Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Last week - Dangerous Women, Throwing Muses, National Book Awards

Dangerous Women: The Guide to Modern LifeWell, what a week! On Tuesday I had a fantastic time helping my wonderful agent launch the book she's co-written, Dangerous Women: The Guide to Modern Life. It's a really brilliant book, full of great advice to help people live as well as they dare (and, really, who would want to live any other way?). My contribution towards launching the book was mostly in assisting in the drinking of champagne, eating of canap├ęs (and the most delicious chocolate cake) and chatting to wonderful and fascinating people, but I think I carried out my end of the bargain fully (at least, the sore head I had on Wednesday would suggest I did).

I  recovered enough, though, to go and see Throwing Muses. This was a personal highlight for me - I've been a fan of the band since their 1989 album, Hunkpapa - and have followed singer/songwriter/guitarist Kristin Hersh's career (both musical, and literary) ever since. The Muses never really broke up, but they ran out of money (Hersh has never been one to compromise in order to fit into the music industry's idea of what might sell records, and her thoughts on sustainability of music in the current climate make interesting reading) and so recording and touring have been intermittent. This was the first time I've seen them, therefore, since 2003, and it was a fantastic show, a world away from XFactor (which, this year, I have totally avoided and feel all the better for doing so). Anyone interested could do worse than look here, where they will also find information about Hersh's other band (and the only band I love more than Throwing Muses), 50FootWave. Incidentally, by clicking that last link, you can download everything 50FootWave have ever recorded, for free, and with their blessing. I told you Hersh's thoughts on sustainability were interesting...

Then, on Friday, it was the Galaxy National Book Awards. Before I Go to Sleep had been nominated for three (best debut, along with Stephen Kelman's Pigeon English and A.D. Miller's Snowdrops, both of which were Booker Shortlisted, best Audiobook, and best Crime and Thriller Novel, alongside Martina Cole, Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, Robert Harris and C J Sansom). I wasn't really sure what to expect and was delighted to have even been shortlisted with such amazing writers and fantastic novels. It was a lavish ceremony and I got the chance to catch up with some people, and to say hello to some new people (in particular it was great to meet Emma Donoghue, whose novel, Room, I loved, but there were lots of other people I met too), and to my very great surprise and delight Before I Go to Sleep won the best Crime/Thriller Novel!

 Here you can see me, my prize just out of shot, with Emma Donoghue and Patrick Ness, who won Best Children's Book with his novel, A Monster Calls, and below I'm standing next to Alan Hollinghurst and only a few feet away from Jackie Collins.

That's how surreal a night it was...
 Now the book goes forward to the Galaxy Book of the Year, along with the other winners. You can vote for it (or indeed anything else!) here.

So that's that! Quite a week! It's really been amazing to see how well the book has gone down - when I wrote it I hoped I might find a publisher, but I never dreamt I'd be looking at photos like these - and it's truly wonderful that people are enjoying the book. Thank you.

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