Thursday, 19 March 2015

Books and the City's Spring Blogger Evening


Simon & Schuster have been at the forefront of the dedicated female fiction websites with their wonderful Books and the City for four years now, and I have been to some brilliant events organised by them in the past few years, such as cocktails with Melissa Hill's to celebrate A Gift to Remember and a preview screening of Oscar-nominated film Still Alice (based on a S&S book of the same title).

So I was thrilled when I received an invite to their Spring Blogger Event to celebrate some of their amazing authors; three of which (Milly Johnson, Jane Costello, Andy Jones) I had already read books by before the event, one (Iona Grey) whose novel I coincidentally just started reading for the Curtis Brown Book Group and one debut author (Heidi Swain) whose first novel will be released as a digital exclusive in July.


Heidi Swain, Andy Jones, Milly Johnson, Iona Grey and Jane Costello

The evening started with a mad-dash from work (5.30pm finish near Victoria) to the Books and the City offices (near King's Cross), praying to the TFL gods to not have me stuck in a tunnel for once so I wouldn't miss one fabulous minute of the evening's programme, scheduled to start at 6pm sharp. I made it on the dot and managed to grab a can of coke before the huge group of bloggers present (it was like my entire Twitter feed came together to meet in person) sat down to listen to readings from the authors' upcoming novels, followed by a Q&A hosted by their lovely editor Clare Hey.

While I was particularly excited to meet the wonderful Milly Johnson after I had the pleasure to review the delicious The Teashop on the Corner for Novelicious last year, all authors present at the event were such a joy to listen to and their upcoming novels all sounded wonderful, so make sure to keep an eye on them; The Love Shack, Letters to the Lost, The Two of Us, The Cherry Tree Cafe and Afternoon Tea at the Sunflower Cafe. We received a brilliant sampler book in our goody bags with chapter extracts from the upcoming books, so I know how I will be spending my weekend!


These were just SOME of the books on display in the BatC offices

After the readings and Q&A it was time to dig into the masses of paperbacks on display (I may have picked up most of Milly Johnson's back catalogue – all of her novels which I did not yet own) before chatting to the guests-of-honour (aka authors), get some books signed and mingle with my fellow book bloggers (while enjoying a glass of fiz and one of marketing manager Dawn's amazing carrot cake cupcakes, which was the ACTUAL best).

We were warned that the office tiger would be released at 8.30pm and we should leave by then but I had so much fun chatting to fellow book bloggers I met at the end of the night that I reluctantly left nearer 9pm, oops. (Next time I'm bringing my sleeping bag, my commute to work the next day would be so much quicker than from home as well!)


The AMAZING cupcakes by Marketing Director Dawn

I feel very fortunate to have been a part of such a brilliant evening filled with fabulous authors, the lovely BatC team (SJV and Dawn, I'm looking at you!) and fellow bloggers. Many thanks to everyone at Books and the City for organising such an amazing event and for the glorious books + filled BatC-branded tote bag (I've always wanted a bookish... and proud of it notebook, how did you know?!?).

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