Well, that was fun. Kind of exhausting, though. Many thanks to all the readers, from Birmingham to Brussels, from Beverley to Marseille, who came to meet me over the last few weeks to hear me read from Expo 58 and talk about it. I enjoyed all the events but I must say that, above all, presenting the novel in one of the spheres of the Atomium was a great, truly memorable moment in my life; and I must also give special thanks to my audience in Birmingham, where I always (despite having abandoned the place more than 25 years ago) seem to get a warm reception, with lots of nice discussions with people afterwards about The Rotters’ Club in particular. And now, finally, I can huddle down in my study as autumn kicks in and start thinking about what to write next …
Before that, though, a few things to mention:
This Thursday (October 31st) I’m doing a webchat on goodreads. You can go over there now and post questions about Expo 58 or indeed any of my books.
Last week finally saw the publication of an English-language edition of The Story of Gulliver, my re-telling of Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels for 8-12 year olds. The publishers are the wonderful Pushkin Press and they’ve done a beautiful edition. Sara Oddi’s illustrations are particularly stunning.
Advance warning of another book of mine that will be coming out soon. Three books in as many months! This one is a substantial collection of non-fiction called Marginal Notes, Doubtful Statements. It contains bits and pieces of journalism going all the way back to my days writing about music for The Wire in 1990, and coming right up to date with my most recent pieces on British satire and Flann O’Brien for the London Review of Books this year. There are quite a few political and autobiographical essays as well. Penguin are publishing it as an e-book only at the beginning of December. I’d say it would make a nice Christmas present but I don’t really know how you would go about wrapping it up …
Just over a month now until the Italian and UK publication of Expo 58. I’ve been busy with my webmistress updating this website over the last few days, and before long we should have a page for the new book, along with new pages for my children’s books The Story of Gulliver (which will be published in the UK by Pushkin Press in October) and The Broken Mirror.
As if that weren’t enough, there will be yet another publication in December, when Penguin will be issuing an ebook called Marginal Notes, Doubtful Statements, which is an anthology of my journalism and non-fiction from the last twenty years.
All this flurry of activity requires me, of course, to abandon my life as a literary hermit and - for a few weeks at least - emerge blinking and squinting into the sunlight, so that I can talk to readers at a number of public events which are listed on the news page. In fact I’m really looking forward to these, especially my visits to Sarzana and Birmingham and, best of all, the launching of the Dutch and UK editions of Expo 58 at the Atomium in Brussels in October.
Wherever you are in the next few months - Italy, Belgium or Britain - please come along to meet me and get your books signed! (Or perhaps not , as I’ve a feeling it’s going to be the unsigned copies of Expo 58 which will be the collectors’ items in years to come …)
I’m pleased to say that the final copy-editing process has been completed on Expo 58, and the definitive text has been sent to the printers.
Meanwhile Penguin are on the point of unveiling Jonathan Gray’s fantastic cover design. Have a look here to see some of his sources of inspiration …