Event Recap: #RandyRibayinPH

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I don’t think I’ll ever have the words to fully describe just how much I enjoyed my time as one of the people hosting Randy Ribay’s book launch for Patron Saints of Nothing last Sunday. Being able to work closely with the author, the publisher, and the whole Bookworms Unite PH team is hands down one of the highlights of my 2019 so far, and even though I’m not sure if I’ll do the experience justice, I would certainly like to try. So! Without further ado, let’s get this recap started!

Just so y’all could get a glimpse as to how the day went, here’s our official program schedule:

01:00pm – 02:00pm Registration
02:00pm – 02:05pm Welcome Remarks
02:05pm – 02:45pm In Conversation with Randy Ribay
02:45pm – 03:10pm Q&A with the Audience
03:10pm – 03:30pm YA Reverse Charades
03:30pm – 04:30pm Book Signing

Our call time was at 11:00am to give us ample time to prepare. My good friend Miel (Bookish and Awesome / @mielsnickety) was the first one there and when I arrived, he was already very well settled—drinking a tumbler of juice, writing down reading recommendations for Pride month, and taking bookish pictures for his well-curated bookstagram. I was tasked with gathering sponsors and giveaway items and so I brought these boxes filled with books and goodies sent to us by our ever-supportive friends from Penguin Random House International. (There were ARCs of Gumiho: Wicked Fox, y’all!!!) As planned, we started doing the initial preparations so as to make sure that the event will start on time. Inah (The Bibliophile Confessions) arrived a few minutes later with the finished copies of Patron Saints of Nothing we ordered from Fully Booked and BOY, WERE THEY GORGEOUS! (I’m personally delighted with my hardcover copy, but daaaamn, even the paperback looks hella fine too!) Salve (Cuckoo For Books) was the one who picked up Randy and his wife, Kathryn, from the Airport, and since it was a mellow Sunday afternoon, they arrived in Tweedle in no time. People started arriving a little after 12 noon, and we tried to pick up the pace on preparations. We didn’t want to delay the event seeing that the venue will be catering to a different event by 7:00 in the evening.

Since the venue can only house a maximum of 50 people, our registration area was placed right outside the main floor. Right next to that, we curated a small “shelf space” dedicated to LGBTQ+ books in celebration of Pride month! (I, personally, wrote reading recommendations for WHAT IF IT’S US and CHECK, PLEASE! BOOK 1: #HOCKEY!)

The place was nearly packed come 2:00pm, and so we started the program as scheduled. After a brief introduction, and welcome remarks from Miel, we quickly jumped onto the discussion. Our very own Salve moderated the talk and she absolutely did a tremendous job in interviewing Randy. (We’re so proud, can’t you tell?) The Bookworms Unite PH team came up with the questions, and the way Randy answered all of ’em made us realize just how personal this story really is to him—and to us, as Filipino readers—and I really, really enjoyed every second of it. He was insightful, and very articulate, and even though he only had less than a few hours to prepare for our questions, it was as if he’s been preparing for it for years. I’m not gonna lie, it’s the first author discussion that I greatly appreciated after a long while, and I’m sure I won’t be forgetting the experience any time soon.

Since games and everyone’s competitiveness both make up a Bookworms Unite event, of course we had to host a game before the signing. We gathered four teams with four members—yes, Randy, Kathryn, and two children from their family included—and we had them play two rounds of Reverse Charades: YA Edition. (Basically like the original game but instead of just one person acting the thing out, all the remaining members will act, and only one team member will guess.)

In this game, we learned the following:

  1. Randy’s not good at guessing.
  2. Gumiho: Wicked Fox is an EXCITING (!!!) young adult title—one that’s already been out for quite a few days once this post is published.
  3. It’s not a wide known fact, but a lot of people are familiar with Handbook for Mortals, also known as The #1 New York Times Bestseller… for just a few hours.
  4. The Sun Is Also A Star is an easy title to guess.

