Are writers performing monkeys?

The launch for Food of Ghosts is one week today on the 8th November.  Yeh hey! If you want to come and help celebrate it’s much awaited arrival, do give Blackwell’s bookshop a ring – but you’ll have to be quick, at last count the tickets, which are FREE, were nearly all gone.

What will happen on the 8th? There will be a tropical theme (yes, in November!) and bubbly. I’ll do a reading from Food of Ghosts and talk a little bit about the inspiration behind writing it. There will be time for questions and you’ll also be able to buy a signed copy of the book – and one lucky person will win a free copy!

Am I nervous? Yes, a little bit. But in many ways I’m lucky because, as you’ll know if you’ve been to any of my events, once I start talking, I tend to relax so much that I forget to stop ;o). For me, doing events is one of the perks of the job of being a writer. However,  I know many writers who do not enjoy this “performance” aspect of the job, and even dread it. In fact,  Mark Billingham once referred to himself and Christopher Brookmyre as “performing monkeys”.

Do you think it is reasonable or unreasonable to expect writers to perform like monkeys?

Do you go to author events? If so, why? If not, why not?

It’d be great to hear from you. And don’t forget, to thank everyone who makes a comment on my blog, at the end of every month we put your names in a hat. At the end of this month one lucky winner will win a free copy of my debut crime thriller Food of Ghosts! Look forward to hearing from you!

ps: I forgot to say the winner for leaving a comment for last month is John Gray. I’ve emailed John already and as soon as he sends me his postal address I’ll send him his signed copy of Food of Ghosts 🙂 Well done, John!

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4 Responses to Are writers performing monkeys?

  1. I like going to author events! I think there’s a tension between expecting authors to perform and the fact that may of us aren’t particularly extrovert. But it’s something that is essential to being a writer. There’s one well known poet in particular who is just awful on stage, she doesn’t look at the audience, barely projects her voice etc etc and so does herself and her poetry a total disservice. Compare and contrast to Ruth Padel a poet who is mesmerising on stage! I know personally how difficult it is, I used to hate reading in public, but I’ve learned to mostly manage my nerves and in fact actually enjoy it now!

    Looking forward to your book launch, the tropical theme almost inspires me to dress Malawian style, but I’m guessing it will be too cold for that!

  2. Marianne Wheelaghan says:

    I like going to writing events too. If done well, they can inspire the reader and make him or her feel more connected to the writing experience. If done badly, however, as you say, it can spoil the pleasure of listening to a writer whose work you greatly admire. And as you rightly say, there is a lot of kill to reading out loud and keeping a bunch of strangers. In recognition of that I’ve booked myself onto a performance skillsworkshop at the Howden Park Centre in Livingston later in the month – too late for the launch though, so it’ll be the “un-refined” me ;o)
    ps i think it’s a great idea to dress Malawian style – but, yep, it may be a tad cold!

  3. Wendy says:

    I have only been to author events with my year six class when I was teaching. They were day events held at a local school and were brilliant. One year we saw Anne Fine and the children laughed at me as I sat there transfixed and had to stop myself from asking all the questions at the end (they children loved these days too). I was always so impressed with the confidence of the children’s authors. I know I would be petrified – I once had to talk to a hall of school governors and parents and came out in a nervous rash!

    • Marianne Wheelaghan says:

      ha ha ha! It can be harder for some of us than others to talk to strangers, but I believe that as long as we feel passionately about our writing, that passion will help keep our audience engaged – at least, i hope so ;o)

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