His credits include work with artists such as Bonnie Raitt, Patti Labelle, Booker T., and Stevie Wonder. Tom is the author of the bestselling book Mostly Bob (New World Library) and Mr Fooster: Traveling on a Whim, (Doubleday). In addition, he served as consulting producer on Emile Norman: By His Own Design which was broadcast nationally on PBS.
Journalist and broadcaster Peter Laufer is the author of more than a dozen books dealing with social and political issues worldwide; his latest book The Dangerous World of Butterflies (The Lyons Press). He co-produced the documentary films Exodus to Berlin and Garbage. Among his credits as a globetrotting correspondent for NBC News was the George Polk Award for his study of Americans in prisons overseas.