so I went to a bookish event. I’ve never talked about bookish events on my blog before now, but I have commented on other people’s blogs about how I want to go to a bookish event.
I thought it’d be a fun idea to share my experience at the event with you guys because I’m still giddy from the event, which was four days ago.
I went to the Auckland Writers Festival. It is roughly a week long event which is held every year in my city, Auckland. I’ve never been before as I assumed it was for writers, and I’m not a writer (well I thought of an amazing idea for a story about six months ago and I plan to make it into a real story soon-ish).
About four days before the event I found out that Jennifer Niven was going to be at the Auckland Writers Festival because she posted about it on Instagram. I then messaged my friend about it, not knowing if I had to buy tickets or when it was. She said that she wanted to go, so I went on the website and looked it up. Luckily it was a free event and it was in the afternoon. fun tip. don’t do this, be prepared. organise yourselves!
My best friend and I went to Event #68 Light and Shade, which was on May 20th.
“Jennifer Niven (US) is the bestselling author of poignant stories that reveal the often tangled experience of adolescence, including Holding Up the Universe and All the Bright Places. Emma Neale (NZ) is the author of the 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Award shortlisted Billy Bird – about a boy who kaah–kaahs like a kea – which is a serious but humorous exploration of familial grief. Niven and Neale discuss the ways in which fiction can refract and illuminate the rigors of family life from childhood to parenthood, and provide both consolation and hope. In conversation with Catherine Robertson.”
I had never heard of Emma Neale before the event so it was really interesting to listen to her talk about her book. As a whole, I thought it was very interesting. There were a lot of discussions about grief, and writing grief and how not to flood the book with ‘shade’ and how to appropriately add more ‘light’/humorous scenes without taking away from the more serious topics. It wasn’t like a writing advice kind of thing, it was more how they, the authors, were able to find a balance between the lighter and darker moments in their own work. It was honestly such an interesting discussion.
Something that I thought was very important was the fact that they discussed the importance of accuracy when it comes to fiction and things such as grief or depression. Even though it is fiction, people use novels to find themselves and to get lost in another world. It’s important to have accurate representation, even if it is fiction. Books make us more empathetic, and having a real and accurate representation of what people go through in, not just books but our media is important. It’s important because it makes us as a society, more understanding when it comes to what the people around us are going through.
after the event, there was a signing. I don’t own any of Jennifer Niven’s books as I borrowed All The Bright Places from the library and I have an ebook of Holding Up The Universe. I brought a copy of Holding Up The Universe. And my friend and I waited in line.
when I actually met her I kinda freaked out and didn’t say much, which is embarassing. Luckily I had my best friend with me who was super chill and asked her about her time here in New Zealand and all this other fun stuff. there are so many things I wish I had said, but I didn’t.
Jennifer Niven took a selfie with us on her phone and got us to sign her copy of All The Bright Places, which was super cool. But I realised I don’t have a nice quality picture of the three of us on my phone…
overall I had a super fun time and I can’t wait to do something like this again soon!
I thought I’d end this post with some tips/things I should do next time to make the situation less stressful and just to generally be more organised:
- plan. plan. plan. plan. and plan. seriously, I could have avoided so much stress, if I had planned what time I was going to arrive and even if I was going, more than two hours before the event.
- don’t bring a heavy bag. trust me, you will have a sore back because you were too lazy to take your maths textbook out of your bag. (by you I mean me, seriously, learn from my mistakes)
- take a moment to plan/think about what you are going to say to the author. you don’t want to do a Yasmin and say almost nothing because you were so shocked that you’re meeting the human being that wrote one of your favourite books.
- bring a friend. if you’re anything like me, you need to bring a friend for two reasons: 1. emotional support and 2. to talk for you. also having a friend there makes the experience so much more fun
I hope you enjoyed this discussion, leave a comment if you’ve been to a bookish event before and tell me all about it and if you’ve completely blanked when you met an author you admire