Reading Plan: June 2012

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Bleak House by Charles Dickens book cover
Summer has officially hit Britain (temperatures have crept over the 23 degrees for the first and possibly only time this year), and as well as wilting in the heat myself, the creative effort has taken a slight hit this month - possibly due to the quantity of Pimm's consumed. However, as well as a few reviews, I've also put together a fun interview with Jen Campbell and managed to write-up some notes on putting on a literary event during May, so not all bad. 

Happily my body has now adapted to the 'extreme' heat and I'm ready for a month chock-full of reading and writing. After all, it's time to start exploring those summer reads, not to mention keeping an eye on the literary prizes working through long- and short-lists at the moment.

But before I start looking forward to summer 2012, I'm going to look way back to good old Dickens. A couple of months ago I warily eyed up Bleak House as my next read in the 'Year of Dickens' and, having made good progress thus far, I can now say fairly confidently that this will be my book of the month for June. I will finish and review it. Promise.

Ok, I was fibbing - I'm not looking forward at all. Summer be damned, like all good librarians I'm stuck firmly in the past. This being the case, I'm going back to classic piratical adventure Treasure Island - something I meant to read last month but didn't quite have time to get round to.

But in order to keep things grudgingly contemporary I'll be picking up The Paris Wife this month too. This is (recent) hitorical-fiction, following the life of Ernest Hemingway's first wife, Hadley Richardson, as she tends to Hemingway during the early years of his career. I'm a sucker for stories about writers so this could be right up my alley.

Finally, I'll be giving one of the biggest-selling books of recent years a whirl for my reading group. I'm sure The Help doesn't need any introduction, but I'll be adding my own two cents to the already overflowing heap of literary criticism later in the month.

That's about it for planned reads. I'm hoping to find a little extra reading time this month, and therefore spring a few random reviews, but the best laid plans and all that...

Notable Posts from April 
Review: Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell
Interview: Jen Campbell
Article: How To Run a Successful Literary Event
Review: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
Review: The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

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Once again the Fifty Shades trilogy dominates the top ten. All the reviews I've read have been very critical of the quality of the books, and I'm guessing that their success is based mainly on hype (for a fuller rant see my comments on the UK Bestsellers list). For fans of the Obamas there's a couple of books creeping into the top ten, with Michelle seeming to go from strength to strength. There's also the standard appearances from The Hunger Games trilogy and the Game of Thrones series, with Cheryl Najafi's debut on throwing truly remarkable parties at least offering a little variety.

The top ten bestselling books in May, according to Amazon US:

1
Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James book cover

E L James
$9.57 from Amazon
2
Fifty Shades Darker by E L James book cover

E L James
$9.57 from Amazon
3
Fifty Shades Freed by E L James book cover

E L James
$9.57 from Amazon
4
Fifty Shades Trilogy by E L James book cover

E L James
$28.71 from Amazon
5
You're So Invited by Cheryl Najafi book cover

Cheryl Najafi
$19.49 from Amazon
6
A Song of Fire and Ice by George R. R. Martin book cover

George R. R. Martin 
$20.50 from Amazon
7
Mockingjayt by Suxanne Collins book cover

Suzanne Collins
$9.80 from Amazon
8
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins book cover

Suzanne Collins
$5.01 from Amazon
9
The Amateur by Edward Klein book cover

Edward Klein
$16.77 from Amazon
10
American Grown by Michelle Obama book cover

Michelle Obama
$16.00 from Amazon
Prices correct on 31/05/2012

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Having been widely panned in just about every review I've read, it saddens me a little bit that people are still clammering to buy copies of the Fifty Shades trilogy - are we all so lacking in our own sex lives that we are willing to put up with atrocious writing to live vicariously through some cobbled together fan fiction? I could explain away the success of the first book based mainly on the curiosity factor, but why, oh why, are people continuing to trawl through this guff? Go and have your own explosive sex life and pick up a decent piece of literature between orgasms. Fffft. Ok, rant over. Something I've actually been looking forward to reading, Bring up the Bodies, Hilary Mantel's long-awaited sequel to her booker-winning Wolf Hall, is finally here - I shall be grabbing a copy asap. The rest of the top ten is much the same as it's been for a few months with little movement, although I am enjoying gauging how far through George R. R. Martin's epic series the average reader is, by which books are making the chart.

