Esconsed as I am to the north of Hadrian’s Wall, I am sometimes frustrated at the number of invites to blogging parties in London that I must turn down. One day, I promised myself, one day, I’ll accept. Well that day arrived last week and so last Thursday I stepped on the 06:37 train to Euston.
I have an incurable sweet tooth and so the offer of tea and cake in the genteel surroundings of Bedford Square, Bloomsbury proved to be the lure to pull me south. Well, that and the opportunity to meet the publishers behind the emails, the bloggers behind the blogs, and the authors of some pretty exciting books.
Cornflower, Dovegreyreader, Farmlanebooks, For Book’s Sake, Litlove, Random Jottings, Reading Matters, Stuck In A Book – it was lovely meeting you all again/at last and I’m sorry if I didn’t get a chance to talk properly to you all but the afternoon simply flew by. I’m not sure if Bloomsbury had worried at the prospect of awkward pauses but they certainly ensured that there was no opportunity for any of that. Their marketing department turned out in full force and I spent a lot of time with Anna discussing what makes a truly wonderful literary festival event. Surprisingly we have many times been in the same place at the same time and agreed that the Toibin/McGrath event (Edinburgh 2008!) was/is legendary! (Ssssh, don’t tell, but I also heard that there’s a new McGrath in the offing ….)
As for Bloomsbury’s tea party itself, here’s the Director of Sales and Marketing in her new role of chief cake distributor, and I can personally vouch for the yumminess of the millionaire’s shortcake and the fruit crumble slice.
William Boyd couldn’t stay long. I don’t think he even got the chance to eat any cake. This was the launch day of his new novel, Waiting for Sunrise, and there was a London bookshop signing tour demanding his attention. Suzanne Joinson and Kate Summerscale both stayed longer to tell us about their new books. (More on which when I’ve read them!)
Before we knew it, book bags were distributed and we were asked to fill them with whatever we fancied. All I can say is that after Alexandra Pringle’s passionate endorsement of both current and future titles, I had no problems filling mine. (And that I suppose was the marketing team’s objective. A win:win for all concerned.) Then it was time to say a hasty farewell to those who were rushing off to catch their trains home. I wasn’t one of them. Oh no, now that I’d got me to the capital, I was in no rush to leave and two more days of literary adventure were to follow. Of which, more anon.