So How Are You Connected to the Author?

Have you ever turned up and just known you have over-sold yourself to get there? Moz does.


Person: So how are you connected with the author?

Damn, I hadn’t actually prepared for that question. In fact, I hadn’t given much thought to the fact that people would ask about me at the book launch of Alan Hollinghurst: Writing Under the Influence. Thus I spent the first twenty minutes (read: first glass of wine) feeling quite the fraud: A supposed book blogger at the launch of a book about an author I’d never so much as heard of. Journalistic integrity, catholic guilt, and that glass of wine obliged me to profess my ignorance to anyone who happened to drift onto the subject. To my utter shame.

Thankfully, my partner came to the rescue by having actually read at least one of Hollinghust’s works and being able to discuss it with those who asked. As you can see in the featured image we were at a book launch of an academic review of Alan Hollinghurst’s work thus far, which I’m genuinely shocked I haven’t read as is he an incredibly acclaimed author worldwide, having once been compared to Oscar Wilde (and indeed outmatching Wilde in a review by Nicholson Baker for the London Review of Books).


The launch was held in the intimate setting of Gay’s the Word (previously mentioned here) where there was a warm welcome and a glass (or two) of wine for everyone, including this interloper. We moved ourselves toward the back of the shop where there seemed to be an opening in the crowd and found ourselves not only next to the soapbox for the introductions but also in conversation with one of the contributors to the book being launched. By the way, I hear chapter six is among the most interesting in Writing Under the Influence.

img-20161009-wa0000.jpgThe editors, Michelle Mendelssohn and Dennis Flannery, spoke eloquently yet briefly about how they had come by the idea for writing this book on the work of Hollinghurst. I believe there was come serendipitous cliff-side yoga poses and a whole lot of magic. Then the man himself took to the stage, or rather the mic, to say a word of thanks for the honour of the praise they have offered. Hollinghurst was modest and charming in his short speech but also while mingling with those at the launch even agreeing to sign a copy of his book for his newest fan. Although some cheeky fan did grab him right as he was about to leave and ask for an autograph and a photo (see left) to which he had a witty retort but agreed to with a smile nonetheless.

The venue lent itself to the occasion with ease. Being the number one place for Lesbian and Gay literature of all varieties, there was a distinct atmosphere of inclusion allowing even the uninitiated a chance to mingle with the aspiring writers and big fans alike. Jim, the owner of Gay’s the Word poured wine and sold books, all the while laughing and joking with his customers. Dennis and Michelle, the editors, rubbed shoulders, told jokes and made everyone they spoke to laugh with advice for how to best utilise signed copies of Writing Under the Influence. In all, I was delighted to have been there to meet Alan Hollinghurst et al. and have set about finding his novels (of which, a list can be found here). Let’s hope I’ll be asked back for another launch when his next novel emerges next summer.


Literature and Liquor: A Lively Saturday Night

Thinking of swooning into some Mills and Boon? Or guilty pleasure reading one of the endless ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ clones? Then look no further than the 2 for £10 on Chardonnay at your local Tesco.

It’s Saturday night! That means it’s time to get your game on and really have a wild time. Of course by wild, I do mean Wilde as in Oscar (or perhaps Lori Wilde). I just wish I were currently reading something by Wilde to make this more appropriate, alas I’m not.

However, I have heard tell of an exciting new drinking game for all you dedicated drinkers readers out there. It’s called Literature and Liquor and the rules are super simple: Fill a cup with a suitable beverage and every time you feel a thirst; take a sip. See? I told you it’d be easy.

If you are struggling with a great pairing for your current novel, well then I’ve got some suggestions based on what you’re reading. You’ll love it. Trust me. Or don’t, all you really know about me is the fact that I have a blog and what I like to read.

Noir Crime: Whisky on the rocks

picture4This one goes without saying. What better way to enjoy the exploits of Detective Ethan Granger and the mysterious femme fatale Violet Dunrong than with a detective classic. Simple and effective. If looking for a real detective in the genre, Die recommended Raymond Chandler’s ‘The Big Sleep‘, a story of a dying man’s wish to uncover the mystery of his daughter’s blackmailer which plunges iconic detective Phillip Marlowe into the underbelly of an uptight high society. This story was also adapted for cinema with Humphrey Bogart in the title role, so you know it’s a goody!

Continue reading “Literature and Liquor: A Lively Saturday Night”