I’ve just landed back in France after a short trip to London.
If this time last year, when I was still waiting to hear from my first batch of agent submissions on my novel, you’d told me that you had the power to see into the future and that in September 2011 I’d be invited to Bloomsbury’s 25th birthday party as part of a star studded guest list…well it would have made me giggle.
But strange things do happen. And the invitation came.
I didn’t think I was going to be able to make it. It clashed with a week when my husband was away earning our daily bread and I was supposed to be at home feeding and bathing the children, walking the dogs, helping with homework and so on. But how could I NOT go? Cinderella needed a fairy godmother*. Or at least a cunning plan.
“I know, I shall take my children to London”, I reasoned! We will stay with good friends who won’t mind a night babysitting. Upon investigation, cheap flights were available. “It’s a plan,” I thought. And to make up for a couple of days missed school I will make sure the girls experience things like the science museum, the botanical gardens at Kew, and their cultural heritage in general.
Anyway, yes, so.
The party was held on a beautiful indian summer evening in Bedford Square. There were lots of delicious things to eat and drink, but most of all there were lots of lovely people. There were some rather famous people there of course, and I had been terribly worried about meeting them. What would I say, for example, if I hadn’t read their books? There are so many books I haven’t read…
Special thanks to Vanessa Gebbie, for understanding my angst, standing me a G&T at the New Cavendish Club before we went, and walking in alongside me. Thanks also to author Stephen May who took this and other photos on demand, despite having only just met me!
In the event, I met one *famous* person – Grayson Perry. I didn’t know who Grayson Perry was. I had never heard of Grayson Perry. I blame this on living in France and never reading newspapers and seldom watching the TV. So the first I knew of Grayson Perry was a man dressed like a babydoll wandering in my direction at the Bloomsbury party. How could I not smile at him? Vanessa got chatting and I came to the conclusion I liked him. He was chatty and interesting and just generally rather groovy. He’s a groovy guy. And his exhibition is opening this week and I’m sad I can’t go. But click here to see a pic of Vanessa and Grayson/Claire and click here for information on The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman at the British Museum.
The highlight of the night for me (the author who still has dreams that one day I’ll get a call saying that it’s all been a big misunderstanding) was meeting my future paperback editor Tram-Anh. The conversation went like this:
Me: I’m Claire King, my book is out in 2013
Tram-Anh: Oh, which book was that? I read so many…
Me (a bit sheepishly): The Night Rainbow.
Tram-Anh: OMG! I love that book! (Cue long and expressive pointing out of all the bits of my book she particularly liked, even though she read it almost a year ago).
Me: *Hugs Tram-Anh* Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou.
Did I mention there was also wine?
There were around 1000 of us altogether, including Bloomsbury staff, authors, agents, press, reviewers and many others. It was lovely to finally meet up in person with lovely author tweeters Marika Cobbold, Jane Rusbridge and Precious Williams and I have to thank you all, along with VG, for being friendly islands in the sea of Big Mingle, and for introducing me to lots of Bloomsbury authors like Georgina Harding, Louise Levene, Roshi Fernando, William Sutcliffe, Tim Kevan, Andrew Marshall, Selma Dabbagh…can everyone see my to-read list expanding as I type?
Thanks also to my lovely agent Annette Green and her partner David, who were waiting kindly and patiently just inside the gates to make sure their authors weren’t lost in the crowds, and to my lovely editor Helen who spent most of her night rushing around making sure all her authors were having a good time. I think I can safely say that we were.
*By the way, I had to run to catch a cab at the end of the evening, and I lost a shoe in the process. If anyone found a glass slipper in Bedford Square, could you let me know?