The top ten bestselling books in May, according to Amazon UK:

1
Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James book cover

E L James
£3.00 from Amazon
2
Fifty Shades Darker by E L James book cover

E L James
£3.00 from Amazon
3
Fifty Shades Freed by E L James book cover

E L James

£3.00 from Amazon
4
Gok Cooks Chinese Food by Gok Wan book cover

Gok Wan
£8.86 from Amazon
5
The Thread by Victoria Hislop book cover

Victoria Hislop
£2.99 from Amazon
6
Bringing Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel book cover

Hilary Mantel
£8.86 from Amazon
7
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes book cover

Jojo Moyes
£3.86 from Amazon
8
The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins book cover

Suzanne Collins
£14.30 from Amazon
9
A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin book cover

Georg R. R. Martin
£3.86 from Amazon
10
A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin book cover

George R. R. Martin
£3.86  from Amazon
Prices correct on 31/05/2012

Review: The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman (Book 3, His Dark Materials)

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The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman book cover
The Amber Spyglass (2000) is the final part of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. The novel picks up on the hills of CittĂ gazze with Will searching for Lyra who, unbeknown to him, is held captive, drugged and unconscious, by Mrs Coulter in another world entirely. Will meets the angels Balthamos and Baruch; a homosexual couple who urge Will to take the subtle knife to Lord Asriel, but Will decides that Lyra’s predicament is of the most importance and, assisted by the Chevalier Tialys and the Lady Salmakia, two Gallivespian (a race of tiny people) spies in the employ of Lord Asriel, Will manages to rescue Lyra. With Lyra restored, the two protagonists’ plans converge and they agree to visit the Land of the Dead so that Lyra can make amends to Roger, her friend who was murdered in the first book, and so that Will can be reunited with his father John Parry. This is a perilous mission, made all the more difficult by the fact that the Gallivespians insist on accompanying the children, all the time keeping an eye on the subtle knife. Meanwhile, the scientist Mary Malone has crossed through CittĂ gazze and into a world inhabited by Mulefa; a species that travel around on detachable seed pods, which their bodies have evolved to harness. Mary stays with the Mulefa and learns much about their culture. However, whilst the heroes are pursuing their various courses, the Church is moving too. Concerned by the prophecy identifying Lyra as the girl who will commit the original sin for a second time, and provoke a second fall, the Church dispatches Father Gomez to assassinate Lyra before she can fulfil the prophecy. For his part, Lord Asriel is preparing to launch war against the Authority in an attempt to ‘kill god’; a symbolically frail and failing being. As the various plotlines tangle together great shifts are experienced, from the personal to the cosmic, and for Lyra and Will their quest will lead them to places of discovery that they can barely imagine.

Central to the story is Pullman’s belief in free-will and the power of knowledge over repression, and his deep dislike of organised religion. In this context Pullman sets his inquisitive heroes against a church staunchly in opposition to freedom of thought. The idea of salvation through knowledge becomes increasingly powerful and, although their adventures are fantastical, Will and Lyra survive them not by relying on fate – a mystical guiding light – but by knowing truth from fantasy: it’s knowledge that saves them. Throughout the series Pullman inverts the idea of the fall, and turns it into a positive and transformative process, which enlightens rather than corrupts. In The Amber Spyglass this come to a head with Mary taking on the role of tempter, here the enlightener, by describing her own sexual awakening, and transferring the significance to Will and Lyra – it’s their sexual awakening that saves the world(s).

By re-working the idea of original sin, Pullman not only champions knowledge but also brings in the idea that the ultimate goal of childhood is sexual experience, which leads to adulthood. Indeed, despite being a series in which children hold the key to salvation, His Dark Materials, places far greater emphasis on adult knowledge than childhood intuition. As The Amber Spyglass concludes there are multiple instances where Lyra is shown the fragility of her childhood ways and the value of hard-earned knowledge, and equally, adults are relied upon to provide the young protagonists with vital information and assistance at key times throughout the series. For Pullman then, adult consciousness is the ultimate state.

Interestingly, although he champions free will, Pullman gives his protagonists few options at each juncture and this creates ambiguity around the idea, and points to a determinism of sorts – if not biblical then biological. Equally, although Will and Lyra experience the sexual awakening that for Pullman represents the passage into adulthood, they return to roles as dependent children at the end of The Amber Spyglass.

