The Spoken Word
Since my booking to use the carrel didn't start until 2.15pm I had time to take a walk along Euston Road to my publishers' huge office block - 'Hodder Tower'. There are glass elevators and a large glass atrium at the front which of course houses a Christmas tree at this time of year. I dropped something off for Amber - my editor's excellent assistant who is leaving Sceptre after being there for five years and is looking for some new adventure. I am sorry that she is going and shall miss her, but she has promised to tell me where she ends up next so that is good.
All the buildings along Euston Road are massive office blocks, lots of glass and futuristic-looking buildings and outside each one was a small clutch of smokers intently and silently sucking up nicotine in as short a time as possible.
But the main reason for my trip to London was the A P Watt Author party. I enjoyed this even more this year than I did last year, although I was feeling like I shouldn't go since I felt I had nothing much to celebrate, and I doubt that I would have gone in at all if my agent's assistant, Philippa Donovan, hadn't spotted me so then I had to go in then and I was very glad I did.
I talked to many people but have little memory of much that was said because the wine flowed pretty freely as usual. But I remember laughing a lot which was a great relief and meeting some very interesting people including Michael Cox (and his daughter Emily) whose book I am looking forward to reading called THE MEANING OF NIGHT. It has been sold in 19 different countries and had been lurking inside the author's head for 30 years. It is set in Victorian London and is a type of literary mystery.
I also enjoyed talking to Giles Foden and Tim Dowling - who was very funny, especially when Philippa brought a contract for him to sign in the middle of the party for a novel he hasn't actually written yet. Then, at the end when a lot of the people retired to the Groucho club, I decided to stay on at the bar downstairs and had a good time talking to some more people including my agent Natasha Fairweather. By this time I had drunk much more than the recommended daily allowance of alcohol but even so managed to stagger back up the Tottenham Court Road to the St Giles Hotel, find my room, which was like a cell in an insect's nest, and managed to unlock the door. It felt like a major accomplishment.