It is always especially pleasurable to meet up with blogging friends old and new. It always amazes me that we all get on as if we’ve known each other for ages, well, we have – online, but physically we don’t meet that often. A quick namecheck to Sakura, Kim, Hayley, Simon S, Simon T, David, Polly @Novel_Insights and finally, it was lovely to meet Rachel aka @flossieteacake.
We were treated to readings from eight authors who have books out now or soon, a heady mixture of seasoned writers to debut novellists. I can honestly say that I would like to read all of the books showcased. We heard from:
Mohsin Hamid – How To Get Filthy Rich In Rising Asia A life’s story in the guise of a self-help book. Witty and gritty.
Alicia Foster – Warpaint. Not about make-up! Rather a group of women war artists during WWII. Fits in perfectly with my current reading trend to 1930s/WWII books. Lovely cover to this book too.
Rhidian Brook - The Aftermath – An emotional thriller set in post-war occupied Germany. Apprently Ridley Scott has optioned this book. (published in May).
Catherine O’Flynn - Mr Lynch’s Holiday – To be published this autumn. A drama of father v son in an ex-pat community in Spain. Sounds like another gritty read. Catherine herself was lovely – she volunteers at her local Oxfam shop once a week, and finds her own TBR piles growing since she started working there.
Bernardine Evaristo – Mr Loverman – To be published later this summer. Bernardine read an hilarious passage about two older Caribbean gentlemen bickering – but I suspect there is a much more serious side to this novel about old people in this community.
James Robertson – The Professor of Truth – To be published this autumn. Robertson prefaced his reading saying wryly – “All you need to know is there’s been a plane crash.” We were straight into the aftermath of a plane being bombed over Scotland (Dunblane?), and a professor is searching for his wife and daughter at the hospital. Some years ago I really enjoyed Robertson’s book The Testament of Gideon Mack, so look forward to this one, although it will be hard to read given the subject matter.
Joanna Rossiter - The Sea Change – A debut novel with a dual narrative. A daughter is caught in a tsunami in India in the 1970s, and her mother after WWII who had had to abandon her home in Dorset. Joanna read of the girl’s panic on seeing the tsunami and not knowing where her new husband was. (pub in May).
Jonathan Coe – Expo 58 – An unassuming civil servant is sent to Brussels to the World’s Fair to keep an eye on things. Coe read us an hilarious excerpt involving an exhibit about the history of the toilet. Being a huge fan of his books, I managed to get a fangirl moment, and got him to sign an ARC for me. When I asked if the book was a full-on comedy, he assured me that despite the funny bit he read, it had plenty of melancholy as well. I can’t wait to read this novel, but it won’t be published until autumn. (Sorry about my poor picture.)
It was a lovely evening, with the added bonus of getting a bagful of books to take home (thank you).