In terms of pure storytelling, the plot begins to fragment and is far less coherent on a surface level than the previous books. Too much of the novel is spent away from Will and Lyra, and is preoccupied with theological points. Here Pullman’s vast imagination opens its wings and creates a glorious, rich universe, but the breadth of this creation is sometimes to the detriment of the plot. Some of the larger issues are not fully explored, whilst other, smaller, issues are discussed to the level of minutiae. The Mulefa take up too much space in the narrative – though they embody many interesting, evolutionary and cultural ideas, they are simply too conceptual to be dwelt on for so long. However, the fragmented plot makes an important point in that Will and Lyra come to understand that their quest is not linear, without a neat beginning and end, but instead is a multifarious and ongoing struggle, representative of life and the noble struggles that protect and preserve things of value. For all the deep thematic writing, it is the characters that hold the explosion of ideas together. One becomes incredibly emotionally-invested in Will and Lyra’s story and the end is heartbreakingly sad, particularly for a junior book. Most importantly, Pullman’s characters are flawed; Lyra is a liar, Will is a murderer – there is no sentimentality about children, and this makes the characters wonderfully easy to relate to on an emotional level.

The Amber Spyglass is bigger and more intense than the previous books in the trilogy, with Pullman’s philosophy and imagination taking over. That Pullman manages to explore vast existential themes and draw on quantum physics and the thoughts of Milton and Blake, amongst others, whilst delivering an accessible and digestible story for younger readers is some achievement. Yet for all its vast themes, the trilogy doesn’t offer an answer to the big questions; it simply offers a way to approach the unknown with courage. Pullman maintains that good stories must have their foundations in truth – an opinion echoed by the Harpies – and so his trilogy deals with the fundamental truths of the human condition, difficult or troubling as they might be for young readers. Perhaps the bleakest, but at the same time most life-affirming, idea is represented through the ghosts’ fate as they leave the land of the dead: there is no promise of a glorious heaven, instead their forms simply dissolve – Pullman clear that there is nothing beyond death, and insistent that to live in the moment and not defer the realisation of one’s personal heaven is the most perfect mode of existence.

As the culmination of the series, The Amber Spyglass is broad and at times there are too many plotlines. However, the themes are sensitively drawn out, and the trilogy itself is an example of intelligent, exciting, and engaging junior fiction. Young readers might not appreciate the full richness of the books, but will undoubtedly return to them again and again as they mature. Undoubtedly His Dark Materials sits at the pinnacle of contemporary junior fiction: truly a modern classic.


Useful Links
Reviews of The Amber Spyglass on Amazon (UK)
Reviews of The Amber Spyglass on Amazon (US)

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Review: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

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The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes book cover
The Sense of an Ending (2011) is Julian Barnes’s Booker prize-winning exploration of time and memory. A short novel, The Sense of the Ending follows the life of Tony Webster through his time as a pseudo-intellectual adolescent and later as his looks back at his former self and his life. The young Tony was part of a four-set at school with Alex, Colin and the incisively intelligent, Adrian. The four engage in schoolyard philosophising, but begin to drift apart when they each set off for different universities. When Adrian, now a student at Cambridge, begins to date the enigmatic but difficult, Veronica, Tony’s ex-girlfriend, the group disintegrates altogether, with Tony writing Adrian and Veronica a bile-filled letter expressing his opinion of them both. After graduation Tony goes travelling in America, and it’s here that the news of Adrian’s suicide reaches him. Seen as a philosophical act by one who has rejected the premise of life, the suicide fails to bring the group back together, and Tony continues on to lead an unextraordinary life. On retirement, Tony, now a divorcee and father to one married daughter, is forced to look back on his youth after he receives an unexpected bequest. As he is drawn back into Veronica’s world, he begins to question his own perception of history and, in line with Veronica’s consistent admonishments, attempts to ‘get it’.

The idea that memory is an entirely subjective concept, distorted by time and subsequent events, is visited repeatedly, and touches on something very poignant about human psychology and the way we subconsciously doctor our personal history to make it congruent with our own self-perception and subjective reality. The extent to which each of us must take responsibility for the lives and decisions of others is also discussed, with Tony forming part of an equation that brought about tragedy, but only a small part. That the narrative skipped over some of forty years of Tony’s life illustrates how little of significance Tony achieved during those years, and there’s a pathos and poignancy to his character as he looks back to the unadventurous and hollow life he has led, which will strike a chord with many.

