Byte the book

Lovely people: hello. I know I said I was leaving this blog to Isabel, but then along came last night and an evening full of Good Things, so I have popped back temporarily, in between instalments of La Instance, to make note.

So last night I was at the Club at the Ivy. I should say that with debonair insouciance to give the impression that my life consists of nothing but rounds of trendy clubs populated by elegant people who smile in recognition and relief at my entrance; but there is too much of the country boy in me for that, sadly, so I will say it with starry-eyed delight instead.

I was there for an event run by the splendid Byte the Book, who bring together publishers and agents and writers and literary types in general, and I was speaking along with James Wills, managing director at Watson, Little; and Gordon Wise from Curtis Brown. Here is a picture of, well, none of us, but it gives the general idea.

We spoke about the role of agents, and about writing, and books. We shared a microphone without once wrestling each other for it. No-one stood up, red-faced, to hurl insults at anyone else. (My aesthetic in terms of panels may, I realise, be unduly influenced by Jeremy Kyle.)

It was all very lovely and thoughtful and there was lots of talk about the future of books, but no-one railed about impending doom and how the Kindle is going to liquefy everyone’s brains so that Amazon can use the newly created skull space to implant neuron word nuggets in there instead. Which was nice.

And other thing that was really nice was this: everyone was there because they love the idea of being involved in the telling of stories, which is probably a pretty precarious business, and one in which mighty tides of hope and vanity and folly and despair surge around while people cling to flotsam and long for ever bigger waves to surf; but as businesses go, it seems to include a lot of eccentric, passionate, kind people who care about what they do. Which, for a Monday night in Soho, and for a career to dabble in, is about as much as you can ask, really…

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Will le Fleming is a novelist. His debut, Central Reservation, is published by Xelsion and available now. Read more...

On a grey Thursday morning Holly lay in bed, staring at the ceiling, and wished her sister would die. Five hours later her wish came true. Read more...

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