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?