Yesterday was more meet and greet than listening to talks. I spent my morning going to talks and then in the afternoon went round to all the publishers getting the catalogues for the year.
The first thing I went to see was Tracy Chevalier who we all know for her legendary book Girl With a Pearl Earring. I think most people will confess that they only know it because of Colin Firth’s smouldering performance as Vermeer. However, she was not talking about her old or even most recent novel that came out this year. She was discussing her latest project which is a novelisation of a Shakespearen play to celebrate the Bard’s 400th anniversary, part of a series to be published by Hogarth. The play she has chosen is Othello which she is setting in the 1970s in her home town in a playground where everyone is 11. I have to confess Othello was not one I did at school so really can’t comment much. However, I have read many of her books over the years so I’m sure it will be a fascinating take on a old classic.
Also I hear Jo Nesbo has picked up Macbeth. Wow! That is going to be a treat for all us crime buffs.
The next talk I went to see was about YA fiction and characterisation with Leila Rasheed, Pete Kalu and Tariq Mehmood – probably the talk that made me think the most about my perspective on certain issues. It mainly looked at the issue of race and how you fit that into your characterisation or whether you just know by the name. The responses that came out of the discussion were that writers who were black weren’t sure how to write white characters and writers who were white weren’t sure how to write back characters especially without stereotypes. When I was thinking about this last night it was difficult but I formed the opinion that as I write when I am talking about characters in a book I don’t mention race. I think that unless it contributes to your plot or the understanding of your characters it is not necessary. Fascinating talk something that we should talk about more as writers.
I then spent the afternoon meeting publishers and interesting people. The one that stood out for me was an author I met who was representing Arty Miss called Jessica Martin. She was showing me her graphic novels which are mostly set around the Jazz age which is to do with my dissertation. So I was hooked she gave me a few of her novels so look out for my reviews of them very soon.
I then had a surprise when I got home I’m on YouTube if you look at London Book Fair 2016 Jeffery Archer I am the girl with brown hair and glasses behind him. Was very amusing to my family.