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The signing proper came right after the game. And that’s when the real fun, at least for everyone, started, at least from my perspective. All of the people who came to Randy to ask him to sign their books and ask for selfies and pictures all went home with such huge smiles on their faces. I love seeing everyone just gush and celebrate the release of Patron Saints of Nothing, and to see the book and the author welcomed with such wide arms meant a great deal to me as part of the Bookworms Unite team. To see everyone so joyous and enthusiastic about this event, specifically, felt validating, and everyone’s support for things like this is the main reason why we keep hosting events.

When it was my turn to have my copy of Patron Saints of Nothing signed by Randy, I talked to him a little about how we sincerely wanted to accommodate a bigger audience but was held back due to the restraints we had in terms of the venue. He said that he actually preferred being held in a small, packed space, rather than a big, semi-empty one and so it’s all good. He’s very approachable, and sensitive to other people’s thoughts and feelings, and that’s one of the many notable qualities he possesses that I absolutely adore about him. I swear, y’all, he’s so nice! I wish y’all were there to witness everything.

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Before officially ending the program, of course we had a major raffle prizes to give away (what kind of BU event would this be without a giveaway???) These four lucky readers went home with a signed copy of Patron Saints of Nothing AND a bunch of goodies from Penguin Random House International! They received a PRH tote bag, bookmark, pin, an ARC of Gumiho: Wicked Fox, and a signed bookplate! I mean, how awesome is that? (Inah, check it out, it’s Gumiho!!!)

Now, for the photo dump! Since I took quite a lot of pictures and have little to no context in adding them to my recap, I’ll just add everything here:

Now for the thanks!

  1. Thank you so much to Randy Ribay for wanting us to host his PH launch for Patron Saints of Nothing. It means a lot to me and the Bookworms Unite PH team to know that you trust us enough to spread the word about you and your book, and we’re so looking forward to hosting you again hopefully in the near future.
  2. Thank you to Randy’s wife, Kathryn, and the entire Ribay family for gracing our event with their presence. Kathryn, we only spoke for a few minutes during the event, but please know that I really enjoyed getting to know you and how Randy’s like whenever he cooks.
  3. Thank you to Tweedle Book Cafe for once again housing us on such short notice and for being patient with us, especially during the event itself. By now, I, personally, feel like you know us as the bookworms who bring in so many boxes and end up filling your garbage bins with said boxes by the end of the day. We’re sorry for the raucous and we look forward to hosting another BU event there. (PS, would you ever consider expanding your cafe? Asking for a friend…)
  4. Thank you to Fully Booked for providing the finished copies of Patron Saints of Nothing! I’m in love with the overall feel of the hardcover copy and I look forward to seeing it on your shelves. (I’ll also be dropping by several branches to hand out bookplates, so there’s that!)
  5. Thank you to Penguin Random House International for, as usual, enabling us to host another Bookworms Unite PH event. Thank you for providing us with books and ARCs that we give away as prizes and I think it’s more than okay to say that our events would not be as exciting and much anticipated without all of your support and generosity. Thank you for always being there for us for these kinds of things. And to Ms. Honey de Peralta, thank you for pushing us to do this. For your guidance and patience and for coordinating every single detail about the launch to us. We enjoyed working with you, as we always do, and we look forward to being given the chance again in the future.
  6. And most importantly, thank you to everyone who came! We only had a week to announce and to gather payments from everyone and so to see that many people interested made us feel like you’ll always have our backs. Thank you for your enthusiasm, and for feeding your hunger for books with us and our shenanigans. We look forward to seeing you all again at the next event!

And before you go, be sure to check out these other event recaps posted by our attendees:

  1. Myta @ Oro Plata Myta – Blog recap
  2. Kate @ Your Tita Kate – Vlog

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Were YOU at the #RandyRibayinPH event? How was it for you? Let me know how the event was for you by leaving a comment down below. And also, if you haven’t had the chance to read Patron Saints of Nothing yet, then rectify that immediately and check out this post to read my review.

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Until the next one!

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