Believe it or not my friends, I hadn’t been to any sort of bookish event before now. Here in the UK, it’s rare for people to come to my city…which is quite surprising actually, considering I live in one of the largest cities. But, with my inability to travel elsewhere, I just hadn’t been to any kind of bookish event.
Until now. And ohhh I started with a good one. Because Samantha Shannon – one of my FAVOURITE authors – came to do a book signing/”evening with” event. And when I found out, I genuinely squealed. I was at my friends house and just shouted at her “OHMYGOSHWECANGOWECANGOI’LLGETTHETICKETSTOMORROWWE’REGOING.”
And so this has been planned for over a month.
So, my friend and I ended up arriving an hour early. Woops. But never fear, we didn’t mind. Things weren’t looking good to begin with, because the entire venue had had a power cut, and so there was no electricty. Which wouldn’t have been a problem…but the event started at 7pm, so it was going dark very quickly.
But since Samantha Shannon had come all this way to hold the event, the staff at Waterstones simply said we’d have the event by candlelight. We could even hold a seance before beginning, right? (A nice nod to the books. I appreciated it way too much). Luckily, the electricity came back on just before the event began, and things from there ran smoothly.
It started off with Samantha reading a couple of pages from The Bone Season. Nothing spoilery, but just enough to make me want to reread the books all over again – despite only just doing so in March 😆 We then went on to the Q&A section, where one of the employees asked her a whole bunch of questions before opening up to us in the audience.
I loved seeing how passionate Samantha was. It seems obvious, considering it’s her own book, but the sheer depth of how well thought out everything in the series is really blew my mind. I don’t know what I was expecting. All I know is that I was fascinated, and just sat beaming at her for a good 30-40 minutes or so while she talked. Yes, I probably looked super creepy staring at her like that. Yes, my face hurt by the time I got home.
With this being a tour for the third book – The Song Rising – it was mentioned how she expanded the world in her books beyond London. In the book, we see a glimpse of Manchester, Edinburgh, and even the smallest glance at Stoke-On-Trent, and book 4 is planned to be set in Paris. Through character’s memories, you see how Ireland, Bulgaria and Sweden were all affected too. Samantha discussed how she wanted to do this because of her own wondering at other books. She brought up The Hunger Games, and how she always wondered – what were the rest of the world doing about America? Just sat there, shrugging off the fact that they had this weird child gladiator fight-to-the-death event every so often? In most dystopias, you only see a small section of the dystopian world. But then she talked about how in The Handmaid’s Tale, she found it to be the first book which acknowledged how it could be different somewhere else in the world. There’s one particular scene where there are tourists from Japan, using this slice of a dystopian world as a holiday attraction. And it was this scene that sparked Samantha’s world exploration.
I could go on for hours about the things she talked about, but that would make a rather long post. But there’s just one more thing I wanted to mention.
For those of you that don’t know, a while ago the movie rights for The Bone Season were bought. Someone asked Samantha if there were any updates on this. During this conversation, she talked about how much input she has in the movie. While she doesn’t have total say in what can go into the movie, she is consulted throughout the process. While they don’t technically HAVE to listen to her, she can do her best to keep certain things in the movie.
I’m mentioning this because there’s quite a bit of diversity in her books. There are people from different countries, people of different skin colours, people with different sexualities. And Samantha said this is one thing she will vehemently argue for, to include the diversity in the movies. She said that ideally, she’d want the right people to play the roles – for example, there’s a Bulgarian Transgender woman, so she’d hope to find a Bulgarian Transgender actress. While she might not be listened to – she doesn’t have full control, after all – I was so incredibly happy to know that she won’t let the diversity go easily. Whitewashing and the erasure of all diverse groups is such a huge problem in the film industry!
And so, after the book talk, we all queued to get our books signed. Admittedly, I wish I’d said more to her. But I kind of expected that from myself. I do have anxiety, and a huge part of that is how I get a voice block when I know that speaking will bring unusual attention to myself. But, I did have a brief chat with her and turned into a fangirling mess. She is such a lovely person, and I’m so glad I could meet her ❤
I hope I can go to another event of hers one day!
Share your thoughts!
Are you a fan of Samantha Shannon?
Is there anything I’ve mentioned here from the book talk that you’re particularly interested in? Feel free to ask questions about other things she might have mentioned, I’ll answer them as best I can!
Have you been to any bookish events? Which ones?
Let me know in the comments!
Until next time…
Come and visit me!