Next Wednesday (November 30th) is the launch day for my book – and it would be lovely if you could come along to help me celebrate at a special reading in Sheffield. The event is being held in Blackwell‘s, next to the university where I did my MA, so if you’re in the area it would be lovely to see you. I will be reading a story from the collection but, if that isn’t enough to tempt you, then there will be cupcakes and wine too. If you can’t make the launch though the book is available to buy here and here.
* Wednesday, November 30th, 6.15pm, Blackwell’s, Sheffield Hallam University, 1 Howard Street, Sheffield, S1 2LW. Admission free.
These were, of course, the words uttered by Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong after the Eagle lunar module landed on the moon during that first manned mission in July 1969. And while my own little ‘landed eagle’ is not as momentous a global event as that, to me it is pretty momentous – my book ‘Somewhere Else, or Even Here’ has landed in the offices of my publisher, Salt. I am now a published author.
Being published – having my own, actual book in print – is a dream I’ve held for a long time. Often, I didn’t think it would ever happen for me. I always hoped it would. And, happily, the day has finally arrived when it has. The dream has become a reality, thanks to Jen and Chris Hamilton-Emery of Salt. So, even though there won’t be people lining the streets, waving flags, or any monuments built in my honour this is still a big day for me. A small step and a giant leap all rolled into one. There are still the footprints of astronauts up on the moon – thirty years or so after they were first left there. I can only hope my own book leaves its mark on the world in its own small way – its own little footprint, which will hopefully still be there in years to come.
A couple of weeks ago I went along to the launch party for Vanessa Gebbie‘s novel ‘The Coward’s Tale‘. This exciting event was held in London – in the beautiful Daunt Books in Marylebone High Street – and was organised by Vanessa’s new publishers, Bloomsbury.
There were lots of guests there – all willing to raise a glass or two to Vanessa – including Maggie Gee and her husband Nick Rankin, David Gaffney, Tania Hershman, Elizabeth Baines, Adam Marek and fellow Scott Prize winner Jonathan Pinnock. (I actually saw regular New Yorker contributor Tessa Hadley in the street beforehand and wondered if she might be there but she wasn’t.)
Vanessa’s agent Euan Thorneycroft was also there, as was her editor Helen Garnons-Williams, who gave a lovely speech during the event saying that she loves the novel so much that if she starts reading it, she gets lost in it and forgets to get on with her other work. Then Vanessa spoke to say thanks to numerous people who helped during the course of writing the book including Maggie Gee, her agent and family. Here are a couple of hastily snatched photos from her speech:
When you’re writing you are, on the whole, not thinking about what will happen when your writing goes out into the world on its own. You’re thinking about which words cosy up nicely to other words, which words have become difficult house guests and need to be shown the door. You’re thinking about whether the story works or if that metaphor is a bit over the top. You’re thinking about the next cup of tea and whether it’s acceptable to have yet another handful of biscuits to go with it. What you are not always thinking about is people you have never met reading your book.
And this is where I am.
In the next few days my book is being printed. And, if I’m lucky, people I’ve met and people I’ve never met will read it. Exciting? Yes. Frightening? Yes, a little. Anxiety-inducing? Most definitely.