Penguin General Bloggers Event: Literary conversations and lots of wine

30 March, 2011

Last week I was invited by Claire of Paperback Reader to join a group of bloggers to meet 7 exciting authors at the Penguin General Blogger’s Event at the wonderfully arty and eclectic Union Club in Soho. How could I refuse as it felt like a mini-reunion of bloggers plus we get to hear readings of new books? I was in good company as Gaskella, Farm Lane Books, stuck in a book, Novel Insights, Desperate Reader, Follow the Thread and a host of others all turned up as well as some new-to-me bloggers such as Park Benches and Bookends (hello!)

There were canapés and wine and what I was looking forward to most were the readings by the following Penguin authors:

♣ Joe Dunthorne, author of Submarine, read from his forthcoming novel Wild Abandon, about a young lad who has an imaginary conversation with himself in five years’ time. Hilarious.

♣ Luke Williams read from his debut The Echo Chamber about Evie, born in Nigeria and ending up in Scotland.

♣ Ross Raisin, author of God’s Own Country, read from his forthcoming novel Waterline which has many in the publishing industry over-excited. His new novel is about ship-building and its subsequent decline and Raisin did the reading in a pretty convincing Glaswegian accent.

♣ Jean Kwok read from her novel Girl in Translation loosely based on her experiences growing up as an immigrant in New York and escaping to Harvard to make a different life for herself. Instead of reading an extract from her book, she gave an overview of the people who inspired her including her parents and the harsh environment in which they had to build a new life away from Hong Kong.

♣ Rebecca Hunt read an extract from her novel Mr. Chartwell about an anthropomorphous lodger, Churchill’s black dog (pictured above). Her rendering of Mr. Chartwell was spot-on and made me want to read the book immediately.

♣ Helen Gordon read an extract her debut novel Landfall about a magazine writer moving back to Croydon and having to confront her life.

♣ And Hisham Matar read an extract from his novel, Anatomy of a Disappearance about the disappearance of a boy’s father in Egypt. And very charmingly indeed.

Each author had a distinct voice and style and it was interesting to see them read and talk one after the other. Check out this amazing post by the Spinebreakers with videos and all.

It was a wonderful evening of books, wine and chat and was perfectly organised by the Penguin team who were very enthusiastic about their books and literature in general. It was just so nice to be in a place where people could talk shop. And we all came away with several titles in our goody bags. Thank you Penguin and thank you Claire!

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21 Responses to “Penguin General Bloggers Event: Literary conversations and lots of wine”

  1. Steph Says:

    Sounds like a dream! I long for the day when I get invited to swanky blogger events! 😉

    Also, I’ve had the pleasure of reading Mr. Chartwell and it really is very good!

  2. winstonsdad Says:

    I got a late invite but was to short notice oh well looks fun evening ,all the best stu


  3. My highlight was listening to the voice of Mr Chartwell – I was halfway through the book at the time and having her dog voice in my head made the second half even better! Great to meet you again 🙂

  4. kimbofo Says:

    Sounds like a good night, Sakura. I was invited too but couldn’t make it. Nice to see Penguin start to take notice of bloggers. I have found them a difficult nut to crack.

  5. Simon T Says:

    Lovely to see you again 🙂

  6. Parrish Says:

    WOW, am feeling suitably impressed & a little bit jealous. looks like a fantastic event & a goody bag.
    this is an amazing idea am loving it.

  7. Eva Says:

    Looks like fun! I’m a bit green over here, but it will subside. 😉

  8. novelinsights Says:

    What a lovely literary night! I can’t wait for Wild Abandon…

  9. Arti Says:

    The benefit of living in a major, world-class city! Don’t think this sort of event will come here. Anyway, your goody bag sounds great. I’m particularly interested in Jean Kwok’s Girl In Translation, since I have a similar immigrant experience coming from HK and settled in Canada with my family when I was a teenager.

    • sakura Says:

      She was an amazing speaker and a lovely, friendly person. I think anyone with experience of travelling and resettling would be interested in her book.

  10. Bellezza Says:

    Oh, so lucky! I would have loved to have been there! What a great time it sounds like you all had.

  11. itoeri Says:

    iine. what a wonderfully looking and sounding evening!


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