B is for Bookwitch

When I looked in the mirror last night, my face was as purple as my clothes. If you ask Julie Bertagna, she’ll say it’s the effect of the cold Edinburgh weather. But at the very least you can say I matched my clothes, and I’m all for colour co-ordinating. I started the day with popping along to The Children’s Bookshop to meet Vanessa who was in the throes of getting ready for Neil Gaiman, and a few hundred fans. She still had time to take me to the bank(?), give me tea, back to the bank (at least it was warm in there), and she knows her Gudrun Sjödén clothes when she sees them.

Then it was on to Son’s flat for some warming soup and general admiration of household skills and all that.

After which Son and I set off for the boutique hotel Neil was staying in (I so want to be a bestselling author, but only in some respects), where they offer you drinks as soon as you sink into the comfy armchairs in reception. Son ordered tap water, hoping that would be free of charge, so I’ve brought him up well. Julie Bertagna joined us, by design, rather than by accident, and it was really good to meet her after talking on blogs for so long.

Bonham meeting room

Soon the biker gang turned up as well, and that was the Gaiman entourage, safely back from another event. The lovely Ian from Bloomsbury ushered us into a meeting room, with purple chairs, and Julie and I interviewed Neil while Son snapped. And boutique hotels are capable of good tea, I can tell you. The chat went well, and the results may turn up here in due course.

After so much excitement, Julie and I staggered off to collapse in peace and quiet, first sending Son on his way to his other job. Julie is good at finding Italian restaurants, and we had a wonderful dinner. (The toilets in this place gives you lessons in Italian…)

Braving the Edinburgh buses in the rush hour and in the dark, we made our way to the Church Hill Theatre where Neil was doing his rock concert thing. It’s the only way to describe it. I have never seen that kind of reception of a writer anywhere. The audience was mainly student age fans, with a few children and some “normal” people, and they loved Neil.

Neil Gaiman signing How could you not love him? The man must have been feeling shattered with all that travelling and all the talks and interviews, but you couldn’t tell. He was calm and funny and entertaining. Neil read us a whole chapter of The Graveyard Book, the one about the Dance Macabre. I just may have to re-read the book. Soon.

The queue for signing was LONG. I don’t want to think how many hours it will have lasted. Julie and I disappeared after a while, to catch our trains home. And Julie, witches know their Dundee trains from their Perth trains!

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5 responses to “B is for Bookwitch

  1. Purple might be more fetching than the shade of blue that I was on returning to balmy (in comparison) Glasgow. Glad you didn’t end up in Dundee….

    Yes, Mr G rocks!

  2. Thank you so much for coming and for having time for coffee – it was lovely to meet you at long last. And Julie – so sorry that I didn’t have time to chat beyond asking you to move up your row!

  3. And there was the witch, refusing to move. I’m always like that…

  4. Dear bookwitch,
    How did you end up in the UK? And how did you, as a Swede, which I assume you are by various entries, end up being a writer writing in English?
    Asks another Swede in the UK who writes in English.
    I was at the Gothenburg Book Fair too by the way. Gbg is my home town and the Book Fair is a great event and unusual because it’s for everyone not just the book trade. This year I was doing some signings and a couple of seminars.

  5. Hej! Samma som du, förmodar jag. Giftermål…

    The Swedish gets rustier over the years, and I have no idea what people discuss culturally in Sweden, any longer. You can do more with the English language. And the audience can be worldwide (waves to the Australians and the Vancouverians).

    I didn’t find enough of interest (no insult intended) in last year’s book fair to go. Hope there will be more next time.

    I, too, have a past in Gothenburg, but only university. I think I may be a few years younger than you, so our paths are close-ish. But I’m not even remotely related to any newspapers at all.

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