At the end of March Tommi and I attended the annual AAAL (American Association for Applied Linguistics) conference in Chicago. AAAL is one of our most important conferences as a large proportion of our authors, editors and customers attend. So for me, as a newcomer to the world of linguistics and publishing, I felt really lucky to have the opportunity to go and meet everyone.
Our programme for the week was packed and didn’t leave much time for getting to know Chicago: we had the Multilingual Matters reception; the book launch for our new book celebrating Nancy Hornberger’s 60th birthday; dinner with fellow independent publisher John Benjamins and of course, we had to be up early to man our stand from 8am! The busy conference gave Tommi the opportunity to catch up with many familiar contacts and meant that I was able to meet many people for the first time. As a small publisher we all work with each of the titles and authors at some point along the chain and it’s great for me to now associate more than just an email address with a fair proportion of the books on the shelves behind my desk.
As we have entered a Channel View team for the Bristol 10k run in May, I did have to make time to do some exercise and decided that going for a run would enable me to see more of Chicago than the conference hotel. While running I was struck by how different Chicago is to New Orleans (the only other American city I’ve ever visited). Since I’ve been back many people have asked me which I prefer and, like when people ask me which of the languages I speak I prefer, I find I can’t reply as they are just incomparable. Both cities had a real buzz about them, but the buzzes were different, and I can’t quite put my finger on what makes them both so individual.