I travelled down to Birmingham this weekend to attend the launch of The Sea in Birmingham, an anthology of short stories set in and around the city. My story is set around some of the city’s hundreds of miles of canals – we have more canals than Venice! That’s a true fact.
I had thought I wouldn’t be able to go to the launch, due to a lack of funds. But a kind friend (who prefers to remain anonymous) decided to be a Good Fairy and sent me some cash! In their words, ‘one of the few perks of being a writer is getting to go to your own book launch.’ I was utterly blown away by this person’s generousity, and hope I repaid it in some measure by going along and having a really fantastic time.
It was wonderful to meet some of the other contributors, including those I’ve chatted with online or admired from afar but never met in person. The event was in Birmingham’s swanky new library, which is a fine and glamourous place, although I’m pretty sure I did manage to lower the tone at least a little. There wasn’t much chance to explore, but at one point a few of us broke away from the crowd on the way to the studio theatre and got excitingly lost in the guts of the building. A kindly lady guided us away from the kitchens and other steamy workings, and back to where we were supposed to be.
We sold a lot of books. I signed my name on a few of them, and learned that I have absolutely no idea what messages to write. Even now I am cringing as I recall writing ‘Hope you don’t find any dead bodies in the canal’ on a mate’s copy. This is clearly an Area for Improvement.
After the launch and a few complimentary glasses of wine, I popped in to another launch – this one for Pigeonwings, a self-published collaborative novel by some members of Birmingham Writers’ Group. They didn’t have free wine, but they did have free salami and haloes. A few of us sat at the back of the pub and played a giggly game of consequences. It was rather like old times.
The Tindal Street antho is on sale through Amazon, and you can buy it here. I’m only sorry I can’t provide the full Officer-and-a-Gentlewoman experience to everyone who buys a copy. If you can make it up to Edinburgh, I could probably do you a fireman’s lift.