For us, the month of March is almost synonymous with conference season and our annual trip to the US to exhibit at the AAAL and TESOL conferences. This year was no different, so after our trip to Toronto (which you can read all about here), Tommi and I headed south to Dallas.
In true Texan style, everything seemed big, including our space in the exhibit hall which made our tables and books seem miniature, and it was hard to work out how best to organise our stand. Fortunately, Tommi had great visions and so we set up our stand in a triangular shape, which Tommi dubbed as “the cutting edge”! As usual, we had brought all our new titles and some of our more recent and popular books from our long backlist. The bestsellers at AAAL this year were Language and Mobility by Alastair Pennycook, Kimie Takahashi’s Language Learning, Gender and Desire and Native-Speakerism in Japan edited by Stephanie Houghton and Damian J. Rivers.
The back-to-back scheduling of AAAL and TESOL is very convenient for us as it involves less travel and we find it easy to transfer materials between the two venues. This year we were lucky to have a morning off between the end of AAAL and set up for TESOL so Tommi and I spent the free time visiting the JFK museum which we thought was very well done and really interesting. Then it was straight on to the bustle of TESOL! The TESOL audience can be a bit wider and different to the AAAL one, so we alter our books on display accordingly. Popular titles there included Integrating Multilingual Students into College Classrooms by Johnnie Johnson Hafernik and Fredel M. Wiant and Roger Barnard and Anne Burn’s edited volume Researching Language Teacher Cognition and Practice.
Our evenings in Texas were spent enjoying steaks and Tex Mex, as well as the good company of colleagues we rarely see. We met with Suzanne and John Edwards, who have known Multilingual Matters since our early days, John being the series editor of our original book series; Aneta Pavlenko, who is keen to work closely with publishers at next year’s AAAL, which she is presiding over; and Terry Wiley and Susan Gilson from CAL, who we are working with on an exciting new series of books. We were also able to join the contributors to Zoltán Dörnyei, Peter MacIntyre and Alastair Henry’s forthcoming book for a drink and catch up with many more delegates at the AAAL opening reception.
What with all those arrangements, it’s a wonder that Tommi and I also found time to go to the Cowtown Coliseum rodeo show in Fort Worth and join the other publishers to see the Dallas Stars take on the Calgary Flames in an ice hockey match. If you’re ever in Dallas, we highly recommend both of those trips for a good evening of entertainment!