On Tuesday evening Pushkin Press arranged a wonderful dinner at a small French restaurant in Soho. We ate way too much as one delicious dish after another was carried to the table, and I got to chat with the most interesting people from Pushkin, Riot Communications as well as journalists and buyers, critics and editors.
On Wednesday I began the day by being interviewed by Becki Hawkes for The Telegraph in the lobby of my hotel. Becki Hawkes is one of the people quoted on the back cover of Maresi, and it was great to sit and chat with her a while. That interview is still coming up. Then I was whisked off in a cab to Foyles Charing Cross where I had lunch with my absoultely wonderful translator Annie Prime. We had not met until then, but immediately hit it off. First off, Annie really gets my books. She's a wonderfully intuitive and sensitive translator, who patiently puts up with this nitpicky writer. I am so happy that she is coming to Finland this spring, to spend a whole month at a residency on Suomelinna! I will get to hang out with her more, which is brilliant.
Then it was time to do a stock signing of books, which I did first at Foyles, then at Waterstones Piccadilly and lastly at Daunts. I was escorted by the lovely Georgina Hanratty from Bounce, who told me a lot about how book selling works in the UK, which was very interesting. And I got to spend time in these lovely bookstores, which kind of was the highlight of the trip for me! I could of course have spent a day in each one of them. Foyles had such a massive selection of books, and the restaurant was lovely. Waterstones had a fabulous view over London and a wonderful atmosphere. And Daunts had the most interesting way of sorting books I have ever seen - by country! Travel books and poetry and fiction, all according to country. Very fresh and an extremely tempting way of displaying books! In general that is what struck me most: how temptingly and tantalizingly all the bookstores managed to present their wares. This is something the stores here in Finland should learn to do. I myself bought ten books in total (I traveled with a half-empty suitcase as I knew this would happen). I don't know when I have last bought that many in one day, from physical bookstores. Probably never.
|View from Waterstones|
|All of the books save one (a detective novel for my mother)|
After this I was knackered, grabbed a cab to the hotel and collapsed for all of, oh 40 minutes, before it was time to jump into another cab and head on over to the French restaurant for another dinner. And I have to say, everyone I met on my trip was so lovely and kind and interesting! Maybe it's because they are all book people? This time I met more bloggers, editors and journalists, and we had a marvelous time. I am still stunned that so many people came in support of Maresi! Annie Prime was also able to join, which was wonderful (I am using so many adjectives, I know, but I just can't help it).
Thursday I had an easier schedule. I spent the morning walking around Covent Garden, popping in and out of shops (and buying three discounted dresses at Cath Kidston...), eating lunch at Jamie Oliver's Italian restaurant and simply feeling that I was IN LONDON. After that I rested in my hotel room for a long time, just sipping tea and leafing thorugh the new books. In the afternoon I had one more interview, with the site For Books Sake, after which I ordered room service for the first time in my life (my room came with a voucher, so it was basically free) and then made my way to the Prince of Wales Theater which was a ten minute walk from my hotel. There I had a third-row seat for The Book of Mormon, which simply is the best musical I have ever seen. So professional, sharp, entertaining, funny and smart.
Friday was my last day in London, with one radio interview for Down the Rabbit Hole, time for an hour long walk along the Thames and then on to Heathrow, where I had afternoon tea with scones and clotted cream. And then - home.