One of the best things about having real bookshops is that you can meet people there. Not just other book lovers, and booksellers full of advice to help you choose your next book, but authors. Our events teams across the country strive to bring you closer to your favourite writers, and here Steven Cooper from our national events team, looks back at some highlights from February, as well as giving a preview of some exciting happenings coming up this month…
Maybe, in the distant future, where our every move is monitored by a totalitarian government and we send our children to fight to the death in a spooky forest, we’ll look back at February 2013 as a turning point in British mentality. Maybe now, amidst a seemingly never-ending horse meat scandal, is the time Britain will return to its provincial roots, turning its back on faceless conglomerates and instead to local communities for sustenance and entertainment. Maybe we’ll see February 2013’s Waterstones events as a key component in this change.
The month began, as mentioned previously on this blog, with John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars Tour, now, officially, our biggest tour ever. The pace didn’t let up either, as we launched straight into Scottish tours with authors Stuart Macbride, Ann Cleeves and Christopher Brookmyre. There were also two huge signings with James Bowen and Bob in Staines and Derby, with fans lining the streets to catch a glimpse of the famous cat.
Waterstones on Lincoln High Street held another enormous signing with local author Margaret Dickinson in February. Margaret always visits the shop to celebrate the release of her latest book and attracts a staggering number of people: it’s a comforting reminder of what can happen when we support local authors and the importance of the relationship between Waterstones and its community.
If there is one author we can count on more than any other to draw a huge signing crowd wherever he goes it’s Sir David Attenborough, and this was proven in Tunbridge Wells when he signed copies of Drawn From Paradise with co-author Errol Fuller. Sir David has been remarkably generous with his time over the years, holding events and signings for all of his publications, and it’s always brilliant to see the diverse range of readers he attracts.
Slightly different if similarly successful, novelist Nicholas Sparks visited Piccadilly to talk about Safe Haven and brought along some Hollywood glamour in the shape of the film’s stars Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough. Sadly, rumours that Josh’s wife, the mighty Fergie, would be dropping by failed to materialise.
As we raced towards March the events kept coming, with a flurry of activity around the country on the same day. Wayne Rooney’s Manchester fans has their patience rewarded when, after 2 illness-related postponements, the man himself appeared in Waterstones Arndale Centre to sign My Decade In The Premier League. Maggie O’Farrell launched her new novel, and our Book of the Month for March, the gloriously reviewed Instructions For A Heatwave, with cocktails and a reading in Waterstones Piccadilly. We filmed the event so you can catch up on it if you missed it.
Meanwhile, John Barrowman and his sister Carole were visiting schools in Glasgow talking about their book The Bone Quill, followed by a signing in Waterstones Newton Mearns. The day after they hopped over to Edinburgh, where they also visited schools and signed in Waterstones West End.
Looking forward to March
Continuing in the tradition of starting the month with a blockbuster Young Adult event, Twilight creator Stephenie Meyer will be in Waterstones Piccadilly to sign her books, including the movie tie-in edition of The Host. World Book Day falls on March 7th this year and shops around the country will be helping children celebrate reading with a range of activities based around the 2013 World Book Day authors. There are some fantastic children’s authors touring in March too, with John and Carole E. Barrowman, Cathy Cassidy and Darren Shan visiting our shops, meaning there’s plenty going on to satisfy the literary needs of readers of all ages. And if you have slightly younger children and are struggling to make them understand the concept of the naughty step then Supernanny herself, Jo Frost, will be visiting a number of our shops to host parenting surgeries.
Of course, not all of our activity is focussed on the under-20s. Fresh from her incredible Piccadilly event, Maggie O’Farrell will be attempting to bring some of that Heatwave to Scotland with events in Edinburgh and Glasgow. On the opposite end of the weather spectrum Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life, an altogether snowier book, will be the subject of a signing in her home town of York.
There’s definitely a strong foodie theme running through our March programme. Several shops are hosting their own Bake Sales for Comic Relief, while Clandestine Cake Club members will continue to launch their new book in our shops (with cake). Waterstones Bluewater will be welcoming both Gino D’Acampo and Nadia Sawalha to sign their new cookbooks while Giles Coren will be discussing How to Eat Out in Leeds.
It’s also a fantastic month for fiction events, with James Herbert discussing Ash in Brighton and Kevin Sampson launching his new novel in our Merseyside shops. Plus, a certain US blockbuster author will be dropping by for some Easter events…
Steven Cooper, for Waterstones.com/blog
You can find details of these and more of our events at Waterstones.com/events.