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Catching Up Part 1

My poor old blog has been neglected lately. I’ve been horribly busy and struggling to keep on top of things, but now the house has been excavated from under tons of dust I can look about me and reflect on what I’ve been doing. Or, more accurately, who I’ve been seeing – and I’ve been very busy indeed seeing other writers! So, as I can’t write about every event in great detail I shall recall one memorable moment from each. Here’s Part 1; Part 2 to follow!

Howard Jacobson, Topping & Co Bookstore, Bath, 13 September – the author pre-Booker prize making us laugh in Topping’s much-loved (by me) book store. Memorable moment: Jacobson suggests that all novels should be comic novels.

Martin Jarvis, Cheltenham, 10 October – a reading of two Jeeves and Wooster stories under the gaze of the angels of the Everyman Theatre. Memorable moment: listening to his “out takes” as he read the same sentence two or three times to satisfy his Radio 4 producer, each time with a slightly different inflection, and realising what a jolly skilled reader the blathering blighter is.

Stephen Fry, The Forum, Bath, 15 October – an event organised by Toppings in the fabulous art deco former cinema. Fry and the building matched one another perfectly: stylish, classy, and bordering on national treasure status. Memorable moment: Stephen telling us how he fell in love with words when he was ten, watching a film version of The Important of Being Earnest and hearing “you are the visible personification of absolute perfection”. Well who wouldn’t fall in love with that?

Maria McCann, The Mechanics Institute, Manchester 16 October – the event was Pages Ago: Historical Readers’ Day, part of the Manchester Literature Festival, and a taster for the Historical Novel Society Conference at the same venue the following day. Memorable moment: Maria told us she still has a day job and writes on her days at home.

Andrew Martin, The Mechanics Institute, Manchester 16 October – still in Pages Ago, Andrew talked about how to create atmosphere in historical fiction. An intelligent speaker who’d prepared his material and talked to the point, with a great many interesting things to say about creating atmosphere using nature, weather, and darkness. Memorable moment: Andrew telling us “I like the crepuscular mode”. Crepuscular: one of my favourite words.

Howard Jacobson on how all novels should be comic -

Martin Jarvis on reading Jeeves and Wooster in 2007 -

The Forum, Bath -

Topping & Company Books -

More on Andrew Martin -


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