This week, I attended an event at Waterstones Piccadilly which was brilliant. I went to listen to my favourite debut author of 2017, Gabriel Tallent, speak about his masterpiece, My Absolute Darling, which came out last year. I got this and so much more. Fiona Mozley is inspiring and her novel, Elmet sounds exceptional and game-changing in many ways. The two of them discussing their novels with similar protagonist styles and use of setting, place and identity was enough to make me want to go to these places just so I could get inspired enough to get on with my novel!
First off, I must say that Tallent is intelligent and highly engaging. When he speaks, you can tell that he has thought carefully about what he has been asked and how to answer it so that he gets his points across, while ensuring that you understand what he wants to say. When speaking about My Absolute Darling, Tallent displayed his love of this novel like no author I have ever seen; he is truly proud of his work, which is brilliant to see, as I often find that most authors are too humble for their own good. At the same time, as he sat there with a dog-eared, sticky-noted copy in his lap, you could tell he had done his research and knew every letter in that book. He has every right to be proud of his work.
Furthermore, while I have yet to read Elmet, Mozley explained it in such a way that it encapsulated everything she had written. In a nutshell, it is a story about a family trying to find their own identities in very different bodies, in order to discover where their places are in the world. Set in the Scottish and English countrysides, Elmet sounds like it will have some beautiful settings alongside some important discussions of land and body ownership and possession. Like Tallent, Mozley comes across very intelligent and happy in her work. Both authors’ attitudes were like a breath of fresh air for someone like me, who loves to champion and shout about great novels.
Finally, I was ecstatic to get a beautiful personalised dedication in my proof copy of My Absolute Darling from Tallent, who spoke to me and showed genuine interest in my own reading and potential pursuance of writing. Overall, Waterstones Piccadilly chose two brilliant authors and novels to discuss side by side and I thoroughly enjoyed the event.