leah's stupid life

New Voices 2018

Hello there internet, want to hear about the totally random, but fun Thursday night I had recently?
Sure you do.

I have been invited to blogger events before and honestly, I’ve never gone. If you’ve been here before you’ll know that I’m naturally an anxious and depressed person, so walking into a room full of people I don’t know is kind of hard, so between that and working hours, I’ve always turned down invitations to events, but as part of my “being a better person before I’m 30” drive, I decided should I get the opportunity this year, I had to go. Kind of serendipitous then that a few weeks into 2018 I was invited to Bookbridgr and Headline Publishing’s New Voices event in Bristol.

The New Voices Event was a mini tour of the UK where Headline books put a few of their new authors in a room with bloggers, book sellers and other bookish individuals and let nature take its course. Of course, I had assumed that it was going to be a q and a type event, so I was incredibly pleased that Sophie was free that evening and agreed to come with me because otherwise my brain might have gotten the better of me!

Picture this, me and my inability to talk to humans, plus Sophie and her steller conversation walk into a room (fashionably late I might add, thanks First Great Western) that is full of sophisticated people drinking wine, eating snacks and having intelligent conversation. We rather awkwardly made our way to a table and took a seat to gather our surroundings before being introduced to our first author of the evening, Guy Gunaratne. His book, In Our Mad and Furious City was partly inspired by the Lee Rigby killing in London a couple of years ago and from our conversation, explores themes of multi culturalism, extremism and community. Also we ended up discussing socialism, the Edge Chronicles and The Hobbit. So I’m pretty well qualified to say he’s a good egg.

After we’d chatted to Guy for a while, we hobnobbed with publicists and then started chatting to Leo Carew, the author of Wolf, the first in a new fantasy saga coming out later this year. He was in the middle of being grilled about post apocalyptic literature by a girl called Elin who runs the GriffinBooksUK Twitter and Instagram accounts and who we befriended and spent the rest of the night chatting about books, dogs and dads. No really. Leo escaped the conversation after we lost him whilst discussing the merits of Margaret Atwood, who is Elin and Sophie’s favourite author, Elin kindly put together a list of recommendations and sent them to me, so look out for lots of Atwood coming up on this blog in the future!

Honestly, despite the almost Oscar worthy anxiety dreams I’d had in the week leading up to the New Voices event, I am so glad that I went, it was really interesting speaking to other bookish people, from book sellers to publicists to writers and finding out who these author’s favourite authors were was something I never knew I needed in my life until this moment! I’d like much more of this kind of discussion in 2018 please!

Although this was very different to what I thought the event would be – definitely more wine and cheese networking event than author q and a – I really enjoyed myself and should I get the opportunity to attend any similar events again, I’ll ignore my stupid brain and go along, it was so much fun!

Of course, another high light of the evening was the fact that there were free proof copies of everyone’s books and I honestly can’t wait to get stuck into these!
My haul included:
In our Mad and Furious City – Guy Gunaratne, The Wolf – Leo Carew, The Feed – Nick Clark Windo and The Perfect Girlfriend – Karen Hamilton.

Thank you to Bookbridgr and Headline for the invite and thank you to Sophie for coming with me!
Look out for my thoughts on these books when I read them here and find out more about them in my January Book Haul video, coming to my YouTube channel in the next few days.

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