7th Mar 2011
For Books’ Sake Does World Book Night
Swooning over the shelves and shelves of green spines in Virago‘s offices
So it wasn’t technically part of World Book Night, but we’re including our jaunt to Victoria Embankment for a snoop around Virago‘s swish offices on Friday in this post because it was a wonderful way to start one of the most insanely hectic weekends we’ve ever had.
They invited us for a natter and a sneak peek at the titles they’re working on over the next few months, and we came away with a swag bag of books we can’t wait to get stuck into, including The Edwardians by Vita Sackville-West, Marilynne Robinson‘s Gilead, Rebel Girls by Jill Liddington and the forthcoming début novel by Katie Ward, Girl Reading. Keep your peepers peeled for reviews over the next few weeks!
Then it was onto to Trafalgar Square for a star-studded launch event featuring everyone from For Books’ Sake favourites Sarah Waters and Margaret Atwood to Nick Cave (who did a delightfully sleazy reading of the opening paragraphs of Lolita) and Alan Bennett.
By then, we’d hooked up with the folks from Cactus TV, the production company responsible for The TV Book Club. In an interview by Sarah Cawood, we were grilled about why we’d chosen Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin as our World Book Night title, and how and why we’d gotten involved.
But little did we know that they had a surprise up their sleeves for us…
Look, Mum…it’s us! With the almighty Atwood!
We met Margaret Atwood. Somewhat miraculously, we managed to contain our fangirlish swoons and squeals of excitement until we were safely outside. Even when she took a photo of us (and then later blogged it), and asked us where we would be giving out The Blind Assassin the following day. When we told her about the Million Women Rise march and the London Rollergirls, she seemed to approve.
Foyles saves the day!
The next day, however, disaster struck! Our local library, which had promised our copies of The Blind Assassin would be delivered in time, hadn’t received them. The TV Book Club film crew were waiting for us, we’d told Margaret Atwood all about our honourable intentions, but we had no books.
After speaking to a friendly but clearly monstrously overworked lady at World Book Night, we were told our best bet was to see if we could find some copies ourselves. We put an SOS out on Twitter, and Foyles came to our rescue.
So our Saturday started with an epic quest to their Westfield shop to collect the books. Not the calm and collected start we’d envisaged, but at least we got our grubby mitts on them in the end.
The Million Women Rise march rocks up to Trafalgar Square
Then it was back to Trafalgar Square, to meet the Million Women Rise march as it convened for a rally. Celebrating the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, as well as to highlight the impact on women of government cuts to resources such as support for survivors of domestic violence or sexual abuse.
Go, go, Harbour Grudges!
After that, we dashed across town yet again to Earl’s Court, for the fifth bout of this season’s clashes between the London Rollergirls. We gave books away to members of the audience, and even managed to give copies to Lola Vulkano and Ecchi Killer, two of my favourite roller derby team, the Harbour Grudges.
And finally, once all but one of our copies had found new homes, we bid farewell to the film crew and indulged in large glass of booze or two. But the last of our World Book Night books, we saved for you.
We’ve got one left, and if you want it all you need to do is comment on this post telling us so, and we’ll choose a winner at the end of the week.