We had a special launch for my short story collection Knives last night. We expected forty and nearly eighty came. Publisher Peter Mortimer, (Iron Press) brought his boxes of books and many friends, colleagues and lots of very welcome newcomers came along. (see avril's account at www.avriljoy.com).
A writing friend, Jackie, brought her sixteen year old daughter Ashleigh and has just emailed me. 'I just wanted to let you know that Ashleigh thought you were ‘mint'. This, if you don’t know, is the ultimate accolade among today’s youth – it my day it was always ‘ace’... She’s also taken your book so it may be some time before I get a look in.'
That has just made my day.
My friend Terry, who, apart from being a seriously good photographer, is known as a country music disc jockey for BishopFM, with internet fans round the world, took some photographs. Here's me getting carried away with my own prose... I am reading from Glass, my short story about a young burgler who drops in on a vicar's wife through her glass roof.
My friend Avril and I gave the reading as a kind of double act, an 'In Conversation With WR'. As always she was great - knew the stories inside and out and threw me some very inspiring questions. She read an extract from the story 'My Name Is Christine' which refers to the savage experience of some of the women we worked with in prison. She read it with such feeling.
My cousin Carol Winskill, whom I have not seen for years, came along with her husband Jack. When I read from the story 'The Making of a Man' ( about a boy's first day working undergound at in the pit), I referred to her father, my Uncle Tom, a very clever and thoughtful man who loved the pit and knew the layers of the earth like the veins on his hands.
So thank you, all you lovely people who went home my book in your bags and pockets. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed reading it to you last night. Let me know.
PS Next Wednesday to the Hexham Book Festival to talk about Knives and Sandie Shaw and the Millionth Marvell Cooker with a talk called 'The Long And The Short of It - about the two different modes of writing. Come, if you fancy it...