I’m back in the house now after quite an unsuccessful attempt to liveblog; it did turn out in the end that the event was a phone no go zone which I was, truth be told, expecting.
I think I knew it was going to be an interesting evening when I, smelling of wet velvet courtesy of a downpour on route, entered the theatre bar to the strangest gathering of different people I’ve ever seen in one place. And I often drink in Camden so that’s no small feat.
The discussion began with Neil looking far more chirpy than I would have thought possible given he was in Japan only a few days ago and Susanna looking well (a relief given that she has been unwell). We were however advised that she wouldn’t be signing due to her health which although a shame everyone was very understanding about. In fact the biggest take away for me (a phrase I hate and cannot believe I just used) was how understanding and nice all the fans were all evening.
A short to and fro about the origins of the title of Susanna’s collection “The Ladies of Grace Adieu” was followed by Susanna reading the from “Mr Simonelli or The Fairy Widower”. Susanna reads very well and had the audience caught up in it when the mic cut out.
A fire alarm would you believe it. G believes it was my fault for sitting in seat thirteen.
Anyway we all had to go outside whilst some nice chaps from the local fire brigade checked every single room in the building. Again everyone was very understanding about it all and to be honest the biggest concern seemed to be whether it was wise to have Susanna stood out in the cold for so long given she was unwell.
On our return we resumed the reading although to be fair it was a bit of an ask to pick up half way through. The conversation resumed with a discussion of how Susanna became a short story writer, touched on the strong female voice within the collection and then moved to questions.
The questions were interesting and covered a range of topics from paintings that influenced her to Strange and Norrell as a comic to reference books on Fairy and the slightly odd picture of Neil Gaiman fighting Bill Gibson.
All in all it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening even with the interlude in the cold.