Armchair BookExpo: Dining with the Authors

Posted June 2, 2017 by Lory in events / 14 Comments

Today’s Armchair Book Expo topic is Dining With the Authors.Every year at Book Expo, children and adult authors are featured during breakfast. Who would you dream of enjoying a meal with? Would it be breakfast, lunch, dinner, or simply coffee? What would your meal be? What would you discuss?

I’d have a giant literary round-table over coffee and dessert with the folks from Virago to talk about how things have changed — and stayed the same — through their four decades of championing women writers. Their list reads like a catalog of my favorite authors, past and present, including Willa Cather, Margaret Atwood, Joan Aiken, Margaret Kennedy, George Eliot, Winifred Holtby, Angela Carter, Jane Austen, Naomi Mitchison, Dorothy Canfield, Elizabeth von Arnim, Mary Renault, Louisa May Alcott, Ursula K. LeGuin, Rumer Godden, Angela Thirkell, Elizabeth Gaskell, Margery Sharp, and Daphne Du Maurier. Wouldn’t it be fascinating if a dozen or so of these women could meet to share perspectives from their various decades and centuries? (Most would have to be in ghostly form, alas.) They could mainly talk to each other and I would just listen; I’m shy about talking to authors.

I’d also love to meet the publishers who have helped to rediscover or support their work, and hear their story of how Virago grew from its radical fringe beginnings to become one of the most influential and respected imprints today. I think it would be fascinating to have a viewpoint from the people who help to bring their words to us, as well as from the creators themselves.

Which literary lights would you like to have lunch (or breakfast, or dinner, or coffee) with?

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14 responses to “Armchair BookExpo: Dining with the Authors

  1. OMG, keep a seat for me, please… Daphne du Maurier… Please come visit Words And Peace on Monday, there will be a vlog on 2 books related to her!!
    As for me, I would actually go dine with my favorite Japanese author… Did you guess who?

  2. What a great idea for a dinner party. The Virago story is indeed a fascinating one but to hear those authors talk aboutnhowmitmfeels to be rediscovered would be magical.

  3. My immediate answer is a tea with Tolkien (I don’t drink tea but I like the alliteration), but a round-table sounds like a good idea as well. I might like to get some of my favourite fantasy authors together for a late-night round of drinks and listen to them compare their strategies for writing prose and world building.

    • That is a great idea too! You could also call it tippling with Tolkien — the Inklings met at the pub, right? Though I don’t know what his drink of choice was.

      • Ooh, I like that!! Yes, they did meet in a pub (which I visited in Oxford but was too shy to drink at by myself…). Now you’ve got me googling “favourite drinks of authors” 😛

    • I’m a total coward about talking to authors. I hope they would be less reticent about talking to each other.

  4. I’d love to invite either a group of fantasy authors, or a group of mystery authors, and let them talk about writing. And if I could involve the dead as well as the living, that would be awesome. Can you imagine having tea with Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, Laurie R. King, Deborah Crombie, Catherine Aird, Ellis Peters, and Charles Finch? Or pub night with Tolkien, Patrick Rothfuss, and Brandon Sanderson while they talk about world-building? Or listen to Naomi Novik and Anne McCaffrey geek out about dragons?