In a haze (and whirlwind) of surprise, I found myself heading to London on Monday/Tuesday, after being told I had won a pair of tickets to the 4th Estate Literary Salon! (at The Book Club, on Leonard Street). I was genuinely surprised (and delighted), as I think I applied among a sea of job applications, so it was certainly a welcome change, and relief from all of that (and I couldn’t resist the lure of the bright lights of England’s capital).
The panel of speakers at the event (in a beautifully lit, downstairs setting), and just below the razzmatazz of drinks, and table tennis, included David Baddiel (stadium-filling comedian and critically acclaimed, bestselling author). Nathan Filer (author of this year’s smash debut The Shock of the Fall), and the globally bestselling, Costa Award winning (formerly known as the Whitbread Award) writer, Tash Aw. The floor was chaired by the Sunday Times assistant literary editor, Robert Collins. The panel delved into the experiences of the ‘first novel’ publishing deal, how to keep motivated, whilst writing – as well as performing a Q&A.
What I found fascinating, was how much I could relate to the information mentioned. I have a stammer – there are times, where I want to say something, and it is physically impossible. The sentence is there, in your head, but you are unable to get the words out. So good luck me in asking any questions! Perhaps this is why I find the written word so preferable. But to be entertained by people – who are at ease – not only with the written word, but are fantastic orators, as well, was brilliant to be a part of. Nathan Filer’s book (The Shock of the Fall), broached the subject of mental illness. I have endured this. Whether the speech problem has contributed – I don’t know. So I could not help be interested in what he had to say.
Another interesting insight, was the balance between having a full-time job and writing. Whether it assisted with the writing process. The subject of Twitter came up, and, for me – losing my previous job – and having more time to devote to Twitter/writing has been a godsend. I was demotivated before – unable to see the ultimate goal of the daily, 8-4 grind – staring at the sea of faces, and wondering what they were thinking. But when you lack focus, and people (and particularly authors) start to pay attention to you, on Twitter, you begin to think: ‘Ah – perhaps this is my calling?’ If these people – who don’t know me (and have achieved more than me) seem to have some faith in me – well, perhaps there is some light after all.
This is probably why I find submitting these pieces so useful – as there is no way I could have formulated that last paragraph into a question! If I had to have a gripe – it would be that the evening went too fast! (And I wanted to find out a bit more, about the people, who were sat at my table). This was only a minor grumble. In summary – it was an awesome event. Thanks once again, for picking my name out of the hat.