Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Adele Geras at Oxfam Didsbury

First of the evening Oxfam Bookfest readings in the Didsbury shop last night: the prolific Adele Geras, who gave one her lovely relaxed, enjoyable and informative evenings. She opened by reading to us from the proof of her new novel Dido, which puts an interesting spin on the story of Dido and Aneas and is a really great read for young adults (I know, because I read a manuscript proof). There's Adele above with the beautiful proof cover - the colours are amazing, like jewels - and here she is reading from the text proof:

Then Adele asked for questions and, trust her, she got us all talking and a very interesting discussion ensued, which took us, via her impressive career, to the current monumental changes in publishing, such as ebooks and the demise of the mid list in publishing since the loss of the Net Book Agreement. Some interesting facts emerged: Oxfam's Wendy, who is in charge of a wonderfully stocked bookshop in Didsbury, said that even second-hand buyers prefer paperbacks over hardbacks nowadays, which surprised many of us.

Finally someone asked Adele for another reading, and she read from the American edition of her wonderful book of Jewish folk tales, My Grandmother's Stories. I had only ever seen the UK edition with its stunning mostly black-and white illustrations by Jael Jordan, and it was a great surprise to see the difference in this edition. As Adele pointed out, the illustrations in this edition, also lovely but by a different artist, were set in Russia rather than Israel, jollier and mostly in colour, and the effect was to create a very different kind of book - which shows the power of the image in creating a book.

And then the evening was over, which it was hard to believe - it had gone very quickly.

Tonight it's Nicholas Royle and Thomas Fletcher, and on Wednesday I'll be taking my turn. Readings at 7 pm. Further details in the sidebar here.

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