Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Thursday 22 March 2012

S. J. Watson & Rachel Joyce - Hertfordshire Libraries LitFest 2012

I attended an event this week, 'The Road to Publication', as part of Hertfordshire Litfest 2012, a programme of events in conjunction with Transworld and Cornerstone publishers.

This was a great evening, with two superb guest debut authors, S. J. Watson, author of Before I Go To Sleep, and Rachel Joyce, author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, and hosted by Alison Barrow from Transworld publishers.

It was fascinating listening to both of them being interviewed, talking about the writing process, their experiences as debut authors, and it was lovely to hear them reading extracts from their novels. They both signed books and chatted at the end of the evening too. 

What a great event, a wonderful opportunity for readers and aspiring writers, and a chance to get out and support our libraries too.

There are events still to come (click here for the listings) with some great authors including Ben Kane, S. J. Bolton and Robert Goddard, so if you are nearby do have a look!

I have read and enjoyed both of these novels. You can read my review of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry here. 

Before I Go To Sleep is the bestselling book in the UK so far this year. 
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry has been chosen as one of the Waterstones 11 debut novels of 2012, and I understand it will be their book of the month for April 2012. 

Congratulations to both authors on their success. 



Some brief notes on some of the things discussed:

Rachel Joyce - Wanted to celebrate the ordinary with her story. You take a little bit of people you meet with you as you go through life. Locations broad and wide in this book. Handing over her finished first draft like jumping into the unknown, needing to know if her book read like an actual book. Harold seemed very real, her children started 'spotting' Harold as they were out and about! Rachel is enjoying spreading the word about her novel now it is completed. She writes in her shed, alongside the garlic and apples in there! She spoke about stories on the radio, where every secen has to move the reader on, have a plot point. 

S. J. Watson -  The original idea for his novel grew from reading an obituary of a man who couldn't keep new memories beyond several minutes, and had no firm memories beyond when he was in his twenties, but he had lived until his eighties. He discussed the fact that sometimes we think we remember things that never actually happened, the notion of truth can be nebulous for all of us, let alone someone in Christine's condition (Christine is the main character in his novel). You being to think as your character, Christine felt very real whilst writing the story, and she still does. He has discovered he is a morning writer, although he isn't a morning person! 



  1. What a fab opportunity Lins. Thanks for blogging about it x

    1. Thanks Shaz for reading and commenting, it was a really good evening. x


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