The Sense of an Ending is tightly-plotted and comfortably concise. There is a slightly mechanical sense to the writing, but one quickly overcomes this. For a novel that feels a little straight-forward in style, The Sense of an Ending really grabs one’s attention and demands to be read in a sitting. The neat use of imagery, particularly the time/water parallel with reference to the Severn Bore and the egg broken by Veronica’s mother foreshadowing her later tragedy, is well-executed, if not the most subtle part of the novel. If one was to make a criticism of the style, it would be that the build-up to the final revelation feels a little contrived, with a great deal of dramatic, but slightly silly, circumlocution. The characters themselves are all entirely ordinary. They possess no special qualities and are thrust into barely exceptional circumstances. Clearly Barnes is writing the human condition as a general rule. As a narrator, Tony’s claims to have remembered only part of his past at times feels ingenuous - particularly based on the baroness of the rest of his life, and the reader is left to question whether his unreliability is as a consequence of natural human decay, or if he is being selectively honest with the reader.

The letter which Tony sends to Veronica and Adrian is likely a reflection of the infamous letter that Barnes sent his then friend, Martin Amis, following their falling out, and there is definitely a sense of atonement and self-contemplation present in the novel. The Ending of the title can be read as either an allusion to death, or as the conclusion to episodes in one’s life; as one draws closer to the ultimate ending, the latter becomes more important: the making sense of one’s life. At the novel’s close Tony apportions a wholly unreasonable amount of blame on his own head and it’s hard to grasp whether he believes in personal responsibility to this extent, or whether he simply believes himself to be responsible for all bad things – after all he was but a small part of the equation that equalled tragedy and could not be responsible for the actions and decisions of others. This, in combination with the fact that he could never really have been expected to ‘get it’, leave a strange sense, almost as though one is still only privy to part of the facts - that history has not been fully related - and in this way it is the reader who lacks the sense of an ending.

This is a tidy little book, although it feels more like the work of a well-ordered creative writing student, than an experienced novelist; everything is terribly neat and carefully plotted, and the devices used are good but often lack subtlety. A good read, but not necessarily what I'd expected.


Useful Links
Reviews of The Sense of an Ending on Amazon (UK)
Reviews of The Sense of an Ending on Amazon (US)

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Article: How to Run a Successful Literary Event

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Recently my friend and colleague, Kim, and I were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to organise a large literary event through work. We had an enormous amount of fun doing this and hope that we delivered an enjoyable afternoon for attendees too (feedback indicates we probably did!). And so, having organised my first literary event, I thought I’d share with you how I organised it, and some tips that I wish someone had given me when Kim and I started planning our event. Before I move on to the tips that I picked up along the way, I’ll first give you a quick overview of the event that we hosted.

Ours was a programme to help celebrate the bicentenary of Charles Dickens and, whilst we ran a series of events, the largest was an afternoon tea accompanied by a couple of short talks by Dickens experts and a small display of Victorian artefacts relating to Dickens, all held in a beautiful hall, with famous paintings hung to all sides. Just over 100 people attended (despite our limit being 100) and we spent a very enjoyable afternoon talking about Dickens’s classic, Oliver Twist, and getting to know each other a little better. We had a wonderful range of attendees; from students to local book groups, and everything in between. This was the first major event that either Kim or I had organised and, whilst we don’t claim to have run it perfectly, hopefully some of our experiences will come in handy for any of you setting out to host a literary event, regardless of the scale.

Our Dickens afternoon tea
Create a Vision

Kim and I were given the roughest of briefs for our event and left to more or less shape it as we saw fit. This was an incredible luxury, and we were very lucky, but it also meant that we had to be very firm in our own minds about what the sort of event that we wanted to run. To me, starting with a very strong vision is hugely important; it gives you something to work towards, an end goal to have in mind when you hit difficulties or have decisions to make. More importantly though, it is incredibly motivational, and motivation can be a big thing when you’re trying to pull together a lot of different strands.

My best tip for creating a vision is to think big. You can always scale plans back later, but start with a big, rich vision of the event you want to run. Imagine it vividly, what it looks like and how it feels to have achieved it. This is a technique used to help achieve goals in all sorts of fields, and it works brilliantly if you commit to your vision. Kim and I thought big – beyond the boundaries of what was expected of us – and we worked relentlessly towards this goal. It’s amazing how much falls into place when you have a resolute mind and a clear vision.

