Authors: a review

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Since my Ishiguro experience a few months ago and having the honour of seeing and at least saying hello to the great man in the flesh (albeit for all of 5 seconds) I’ve been given some serious food for thought. Reading is an essential part of my life. An activity I spend a whole chunk of that life doing and, given the time, would do a whole lot more of. I delve into these magnificent worlds, the fantastic imaginings of brilliant minds…it’s a pretty intimate experience when you think about it. But am I particularly bothered about getting to know these minds I feel I know so well in the flesh? I can’t say I do. Harsh, I know.

One astute blogger recently wrote a thought-provoking piece on escapism that really spoke to me. I have a fairly frenetic lifestyle and escapism is a necessity to keep me from going completely bonkers and to give my head a break from reality. Some do it with TV, etc, I do it with books and frankly, I suppose coming face to face with the creators of these worlds I love so much makes things just a little too real and, well, let’s face it, could leave a reader open for some serious disappointment….

That said, I’ve been mulling on those writers, living and not-so living, that I could make an exception for…..

1. Terry Pratchett (1948 – 2015)

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I haven’t read nearly enough Terry Pratchett in my life and am worried I feel a little too old to be able to delve into Discworld as deeply as I once might have been able to. Regardless of my woeful familiarity with his work, Pratchett’s public battle with Alzheimer’s Disease brought much-needed publicity to the illness, along with welcome donation to Alzheimer research. An inspiring man and author.

2. Margaret Atwood

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This woman is just epic. The creator of so many wonderful worlds; from the Canadian wilderness to 1930s Ontario to the terrifying, dystopian Republic of Gilead. I can’t read her back catalogue too quickly… What happens when I run out?!

3. Donna Tartt

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Totally peeved that I can’t find a picture of Donna Tartt I’m allowed to use because she is too cool. So cool with her androgynous vibes that I’d probably feel a bit intimidated if I met her…but I wouldn’t mind too much. Anyone who came up with the wonderousness that is The Goldfinch is worth a meet in my book.

4. Joanne Harris

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Joanne Harris’ novels are just sweet as pie and, as I read a Dickens’ every Winter, I’m beginning to wonder if I should read one of her books every Summer, for that bit of sunshine-filled magic. Mmm. Plus she’s hilarious on Twitter. Someone I could definitely see myself partaking of a few gins with… chin chin!

5. Beatrix Potter (1866 – 1943)

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A country girl like myself, I feel like Beatrix would have been a joy to be around. Full of imagination and sweet stories and passionate about nature and animals, I love Renée Zellweger’s interpretation of her the best.

6. Derek Tangye (1912-1996)

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Derek Tangye was my kindred spirit. Leaving his city job to retreat to the countryside with his flowers and animals (most famously, his cats) I would give anything to follow in his footsteps. Perhaps I will one day!

7. Neil Gaiman

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Another author I haven’t read nearly enough of but, after reading the wonderful, comforting The Ocean at the End of the Lanereally need to experience more. Plus. He’s a total dude. (Another favourite Twitter account)

8. Paul Gallico (1897 – 1976)

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Another author chosen almost purely (as well as his wonderful writing of course) based on his love for cats. Purrr!

9.Hilary Mantel

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Another engaging lady I would be honoured to meet. She’s so utterly smart and passionate and, let’s face it, although a novelist knows her onions when it comes to the Tudors. Her 2013 speech on the Royals was powerful and just check her hold her own against the patriarch of Tudor historians David Starkey;


10. Ernest Hemingway (1899 – 1961)

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Oh Ernest, I’m sure the rumours are true and you were a total pr**k, but cor blimey I’d like to tussle with you. You live loving, hunting, fishing, bullfighting son of a gun.

Which authors would you like to meet in real life? Who have you been lucky enough to meet already?

8 thoughts on “Authors: a review

  1. Great list! I would love to have a natter with Bill Bryson, Sue Townsend and J. K. Rowling. I saw Jon Ronson and Alexander McCall Smith at the Hay Festival this year and although I didn’t have the chance to speak to them personally, they would both very entertaining to listen to.

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  2. I just arranged my hubby’s whole Pratchett collection on our shelves today, so I was amused to see him make your list. I still haven’t tried any Discworld novels yet, but they’re all set up in chronological order, so really I have no excuse! I haven’t “met” many authors, though I’ve been through signing lines with a few (David Lodge, Alain de Botton) and seen many through events large or small (John Irving, Rose Tremain, Bill Bryson et al). I second the Bryson nomination above. He is just as witty in person as he is in his books. The night we saw him he was unwell so he didn’t do any signing, though.

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    1. Does he have the whole collection? They just look amazing together, which is reason alone to get them organised! Aw, I feel slightly aggrieved I overlooked Bill Byson now. He will definitely make the next list!

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      1. We still need a secondhand copy of Witches Abroad. Otherwise I think he has them all, about 3/4 in paperback and the rest in hardback. He used to get a copy of the latest book every year on his birthday from his parents, like clockwork. Sad that can’t happen any more.

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  3. Hi!

    Here is my list of authors who I’d like to meet in real life.

    Margaret Atwood – for the same reasons you have posted, if she ever came to Manchester I would definitely go to see her!

    Haruki Murakami – just to know how his mind works and the surreal thoughts that he has.

    F Scott Fitzgerald – just to meet an author who lived through the 20s and 30s – an age I would most of all travel back in time to!

    PG Wodehouse – to meet the man who created Jeeves and Wooster a world which didn’t exist even at the time he wrote the stories, but are still timeless.

    George Orwell – would just love to discuss how many of his ideas in 1984 – Big Brother, Newspeak, Room 101 are now part of the everyday fabric of life.

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    1. Great list Mark. I did briefly consider Murakami but felt in the end that he was certainly under the category of potentially spoiling the books. I just don’t want to spoil that magic and surrealism…. Orwell is also an awesome choice. All the better for his love of Jura 🙂

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