Tuesday 19 November 2013


DFS' literary event in aid of BBC Children in Need

DFS's flagship store on Tottenham Court Road in central London played host to three brilliant authors (Jenny Colgan, Alex Marwood and Viv Groskop) on Thursday the 14th of November as part of a literary evening in aid of BBC's Children in Need. Colgan is the award-winning author of amongst others the excellent novels Meet Me At the Cupcake Café and Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop of Dreams, Marwood is the bestselling author of The Wicked Girls and Groskop is a comedian and columnist as well as the author of comic autobiography, I Laughed, I Cried: How One Woman Took on Stand-Up and (Almost) Ruined Her Life.

As soon as my friend and I walked into DFS we were welcomed with a glass of bubbly and as we sat down in one of the comfortable sofas set up for the event we were served some delicious canapes to kill the time before the authors' arrival. From the amount of glasses set up I gather they were hoping for quite a crowd but unfortunately not quite as many arrived in the end, which is such a shame as it was a brilliant evening and people really missed out.

Alex Marwood, Viv Groskop and Jenny Colgan

The authors talked about their work, did readings and answered questions. Particular highlight for me was getting to ask Jenny Colgan some questions as I love her novels and she was very kind and generous with her time. She even signed a book I had brought, despite her having to rush off to another event after. She also delighted us with her first ever reading and revealed that not only is she working on Wedding at the Cupcake Café (to be published in 2014) but she may also release another Christmas Rosie Hopkins book next year. All of that is on top of Little Beach Street Bakery, which is published in March, so fans of her work are in for a treat.

I had heard Viv Groskop speak at another event in the past and she was once again very witty and interesting to listen to as she spoke about her own experiences as a writer and the trials and tribulations of making it as a stand-up comedian. And while I was unfamilar with Alex Marwood's work before the evening (as I am not much into crime/thriller novels, normally) she made her books sound so intriguing that I have to pick up a copy of Wicked Girls now as soon as time allows. What I also loved was that she revealed that she used to write chick-lit but because she kept killing off her characters she turned to crime instead. From all the praise The Wicked Girls has received so far, I'd say she made a good call there.

When the author Q&A was finished there was a little more time for bubbly and mingling and the organisers also had three brand-new Kindle Paperwhites to give away to attendees! It was supposed to be a prize draw but since fewer people than anticipated had showed up they decided to give each group of friends a Kindle instead and let them 'fight it out' amongst themselves. After some back and forth of "You should have it!" "No, you!" between my friend and I, I eventually caved (it didn't take much) and became the very grateful recipient of the Kindle (squeeee!). My previous ereader (a BeBook Mini) is old and has started acting up so this couldn't have come at a better time. I'm also finally able to read all the Kindle books I've purchased from Amazon over the past few years on-the-go as I never got around to reading them from the PC app at home.

Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop of Dreams signed by Jenny Colgan and my new Kindle!

I want to say a big THANK YOU to DFS and the authors in attendance for making this such a brilliant night of bookish chat with wonderful people and delicious food and drink. The fact that there wasn't a big crowd of people made it quite special and intimate, which was great for the attendees. Though of course it was a real shame from the organisers' point of view as it was a charity night and so more people showing up would have meant more money could have been raised. While me and my friend each purchased one of the lovely charity pillows they had for sale in the store, that's obviously not going to bring in the amount of £££ the organisers were hoping for.

So to gather up some more support for their wonderful efforts I want to urge everyone to have a look at the limited edition cushions on offer (they're not both with Pudsey on the front, there's a cute polka-dotted one too if you rather have a more general print) and part with just £10 in store in support of Children in Need. Or purchase it online, where you pay an additional £3.99 in shipping costs for the comfort of it being delivered to your own front door.

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