Monday, 16 October 2017

Wimbledon Bookfest - Tracy Chevalier & Matt Haig

Matt Haig
Wimbledon Bookfest finished last night and I was there to hear the last guest - Matt Haig. I found him a most interesting and down to earth guy and I found myself agreeing with much that he said about the writing world, how we see ourselves in the world and depression.

The first book of his I ever read was The Humans and I loved it. I have also read The Radley's and Reasons To Stay Alive (his book about depression) is sitting on a shelf waiting to be read. He was an engaging speaker - I like the way music plays an important part in his writing (he cited Talking Heads as background to The Humans and Don Henley's Boys of Summer to 'get him out of a fug' - I love that song myself!). And that he isn't a planner - he likes the surprise, though admitted it got him into all sorts of bother at the editing stage.

Matt Haig's books are hard to pigeonhole. I remember the trouble Waterstones had tracking The Humans down for me. He doesn't fit a particular genre and I rather like that.

Matt Haig's partner and children were sitting in the front row and had been promised pizza for being so good and patient. I feared the wait would still be long as the queue for his book signing was back to the door. I haven't read his latest book How To Stop Time but it's on my list. I'll wait for it to come out in paperback or put it on my Christmas list! It sounds fascinating and I look forward to reading it quite soon.

I did have a ticket to see the Rev Richard Coles but he got a better offer and is currently on Strictly (I don't watch that) so his session was cancelled. I still think he made the wrong choice (ha, ha).

However, I did get to see Tracy Chevalier a week ago. She came to talk about her latest book New Boy and I have read that. I was lucky enough to find a copy at my local library by chance, so I grabbed it. I don't think it's Tracy's best book, but then I'm not keen on retelling of old stories. I had some reservations about how sexually aware 11 year olds were back in the 70's and this came up at her interview. She was basing it on her childhood in the USA in that period whilst manipulating the plot to fit that of Shakespeare's Othello. I'm a big fan of Tracy's, having read all her books. I love the way all her books are different and if I had to pick favourites, oh that's tough, I tend to be drawn to her early ones - Girl With a Pearl Earring, The Lady & The Unicorn, Burning Bright and Remarkable Creatures. I am interested in her next book which is set in Winchester (a place I love visiting) and she is already talking about the book after that!

I love hearing authors speak, to learn about how they got into writing, their process of writing, where their ideas come from and the research they do. It's so fascinating.  Apologies the photo isn't great - it's from my phone's camera with a zoom that is laughable!. When I went to a concert recently I borrowed my son's old mobile to take photos - much better - but I had problems loading the photos onto Facebook, yet they conformed to size etc. Blogger had no problem but I didn't want to risk not getting a shot.

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