Establish a Budget

After creating a vision for your event you need to start working out the details, and how you are going to go about achieving them. Before you take action though, you need to establish a relatively detailed budget. Money doesn’t need to be a limit on your ambition, but for planning your approach to organising the event you’ll need to know how much you can afford to spend, and on what.

If you have a pre-determined budget, great. If not, you need to work out how much you are going to be able to allocate, raise from ticket sales, or generally beg for the project. The most sensible approach is to decide upon a ball-park figure and then itemise this. Once you have this you will be able to go about trying to raise the capital with an informed plan.

Whether you have an accurate budget or a ball-park figure, you need to break this down into individual spends. Every event is different, so you need to think yours through carefully, and work out all of the things you will potentially need to spend money on. For most events the key expenses will be on; the venue, catering, licensing, marketing, and speakers fees, usually in that order, although you may be able to strike a deal to limit some of these costs or negate them enirely. It is also a good idea to include a contingency of 5-10% to allow for the unexpected expenses, which inevitably crop up.

Once you have your forecast budget, you need to make sure you have your hands on the cash to fund it before you do anything else. This means speaking to whoever is funding the event, raising the money, or simply setting money aside to use before income from ticket sales come in. In any case, it’s good practice to have the money to cover your budget sitting in a bank account, to which you have access, before you start committing to things financially.

Book a Venue

The venue is very often the biggest expense when running an event. Certainly there are spaces that can be used for low fees or even for free, but most suitable venues will come with a charge.

Hopefully your vision will give you a good idea of the type of venue you will need to accommodate your plans, but it’s important to think about when you’ll need the venue and for how long, how many people you expect to attend your event, where they will be travelling from, and any special requirements you will have (e.g. catering, projection/IT facilities, accessibility, etc.). Make a list of your requirements and your venue budget and then search for venues that meet those requirements.

It’s a good idea to have a shortlist of potential venues, and to get a quote from each of these for comparison purposes: the more information you have the better! When you speak to the renters of each venue space make sure you have a list of questions to hand that covers all your requirements. If a venue can’t meet some of them, don’t be afraid to ask for a discount to compensate for this fact.

When you’ve got quotes from all of your shortlist, compare the facilities they can provide and consider the cost of each venue relative to their suitability for your event. In most cases you’ll be able to find a venue that can accommodate all of your needs at a reasonable price, and most venues will be happy to negotiate if they know you have spoken to local competitors.

Nb. It’s important to get the venue booked in as early as possible. Kim and I made a lot of plans on the assumption that we would be able to book our venue for a particular date, only to find that it wasn’t available when we wanted it – or for several weeks either side of our date! This led to some quick rearrangements, and luckily we were able to move forward without any major alterations. But be careful – venues should be booked 3-6 months in advance in most cases, although this does vary, so speak to your target venues as early as possible and find out what their calendars are like.

Book Speakers

Most literary events feature authors or speakers in some capacity, and it’s these that will normally determine interest from potential attendees. With that in mind, it’s important to think about your intended audience and who is likely to appeal to them.

When you have a good idea of the type of authors or speakers that you want to approach, and exactly what you’ll be asking them to do, then you need to make a long-list of potential targets for consideration. From this long-list you will want to draw up a short-list of prime targets having considered the merits of your list. It’s often best to get a range of opinions on potential authors/speakers, as what appeals to you might not appeal to someone else.

Once you have a short-list of targets you should approach them (or their representatives) one at a time to check their availability. When you make contact, it’s important to outline exactly what will be required of the author/speaker (topics of discussion, length of talk, etc.) and what recompense they can expect (authors will often attend events free provided they are able to promote their latest book). If you are willing to negotiate on pay/perks then make this clear. Equally, be clear on your policy about self-promotion during the event (is it acceptable for the author to bring copies of their book to sell, etc.?).

Work through your list until you have the desired number of authors/speakers, but even then make sure to keep your list and have in mind contingency plans in case any of the authors/speakers that you have booked drop out nearer the time of your event (sadly this does happen, and can be incredibly disruptive if you’re not prepared).

Market

This is the point that will really make or break your event. The key to running a successful literary event is making sure that the right people know about it, and that they attend!

