Thursday, 10 May 2012

Bloomsbury Circus: Launch

Will Davis: Author - and aerobatical genius
To Brick Lane, for the launch of a new imprint from Bloomsbury. Editor Alexandra Pringle looked down upon a massy crowd of literary people (including novelists Amanda Craig, Michael Arditti and Lucy Beresford; short story writer Polly Samson; assorted literary editors, journos, publishers, and other types) as clowns, trapeze artists and sundry performers cavorted. The new imprint is a first for Bloomsbury (who published my own two books): and, rather conveniently, one of the new tomes they're publishing under the name is by the excellent Will Davis - who happens to be a brilliant trapeze artist. He stunned the audience with his aerobatic display on silks, tumbling up and down them with grace, agility and speed, drawing gasps of admiration and awe  as he slid about in a breath-taking and daring show. Did I mention he's also written a book? (More than one, actually.)

What was also cheering was that Alexandra Pringle stressed the importance of the midlist - "We love the midlist," she said - it's where they grow authors and look for future prizewinners. She also said that they loved physical books - the new imprint will publish fine editions (with what are called French flaps. Don't ask me.) Their new  colophon is the Bloomsbury Diana swinging in a half-crescent moon. I look forward to seeing many fresh and new talents emerging under its sign.

We were fed, deliciously and appropriately, on burgers and hot dogs. Amongst the guests I spotted Tracey Emin. I wonder what she was doing there? Poet Adam O'Riordan was present and correct, whose novel has been bought by Bloomsbury; alas, none of us could be persuaded to do a handstand, or even a forward roll. Will Davis has set the bar high (quite literally high) for us authors. As if it's not enough for us all to be blogging, twittering, presenting, festivalling and all the rest, we must now all learn a useful circus skill. Anna Stothard and I are going to start a knife throwing team for our next book launches. Failing that, I'll learn how to catch bullets between my teeth.

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