Launch Night

Monday, June 29, 2009, 10:51 PM

I promised a proper report on Friday's joint launch with John Connolly at No Alibis in Belfast, and I'm going to do my best to summarise things here. It might be a bit ramshackle, but two days on my memory is a little hazy. There was so much happening, so many people I met, that I'm now struggling a little to keep it all straight.

Anyway, I arrived at Belfast's famous Europa Hotel (the world's most bombed hotel, fact fans) about an hour or so before heading to No Alibis, which is about ten minutes walk away on Botanic Avenue. I got myself all dressed up and headed off. It was a warm evening, so I had a good idea things were going to get sweaty. David Torrans had told me to expect a large crowd, and No Alibis isn't the biggest shop in the world.

I arrived at No Alibis a little less than an hour before kick off to find David and his crew getting the place ready for the event. David has designed his shop very cleverly in that all the book cases are on wheels and can be pushed out of the way to open up the entire shop floor for seating. In addition, a newly constructed stage was positioned half way down the venue, allowing people to sit around it, rather than just in front of it. See, this is why David Torrans is well known for hosting the best author events around.

My PR, Hilary Knight, arrived shortly after, along with her husband Michael who was taking photos for local papers. Gerard Brennan was also an early bird, and I managed to capture him on video (see below). Things started to get a bit hectic as the venue rapidly filled up, and a photographer from Ulster Tatler magazine snapped the comings and goings, including me with my mum, some old friends of mine, and author Brian McGilloway. John Connolly arrived fashionably late, but redeemed himself by bringing the beers.

The event itself went brilliantly. Of course, it was really John's reading, and I was the support act, but Mr. Connolly was very generous in introducing me and allowing me time to read and involving me in discussions. If you ever get the chance to attend a John Connolly reading, then you should most definitely go; John is a great entertainer, and his readings are a lesson in delivery, plus his wit and skill as a speaker make the whole thing an enjoyable experience. It would be fair to say John carried my sorry arse for the evening, and I deeply appreciate it.

As it turned out, this was the biggest ever turnout for an in-store event at No Alibis, with just over a hundred people in attendance. This was more to do with John's presence than mine, but I'm not complaining. We sold a load of books, and I lost count of how many I signed. I met loads of nice people from as far away as Texas and Los Angeles, as well as old friends I hadn't seen in years, and a lovely couple who used to live across the road from my mum - I was particularly touched that they made the effort to come.

Afterwards, it was off for a drink with John Connolly, David Torrans, Brian McGilloway and some of the crew who'd helped out. You really couldn't ask for better company over a pint or three. All in all, it was a great night, and I must express my deepest gratitude to David Torrans for organising such a wonderful event, John Connolly for his continued generosity, and everyone who turned up - particularly those who bought my book.

I'm hoping to have a video diary of the day put together some time this week, and also some photos from David, so stay tuned.

In Other News...

A very nice review appeared at the Shots Magazine website over the weekend, and Publishers Weekly named THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST (aka THE TWELVE) as one of the top Fall debuts. What's also notable about the PW feature is that my agent represents not only one author on that list, and not two, but THREE books selected by PW out of the hundreds of debuts to be published in the USA this fall, the other two being Eugenia Kim and Lou Manfredo. This is why Nat Sobel is a legend in the publishing business.

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Blogger Jamie Eyberg said...

Sounds like a brilliant evening. Wish I could have been there.

11:38 PM  
Blogger jjdebenedictis said...

Publishers Weekly named THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST (aka THE TWELVE) as one of the top Fall debuts.

Dude, I'm going to need to buy bigger pom-poms to rustle, just for you. That's awesome!

4:27 AM  
Blogger cindy said...

happiness and congrats all around, stuart! you are on fire!!!! here's to more fantastic news to come!!

4:45 AM  
Blogger Gerard Brennan said...

Brian McGilloway was there? Ah for feck's sake! I missed him!


6:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it was a great night, good to meet you, sorry about the confusion over my last comment. enjoyed your reading and it is always a pleasure to listen to john connolly, he could perform stand up!. i've not started the book, but it is top of my pile!!
the limited edition looks beautiful.
Allen Mckay

10:07 PM  

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