. . . was Linda Sue Park!
Linda Sue was there to promote A Long Walk to Water, her newest novel, which is actually a fictionalized retelling of the true story of one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, combined with a contemporary story of the wells (and schools - when Linda related that part, I may have cried real tears) being built in southern Sudan by Water for Sudan, the foundation formed by Salva Dut, the "lost boy" who shared his story with Linda.
The story was originally produced a bit at a time as part of the Breakfast Serials program, in which a story is serialized for publication (a la Charles Dickens's times), but it is now available as a gorgeous book from Clarion. (Confession: I bought one copy for myself and three more to give as Christmas gifts). I haven't read the book yet, but I am completely FOR SERIOUS about the beauty of this book - nice trim size, gorgeous cover, printed in two different fonts and two different text colors - brown for the contemporary girl, Nya, and black for Salva's story.
It was lovely to see Linda Sue again and a privilege to be able to purchase this beautiful book.
And if you're wondering about the current political situation in Sudan, you should know that the Southern part of Sudan is going to vote in January, 2011 on whether they want to be independent (they do), and the Northern part, which includes the government, is going to declare it invalid. Another war is likely. If you'd like the U.S. government to get involved, you can do what I did and sign the online petition at Sudan Now in hopes that we can help to stop further violence in that country.