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Publishing Events, Jean Auel and World Book Night

When I began blogging I never dreamt that it would lead to the events I’ve been lucky enough to experience recently. The past few weeks have been particularly exciting and so I thought I’d take the opportunity to let you know what I’ve been up to.

A Celebration of Women’s Fiction

Pan Macmillan invited me to attend an evening celebrating women’s fiction.

Pan Macmillan Night
I'm in green, at the back, in the middle of the photo.

I felt a little out of place as the event focused on chick lit, but I met up with Elle from Trashionista and I enjoyed learning about the world of UK Romance blogging. I hadn’t heard of her blog before, but it made me realise how little interaction I have with bloggers from different genres. I’m going to make the effort to familiarise myself with a wider range of bloggers (especially on Twitter) as we all share that passion for books and have many of the same issues with blogging, reading and balancing the two.

The night was very glamourous and several celebrities were in attendance. Unfortunately I’m very unobservant and so failed to spot any!

I came away with copies of two books:


Emma Donoghue’s Room was also being promoted that night and so I was able to let people know how wonderful it was. I don’t think that was necessary though – copies of her book were flying off the shelves and lots of other people were raving about it too!

It was a lovely evening and I felt very spoilt.

Author Speed Dating

You may have already seen that Chris Cleave mentioned this event on the Guardian blog. Sceptre invited several bloggers to meet a wonderful group of authors in central London. I was particularly excited to meet Andrew Miller and Chris Cleave, two authors I love (if you haven’t read their books then you really should). I was also introduced to many new-to-me authors including Jenn Ashworth, Jill Dawson and Giles Milton. 

Me with Andrew Miller
Me with Chris Cleave


I got to talk to a group of three or four authors for 20 minutes before moving on to another set. They let us know about their new books and I explained a little about my life as a blogger. I have never felt more like a celebrity and was embarrassed by the attention lavished on us. Time flew past and the whole day was very special. I’m looking forward to reading the books written by these authors when they are released later this year.

An Evening with Jean Auel

Last Monday I headed to The Natural History Museum in London to hear Jean Auel talk about her Earth’s Children series. I found her fascinating. She was in conversation with palaeoanthropologist, Professor Chris Stringer, and I was impressed by how knowlegable Jean Auel was about the life of early humans. She has been deeply involved in archaeological research since she began writing the series 30-years-ago and seemed to have a close relationship with those in the field.

I loved hearing her talk about her trips around the world to visit important archaeological sites and was impressed to learn that she has tried most of the techniques mentioned in the books herself. She didn’t stop at making snow caves and starting fires, but even went as far as tanning leather using the brain of the animal. It is always nice to know that the facts in books like these are based on thorough research, but I’m glad she is the one squashing brains and I only have to read about them! If you ever get the chance to listen to Jean Auel talk then I highly recommend that you go.

World Book Night

For World Book Night I gave away copies of A Fine Balance at my son’s school. It was a wonderful experience! I was worried that people wouldn’t be interested in a literary chunkster, but they seemed genuinely delighted to receive a copy. The great thing was that it became a catalyst for conversation about books. By the time I’d finished giving away my copies all the little groups of parents/teachers were talking about books. I could hear people recommending a whole range of different genres to each other and I think that this conversation about books was the most important aspect of World Book Night. I’m sure that many people will read books based on the recommendations they received and if that is the case then WBN can be declared a success.

30 replies on “Publishing Events, Jean Auel and World Book Night”

So did you feel like your head was going to pop off from all the bookish fun? Wow! Chris Cleave? I know when I stop and think about all the cool stuff I’ve been allowed to participate in, all because of blogging, I do feel like it is all worthwhile. We have a relatively new event here in Orlando in April and I am terribly excited about meeting bloggers and authors. Thanks for sharing this with us!

Sandy, “So did you feel like your head was going to pop off from all the bookish fun?” Yes! It is amazing how everything seems to have taken off recently. I’m lucky that I live so close to London where all the literary events seem to happen. I hope I never get used to these types of things because I love the excitement. I hope your Orlando events are just as exciting. Make sure you share them with us too 🙂

Diane, Yes. I’m really bad at remembering to take photos (hence the lack of World Book Night and Jean Auel ones!) but I hope I’ll get better at taking them as it will be nice to reminisce about these events in the future.

I read the Guardian article the other day Jackie; there I was just innocently reading along when I came across your name. Wow! it was exciting for me, I can only imagine how it was for you! All of the events sound like great fun.

Laura, I’m like that when I spot people I know in the paper too. It is nice that bloggers are finally getting mentioned in the mainstream media and the events are a big bonus 🙂 I hope that you get to take part in some soon.

Vivienne, I know. I’m so lucky. Chris Cleave has to be the nicest author I’ve ever met. Normally authors are good at writing, but not so good at socialising, but somehow he managed to get the gift of both. Lucky man!

You’ve had so many wonderful, “bookish” experiences. I’m most jealous that you got to hear Jean Auel speak. I loved the Earth’s Children series. It just came out in trade paperback here in the States to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the series. Of course I went out and purchased them all straight away. I can’t wait to reread!

Kathleen, I’m sure Jean Auel will be touring the US sometime soon – I hope that she comes somewhere near you and that you are able to make it along. Enjoy the final book in the series 🙂

That all sounds brilliant! I am torn between wanting to get more involved in exciting events like these and remembering how difficult I found the few events I have dragged myself to because I’m a tad shy. This is why my early attempt to be a journalist fell flat…

Nose in a book, Yes. That is a problem for me too. I hate going to events where everyone already knows each other and I know no one. Luckily most of the events have had other bloggers in the same situation and so it is easy to talk to each other. I think the bigger events are a lot harder and so I am wary of accepting those kinds of invitations. Hopefully it will get easier with time.

Wow, such great bookish events! How do you get invited to such great events? Lucky you!

You mentioned the authors/bloggers speed dating before and that is such a nice idea. Hope you’ll be going to more events like this in the future so we can enjoy them too, watching over your shoulder.

Judith, I was lucky enough to just be emailed by the publisher and asked to attend these events. I also go to a lot of author events in London which I see announced on Twitter and buy tickets – I wouldn’t know they were going on with Twitter – another reason to love it 🙂

This is one of the reasons why I wouldn’t mind living in London. There are so many great literary events always happening.

And there’s always big ads to books in the metro – have never seen that anywhere else. The proof its really a literary city 😉

Alex, Yes. I’m very lucky to be living so close to London at this stage in my life. I have moved around a lot and I know that this wouldn’t be possible if I lived just a small distance further out. It is nice that things have worked out this way. London really is the place to be if you like author interaction.

It all looks very glitzy and exciting. My parents are really looking forward to the last one from Jean Auel in the cavebear books, my sister still credits her sex education as coming from those (bit worring really)

I thought the world book night was quite good and I hope they carry on with it.

Jessica, I know a lot of teenagers read it just for the sex. I think I’ll leave copies around for my sons and their friends when they are older – hopefully they’ll all accidentally learn lots of historical information while they search for the sex 😉

You’ve been busy, Jackie! The events sound amazing, especially the talk by Jean Auel. I’ve read three of her books but never managed to get round to finishing the rest. So thanks for reminding me! The author speed dating sounds like fun. Were you nervous? I’d probably tongue-tied!

How wonderful that your life has been filled with so many bookish events of late! I’m truly envious that you live in such a literary city – Nashville is really lacking in that respect.

And I’m so glad to hear that World Book Night was a success! Love love love the idea of it!

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