This month I have been to numerous book events and I really enjoyed attending all of them.
The first was an event called ‘The Brontes: Life at the Parsonage’, part of the Cheltenham Literature Festival. The event was chaired by Libby Purves and it featured Bronte biographer Juliet Barker and Lauren Livesey, who works at The Parsonage Museum. Their discussion gave a fascinating insight into the private and public lives of Branwell, Charlotte, Emily and Anne, and I enjoyed discovering little anecdotes about the famous siblings, such as the fact that Branwell could apparently write Latin with one hand and Greek with the other, while continuing a conversation in English!
I have read several of the Brontes’ novels, including Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, and Agnes Grey. This means that actually I only have three books left, and then I have read all of their novels. The ones I have left are Charlotte’s other three novels: The Professor, Villette, and Shirley. I’ve started reading The Professor on my Kindle and so far it is really good. I love the way that Charlotte immediately establishes the character of the protagonist William Crimsworth’s brother, Edward. I’m particularly intrigued to read Villette, as I’ve seen some newspaper reviews of it that claim that it is by far the best of Charlotte’s novels, better than the much more famous Jane Eyre and deserving of more fame than it has received. But actually, it is Shirley that I predict I will enjoy the most, having read a brief synopsis of it.
I read this synopsis in ‘The Brontes: their complete novels in one sitting’. This is one of a series of books that introduce a reader to all the works of a famous author – others include ones on Shakespeare, Hardy, Austen and Dickens. These are really useful little books, with a mini biography of the author, famous quotes from them and synopses for their books and stories. I definitely recommend collecting them!
Of course, once I finish reading the novels of the Bronte sisters there will still be plenty to enjoy, including all their poems and short stories. I recently saw one of Anne’s poems on Twitter and I think it’s beautiful and poignant. It’s called ‘The Captive Dove’ and the link is here:
The next three events I attended were all YA events. I went to the Bath stop of Sarah J. Maas’ ‘Empire of Storms’ tour, which was in the most beautiful venue with glittering chandeliers. It was chaired by Lucy Saxon and she asked great questions, and the event was hilarious and really enjoyable. It was the third time that I had met Sarah J. Maas, and meeting her never gets old. She was actually the first YA author I ever met.
I then went to Laini Taylor’s event in Cheltenham. I have wanted to meet her for so long, so it was wonderful to be able to. She spoke about her upcoming novel, ‘Strange the Dreamer’, which publishes in March, as well as about her award-winning story collection, ‘Lips Touch’, and her mesmerising ‘Daughter of Smoke and Bone’ series. She also spoke about her experiences as a writer and her writing process, which left me feeling very inspired. I loved attending her event and I am really looking forward to her return to the UK next year.
The most recent book event I attended was actually this past Tuesday. It was the Worlds Collide London event featuring Leigh Bardugo and Rainbow Rowell. The event was great fun: Leigh and Rainbow did a hilarious reading from each of their books, told us more about their characters and writing processes, and answered lots of questions from their fans. ‘Crooked Kingdom’ is one of the very best books I’ve read this year, so it was fascinating to find out more about it – especially the fact that Kaz Brekker’s name was originally supposed to be Baz!
This year I have been able to meet almost all of my favourite authors, whether it’s been at large events like YALC or at specific tour stops. So many YA authors have come on tour this year to the UK from the US, including, aside from the ones listed above, Rachel Caine, Jennifer L. Armentrout, V. E. Schwab. It’s been so enthusing and inspiring to meet them all, and I’m so glad that they came to the UK! I hope they’ll be back again soon!