Sarah Hall: review and reading

My review of Sarah Hall's The Beautiful Indifference is live at Bookmunch.

I went to see Sarah read in the Deansgate Waterstone's in Manchester on Wednesday. I'd only heard about the event by chance a couple of days beforehand, on twitter, and I guess the advertising wasn't really up to much, because only six people turned up - and that included a Waterstone's staff member. How depressing is that? You hear about ill-attended readings, sure, but still: this is a Booker-shortlisted author in Manchester's biggest bookshop - and Manchester's a pretty literary town. As my friend Andrea commented, that couldn't have been good for sales. It was such a missed opportunity for her fans here, too, because she was excellent - didn't bat an eyelid at the diminished audience, read a section from the first story in the collection, and then conducted a really fascinating Q&A with the half-dozen of us about her writing process, her relationship with her publisher (Faber), her cover designs and all sorts. My now-crawling lunatic baby roamed the rows of empty seats, squawking away to herself, and then made friends with the author (and a lovely Waterstone's lady) and I got a couple of books signed, so a good night was had, but I think Sarah Hall couldn't have been massively impressed by her Manchester public. If any of you get the chance to see her read in the future, jump at it: she's brilliant. (And the book isn't half bad either, of course!)

novel extract!

An extract from the first chapter of my novel-in-progress is on the internet! Huge thanks to Melissa Mann from Beat The Dust for saying yes. What a great start to the weekend! The rest of the issue is pretty wicked, too - I especially like Tania Hershman's Move Quickly Now, Ewan Morrison's Incident In A Mall #42, and Clare Pollard's A Night In Varanasi. Go, read!