It was 18:20 on the 5th April when I found myself outside the Islington branch of Waterstone’s Bookshop just down from the Angel underground station. Nicky Potter had invited me to attend the launch of Frances Lincoln‘s latest YA thriller, Ministry of Pandemonium by Chris Westwood.
The Waterstone’s crew were still setting up when I went indoors so I browsed the shelves until other librarians, booksellers and various fans of Mr Westwood started arriving. Sean Edwards, one of my colleagues on the Youth Library Group (YLG) London committee, was one of the first to arrive and we ended up comparing notes (as we usually do) on what we are reading, and who has received which desirable proof. It is one of the few games of good natured one-upmanship that I have noticed that librarians play, seeing who gets what proof copy from the publishers and which authors we land to visit our libraries. Karen Robinson, another friend from YLG was also there with some colleagues and students from her school.
There was a table of snacks and drinks to keep people occupied until Chris arrived. The children’s section of Waterstone’s was packed out with a mix of adults and young people all eager to meet Chris. The speeches were over quickly and Chris read an extract from his book, where Ben Harvester is introduced to some of his duties at the Ministry, typing up copies of how people are going to die for filing and use by field operatives, the dark humour of the codes denoting causes of death was appreciated warmly by the audience, particularly the 43765 (man packages himself up in a cardboard box and mails himself to his fiancée as a surprise birthday present. Fiancée opens it carelessly with a pair of scissors… ) which sent paroxysms of laughter around the room.
Once the talking stopped, the attendees fell upon the display of books and whisked the m off to the tills, after which they then had them autographed by Chris who spent the remainder of the evening signing and chatting away to his fans.
The good news once you have finished Ministry of Pandemonium is that there is s second book nearly finished – and the possibility of a third!
The evening was brilliant and many thanks must go to Nicky Potter and Frances Lincoln books!