Neil Gaiman is one of my all time favourite authors, I have yet to read a book he has written that I have not loved. So when I saw he was going to be at this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival, I just knew I had to have a ticket.
This year’s Neil Gaiman event was celebrating the 10th anniversary of the publication of Coraline, in which Chris Riddell has beautifully illustrated a special 10th anniversary addition of the book. Here both Neil and Chris were brought together to discuss Coraline.
The event started off with Neil discussing the orignal publication of Coraline and how originally Coraline was published as a paperback minus the illustrations. Eventually illustration were added. With Dave Mckean illustrating the American addition of the book and Chris Riddell illustrating a children’s version of the book.
The conversation then turned to the relationship between the author and the reader. Chris made an interesting point of how as a reader you want to trust a writer and trust in the relationship that you have with them. Neil had an interesting image of what he feels the relationship between the author and the reader is. “We are going on a journey together, you are safe with me. Take my hand, I will take you on a journey, we will go into the woods. Then I run away and leave you, to explore but I will be back and we will continue on the journey together.” Chris summed this up by saying that this is a sign of contentment of a story well told.
Neil than announced that himself and Chris were going to do their unrehearsed part trick, to which Neil then confessed that they thought it up over dinner a couple of hours prior to the event. You might be asking yourself what was this unrehearsed party trick? Well Chris was going to do a live illustration while Neil read chapter 3 of Coraline. This was met with excitement from the audience. What follows are various photos taken during this live illustration that the audience was treated to.
Time for some questions ‘What is your favourite book that you have written?
Neil – It is a toss-up between Fortunately the milk (released next year) and The Ocean at the end of the lane (released next summer). He admitted that the reason for choosing these is that he is one of the few people who have seen these books, they are his babies.
Chris – Goth Girl, which is a gothic novel for 8 year olds and Mad, bad and dangerous to gnomes. Like Neil both of these books are unpublished.
Unfortunately due to a small family emergency Neil left straight after the event and Chris did the signing alone. However I feel Neil can be forgiven for this cause he is one of the few writers that will sign however many books you bring and always continues on until the last person has had their book signed. I have seen queue’s for his signing lasting 4 hours, this is a sign of a great author.
I am going to finish this post by quoting something that Neil said during this event that has stuck in my head. “As a writer you sweat blood, drink tea and take long baths.”