Festivals, talks and chats

September, and the elongated, weird, difficult summer of 2020 is finally over. For authors, the summer is usually a time of festivals and other public events, but pandemic constraints cancelled most of these, or sent them out of the theatres and fields and into the ether, to be experienced in private at home on headphones.

Signing at Dulwich Books in South London: call them to reserve your copy!

However, some events did go ahead, through the dedicated persistence of heroic organisers, and I was lucky enough to be invited to a few.

Talking at ALSO Festival and Galway International Arts Festival

In August, I joined a small crowd of book lovers in a beautiful field on the edge of a lake in Warwickshire, for ALSO Festival, to talk about TRANSCENDENCE. It was cold and stormy and I had to borrow a poncho, but the rain cleared for my event!

I also took part (from my home) in two very special festivals that I’d been hoping to attend in person: Ottawa Writers Festival, Canada, and Galway International Arts Festival, Ireland. Both were such pleasurable conversations – both wonderful; very different. Do have a listen.

Lockdowns and social-distancing have made podcasts and radio even more precious as we seek the intimacy of a voice in our ears, and I’ve especially enjoyed the chance to chat with the brilliant Cara Santa Maria for her excellent Talk Nerdy pod, and to the wonderful Joy LaClaire for her public radio show Forthright, broadcast in California.

With the brilliant Jo Marchant at the launch of The Human Cosmos

It’s a really tough time for authors at the moment, with so much cancelled and few people visiting bookshops, and yet excellent books are being published in search of readers. This month, I’ve been honoured to attend two launches – both wonderful popular science books – and I urge you to seek out THE HUMAN COSMOS by Jo Marchant, which is a fantastic history of humanity’s relationship with the stars; and THE BEST OF TIMES, THE WORST OF TIMES by Paul Behrens, about out possible futures with climate change.

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