There are times when being a publisher is a grind, a hard slog. It’s not unique to publishing, of course, any job has its downside. Set against those times, thankfully, are the moments which make it all worthwhile.
Yesterday’s book launch for A Marvellous Party – held at Gay’s The Word bookshop in London – was one of those moments. We’ve always known, from the moment Ian Elmslie sent us the draft of his manuscript, that he was a natural storyteller, with a fascinating story to tell. What we had no way of knowing was that he’s also a wonderfully gifted performer.
Listening to an author read three excerpts from their book so engagingly, with such an easy facility for bringing the characters to life – allowing you to imagine Armistead Maupin or Quentin Crisp are actually in the room and you’re eavesdropping on their conversation – and all that in front of a packed house, well, that was an absolute privilege. A joy.
As one of the Gay’s The Word staff said afterwards: in thirteen years of listening to authors do book launches, last night was the best he’d heard. Praise doesn’t come better than that. Nor, Ian, was it ever more deserved.