So this week I headed off to what I will always call the Shoreditch House Literary Salon – except it’s no longer called that. For those not in the know, it’s an evening event that’s been running for a long time now, organised by journalist and author Damian Barr. He gets established and up-and-coming authors to come along and give a reading from their books, then has a little chat with them and does a Q&A after. It’s such a brilliant evening and I can’t recommend it enough.
Back when I was writing fiction regularly (sniff sniff), I used to go quite often with my friend and fellow authoress Rebecca Connell, but stopped going a few years ago as the novel-writing side of my life gave way to the desire to earn enough money to keep myself in socks. Anyway I’m pleased to say that the event is still going strong, even if it’s no longer held in Shoreditch House. Instead, the evening I went to was held in a ballroom at The Savoy – very swish. You used to get free pizza and gin and tonics at the Shoreditch House one, but this offering has been upgraded somewhat to free wine and sushi (which you have to buy alas). Probably for the best because from what I remember the pizza scrambling was always a rather uncouth affair – Becky and I used to position ourselves right by the bar to try to snatch a piece or two as it came out – there was never enough pizza to go round. Starving writers + rationed free food = not a pretty picture.
This last Salon featured four authors: Susan Calman, Garth Greenwell, Dame Joan Bakewell and my literary heroine Maggie O’Farrell, who gave a reading from her latest novel which I absolutely cannot wait to read and must now book a holiday to somewhere peaceful in order to devote proper time to devouring it. Not sure where the baby fits into that plan, alas. But I digress. If you’re at all interested in writing (or reading!) then I really suggest you try to come down to the Salon – it’s the kind of evening that makes you feel like you should be contributing (creatively at least) more to life, but in a good way. A motivating way. It’s also funny, relaxed and very enjoyable. Keep an eye on the Facebook page to find out the details of the next event – and be quick, as tickets sell out really fast. You can also listen to this week’s event on podcast – definitely worth doing, Joan Bakewell is an inspiration.