You can never start the marketing too early. Once you have the date, venue, and authors/speakers booked in you need to start marketing immediately. From previous points you should have a good idea of the type of people you expect to attend your event, so you need to think about the consumer behaviours of those type of people and where they can be reached.

As a rough, and all-encompassing guide, you want to run a social media campaign on Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media sites that are relevant to your niche audience. This should include creating an event page on Facebook that allows users to stay up-to-date with the event and spread the word to others, and also allows you to build a mailing list quickly and easily. You also want to have a Twitter account that will tweet updates about the event, preferably using a hashtag you have designated specifically for the event.

It’s also a good idea to set up a blog that has details about booking a ticket for the event, and allows you to post regular updates about the authors/speakers and how the preparations are developing. This gives you a place on the web for people to discover via search engines, and which will hold all the relevant information for potential attendees, as well as links to pages of interest (including author/speaker websites, details of the venue and how to get there, etc.).

In terms of print media, leaflets are an excellent, all-purpose way to advertise. These can be left at bookshops, libraries, and local tourism centres. For larger events, they can also be distributed with publications (newspapers, magazines, etc.) or direct by distribution companies. In many cases it’s also worth running adverts in local newspapers and trade publications. This is often a cheap way to reach a geographical or niche audience. Posters can be used in a very similar way to leaflets, although there tends to be less distribution channels.

As a side note on print marketing, it’s always a good idea to link back to one of your webpages, normally your blog or Facebook page. Beyond simply listing your web address you might want to consider using a QR code to link to your webpage.

You need to keep a close eye on the success of your marketing, and any metrics you can collect will help with this. If ticket sales are slow, or you notice that some advertising channels are proving less successful than you had hoped, it might be time to refocus your campaign. You might want to change the channels through which you are advertising, or rebrand your material to appeal to a different niche, or even to appeal more successfully to your chosen niche. If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to check out how comparable events are advertised, or how your niche audience are reached by companies/promoters.

Plan

With everything in place, bookings (hopefully) flooding in, and the date of your event rapidly approaching, the final thing you need to do is have a plan of action for the day, or days leading up to your event.

The best way to do this is to write a breakdown of all the tasks that will need to happen during preparation for the event and the event itself (no matter how small) and who is responsible for them. You can then use this information to create a timeline and running order for your event and the preparation, which you can use on the day to check that everything is in hand and that all the things that should have taken place, have. You will want to have a physical copy of this on the day, and also a list of key contact details in case you need to get in touch with anyone whilst at the venue or on the move.

Meet with, or contact all the key stakeholders, including authors/speakers, in the week running up to your event to discuss the plan and make sure they are fully aware of what they need to do, and when. Provided everyone has all the information everything should run smoothly, however, unexpected problems always crop up. The best way to avoid these or negate their effect, other than fully briefing your team, is to plan for worst case scenarios. Before the event, sit down and think of all the things that could go wrong and how you’ll respond if they do. For example, if an author/speaker doesn’t turn up, how will you fill the time? If the catering is late, how will you rearrange the running order? And so on. This is planning in the extreme, but the more preparation you’ve done before the day, the more smoothly your event will run on it.

The other thing to prepare before the event is any materials that your audience might need. In our case, Kim and I had some handouts, discussion questions, and feedback forms to prepare, and most events will have some form of printed material that they will circulate. A lot of people will leave this to the last minute, thinking of these things as almost inconsequential. Try to be the exception, plan your materials well in advance and have them designed, printed and ready to go about a week before your event (any further in advance and you run the risk of late alterations costing you money). On the day, it’s the small touches that can really make your event special, so do the little things exceptionally.

Enjoy

Having spent a lot of time and energy putting together your perfect event make sure you leave yourself enough time and space on the day to enjoy it and share the experience with your attendees. If you’ve planned heavily in advance and delegated sensibly, you should be able to stay on top of things without micro-managing and spending the whole event worrying about the finer details.

Literary events are a fantastic way to share your passion with others – make sure you create that special atmosphere and then dive in and enjoy it.


If you’d like to know more about how I set about organising literary events, I’d be more than happy to share my expertise. Get in touch at bibliofreakblog@gmail.com and tell me about your event.

I’m also planning to write further articles on this topic, so if there are any areas discussed, which you’d like expanded on, do let me know in the comments below.