Thursday, October 25, 2007

It's always the same, you wait for a while for a publishers' night out and then three come along at once.*

First was drinks at my previous employ . They're currently very excited about a forthcoming Mervyn Peake book which sounds like it'll be great.

Second, was of course the launch of This May Help You Understand The World . It was also technically the launch for The Bookaholics' Guide to Book Blogs but if I say that the shrinking violets with whom I work saw to it that they brought five copies of the latter compared to seventy of the former plus ten of his previous book, Mathematics Minus Fear then you'll see that, the way they saw it, the night was really supposed to be about Lawrence. And, after a train and bus ride involving much lugging of books and one minor, accidental assault with an electric bass we discovered that we'd lucked out with our choice of venue. The Betsey Trotwood comes highly recommended; not only is it a lovely, atmospheric pub with a good selection of drinks and plenty going on all the time but bar staff went out of their way to help. Even to the extent of giving me a free drink. This last shouldn't detract from credibility of my previous eulogy, within a couple of minutes of going inside we were talking about having our christmas party there.
So we took our room upstairs, laid the books out and waited, which is always a nervous time for me because if not enough people turn up you always end up feeling a little ridiculous. I needn't have worried; Lawrence, who apparently learned his organizational skills arranging monthly games of rounders, had marshalled a large crowd of well wishers who immediately set about buying books and drinking the bar dry. Although this meant much work for the three of us, it's always worth it, and actually quite satisfying to see such things go down well. Lawrence's speech was delivered with the confidence that you'd expect from a talented teacher and then the whole crowd went off to a restaurant that probably still doesn't know what hit it. Many thanks to all who came.

If you missed out on the evening but still want to hear Lawrence's Tamil Tiger story, not mention learn of his fascination for Loose Women then you can catch him at the Review Bookshop on November 15th where he is doing a Q&A as part of the Peckham Literary Festival .

And thirdly there was a very successful evening at Waterstones Hampstead where they held their second Literature in Translation event. This time there were three translators: Lisa Appignanesi who chaired Len Rix (Who translates the work of Anton Szerb ) and Peter Camiller ( Dumitru Tsepeneag ) . Speaking about their authors and the art of translation in equal measure, the three had fascinating conversation, answered some good questions (Somebody always asks if there's such a thing as an unstranslatable text and someone always answers Finnegan's Wake. Always) and those that wanted to wandered off to the pub. Basically to talk about similar things, but, as is perhaps appropriate to discussions of eastern european literature, with more alcohol. I really recommend going to these nights, they give much needed attention to a whole (literally) world of literature (again, is that alliterative?) that just doesn't get enough of a look in in our insular little isle.

* With apologies for the cliché but getting back from Tuesday night's do, three buses did indeed arrive at the same time to take me home after a long wait. I was so astounded at London Transport's sterotypic ability that I lost my favourite scarf.


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