Born Again BEAer

I’m so excited that BEA will be in Chicago this year! I know a lot of the NY people are miffed but you guys get it every year; let us have it for once.

You’d think Chicago would have lots of author festivals because it’s…Chicago but sadly no.    Yes, there’s Anderson’s Bookstore but that is a suburb and not even a Chicago suburb and you can’t get there easily by train like you can Chicago so I don’t count Anderson’s.

Anyway, I went to BEA in 2014 but it was only one day and I didn’t get the full experience so I don’t count that.  So I’m referring to myself as a born again BEAer.

My coworker/copodcaster Elise and I are going together. Check out our podcast all about what we are excited for.

We will be there by 8am on Friday & Saturday for the wristband line so Elise can meet Maggie but I want Ghosts by Telgemeier.  She’s basically the only graphic novelist I’ll read.

Here is my schedule!  

Dawn’s Schedule

If you are going to see any of these people, let’s meet.  I’m black and I’ll have a big braided bun on the top of my head. Or stop me in the exhibit hall and say hey!  I’m awkward too so don’t be shy.

I’m a little bummed by the author list.  It seems like YALLWest had better authors but I’ll stop complaining now.  Based on the list, there will be two authors that I’ll be able to scratch off my bucket list-Jennifer Neilsen & Amy Lukavics.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Sarah Fine, April Genevieve Tuckolke, Julie Berry,  and Jeff Zentner will show up.

Hope to see you there! 

If this is your first time in Chicago:

McCormick Place:  It’s huge and I believe it’s one of largest exhibit hall facilities in the country.

  • It’s easy by cab. Just say “McCormick Please.”
  • Just like the Javits, good luck finding an outlet.
  • Unlike the Javits, the wifi is great.
  • I’ve never had a problem with the floor. I hear the Javits has a concrete floor which is quite uncomfortable but I’ve been to many a conference at McCormick as well as other exhibit halls and my foot pain has been consistent.
  • Plenty of places to eat inside and outside the exhibit hall including Connie’s Pizza, Starbucks, and McDonalds.


  • Portillos-Looks like a little village with great burgers.
  • Garretts-It’s popcorn and it good.
  • Lou Malnati’s or Giordano’s-If you must get deep dish.
  • Eli’s or Cheesecake Factory-Cheesecake, enough said.
  • The Weiner Circle-You want the staff to tell you to go fuck yourself? Order ketchup on your hotdog.  It’s okay, getting cursed out by the staff is part of the experience.


  • Remember at the end of every Oprah Show when she said the Magnificent Mile? You can go there.
  • American Girl Store: It’s Huge!
  • Water Tower-It’s an 8-story mall.

The Sites

  • Navy Pier-It’s more than just the Ferris Wheel where they filmed Divergent.
  • Millenium Park-That’s where The Bean is.
  • The Sears Tower-Well, it’s actually called the Willis Tower now but Chicagoans still call it Sears Tower and we always will dammit!
  • Grant Park-That’s where the big fountain AKA Buckingham Fountain is.
  • Museums-Shedd Aquarium; The Museum of Science & Industry & Field Museum


Chicago is a great city & I hope you enjoy it!

Have other questions about Chicago or McCormick? Ask below.


7 thoughts on “Born Again BEAer

  1. Yay! I will be there and definetly looking foreword to meeting you!!! I’m so excited to see Chicago. New York smells. Just kidding (even though it does) I have a feeling this year will be a good one! Are you going to any of the pub events? I’ll be at flatiron & Mac happy hour! There is also a dinner on Friday night hosted by Octavia at Read, sleep , repeat if you would like to attend. The info is on her Twitter of blog. Woohoo see you in a little over a week. Can’t believe how it snuck up. I’m rambling can you tell I’m excite!
    ❤️Britt @ Please Feed The Bookworm

  2. Love your comment about the Sears Tower – I will NEVER manage to call it Willis Tower – I can almost never even remember the new name (even though it’s not very new)! See you at BEA 16! I’m linking this post up to my BEA tips & tricks (and info) page!

  3. Love your tips! I’ve never been to Chicago (I don’t count Wheaton!), and I’m excited to check it out. BEA is so much fun! I’m crossing my fingers for you that you’ll get to meet your bucket list authors. Also… I heard the crowds will be INSANE on Saturday (luck!).

    I’m tall, white, and have a brown bob haircut. If you see “Cecelia” on a badge it’s 100% me – I’ll try to look out for you too! Yay, BEA!

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