The sun came out yesterday for an evening get-together at Clapham Books and folk drank wine in the garden, listened to a story from ‘The Village; A Year in Twelve Tales’ and talked about literature and books. Many thanks to all of you who came along, at this, the height of the holiday season.
Ed, of the bookshop, was hospitality itself and there had been lots of pre-publicity, helped along by Radio Wandsworth. There were questions aplenty, about ‘The Village’, but also about writing and publishing in general. And, given the presence of other writers, it wasn’t just me answering them. Writers who were there yesterday were Elizabeth Buchan ( chair of last year’s Costa Prize panel, her fourteenth novel ‘I Can’t Begin to Tell You’ has just been published by Penguin ), Stuart Wakefield ( author of The Orcadian Trilogy, the first of which was short-listed for the Polari First Book prize and a No.1 Amazon bestseller ), John Taylor ( ‘Departing Vienna’ by Forbitou Books ) and Barbara Pidgeon ( ‘Shakti Manifest’ ).
In preparation for my first ‘reading’, I had listened to Elizabeth Bergstone reading ‘Not Even Waving’, the story which I chose to read yesterday, which she had recorded for the audiobook version. So I was at least able to import some ‘life’ into the reading, and actively compete with the jet planes and, for a few minutes, a helicopter, which conspired, unsuccessfully, to de-rail me. People were kind enough afterwards to say that they had enjoyed the reading, so, I guess, it was fine. As was the evening, many folk said what a pleasant time they had had.
Thank you to Ed, Roy and Nikki of Clapham Books, who run this series of evening events, supporting local writers and the life of letters generally. I learned last night that the shop may feature in a forthcoming BBC production of Julian Barnes’ ‘The Sense of an Ending’, if so, it will be just reward, by way of publicity and recognition, for all the good which they do as an independent, local book shop.