Reading for Shetland
Yesterday, just in time for a long train journey and even longer ferry trip, I received a proof copy of Dominique Manotti's DEAD HORSEMEAT. She's one of the European authors who will be at the Lit and Phil library in Newcastle on Thursday April 6th. I read her first novel ROUGH TRADE a while ago and found it edgy and disturbing - an image of the Paris tourists never see and specially relevant following the riots there last year. At the same event will be Gianrico Carofiglio, who charmed the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival last year and a Finnish author I've never read - Matti Joensuu. I'm thrilled to be chairing the evening and look forward to meeting lots of old friends there.
Also yesterday, a nice review of RAVEN BLACK by Marcel Berlins in The Times. Hurrah.
In the run up to my trip to Shetland I've had a couple of good bits of news. First, on Friday, a wonderful early review in TRIBUNE of RAVEN BLACK. It's much harder than it used to be to get reviewed in the national press. I'm not sure how much difference this sort of review makes to sales but it's encouraging for me. And today I've found out that TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE, the outreach project I led as reader in residence from the Harrogate Festival has been shortlisted for an Arts, Business and the Community Award. The project was sponsored by Theakston's and involved setting up reading groups in Theakston's pubs in rural North Yorkshire. It was a dream job - travelling round the Dales and talking about the books shortlisted for the Ottakar's/TOP award to drinkers. Thanks to Margaret, Martin and Rosemary for their help.
We're starting to get replies from people we've invited to the Lerwick launch party. I'm still nervous that people won't come or that they'll be offended that an outsider has dared to write about their community. Chatted to Marsali, a local writer, last night and that helped. And I keep checking the long term weather forecast. Definitely don't need a storm next Monday night when I head up on the Northlink.
Off to London today to begin two days training for Opening the Book. A chance to visit outer London boroughs I'd never usually encounter. It's usually a tiring but exhilarating experience - 30 library staff let out for the day with loads of ideas, just desperate for a chance to share them. Good lunch often too.