Bookmarked Debut Night… The Report

It’s been over a week since an idea I had became a reality and the Bookmarked Literary Salon opened its doors in Manchester’s Waterstone’s Deansgate for its debut night. I thought I would give those of you who couldn’t be there a report on the event, which started with me being unusually nervous. In fact have to admit I don’t think I have been that nervous before. I went all giddy at about lunchtime however my Mum and sister aka ‘The Girl Who Read Too Much’ (who read both books the weekend before, impressive) had come to visit, sadly no Granny Savidge Reads, and offered support and calming words like ‘get a grip’ before I had to leave to pick up our Bookmarked t-shirts and go and meet the authors off the train.

After an initial slightly shy hello at the station, I had met SJ before yet still felt rather nervous, I took Sarah Winman, SJ Watson and their lovely publicists Helena and Alison off to the venue in style… on the free bus. Soon we were chatting away like we had known each other for ages, then shared some pots of tea and chips before being joined by my co-host Adam and getting holed up in the Managers Office so that the authors could prepare and also so I couldn’t keep popping in the events room had actually turned up. You might spot the slightly nervous smiles from em and Adam just before we were ready to go and meet our audience…

We then went in and couldn’t quite believe out eyes, the room was pretty much full; people were standing at the back (though there were a few seats at the front, why does nobody ever want to sit at the very front), I have to say I could have done a little weep of joy, instead – like true professionals – we introduced the authors and started with a reading. Sarah had everyone in stitches with her reading from ‘When God Was A Rabbit’ and SJ had us all on the edge of our seats when he read from ‘Before I Go To Sleep’.

Adam and I then lead a sort of ‘grilling/conversation’ about some of the in-depth themes of each book and how the books compared and contrasted…


Which seemed to keep the authors on their toes, especially when we asked about their debut author journeys and their writing process (I cannot for the life of me remember what I asked that got this response)…

Soon we handed over to the audience (some not in the photo below, my Mum managed to hide somehow) who all had great questions to ask, one included my mother who almost had me saying ‘yes Mum, what would you like to ask?’ she asked about the grieving process that leaving characters behind might cause. I don’t think the authors had been asked that before. The rest of my family who included my aforementioned mother and sister were joined by ‘The Aunt Who Doesn’t Read So Much’ (who had read ‘When God Was A Rabbit’ beforehand and has since read ‘Before I Go To Sleep’ in about three days and three sittings) and ‘The Bookboy’ kept unusually quiet…


These too kept the authors in great discussion as we discussed the second still in writing process novels, adaptations, and their previous books ever seeing the light of day and what their writing lives are like…

Then suddenly over an hour had vanished before our eyes and it was time to stop and also time for a quick photo again, can you see the mix of relief, joy and ‘oh no its finished’ on my face?

The authors then took part in a signing or several…


Before it was all over and we were saying goodbye as the authors headed back to the train station and I headed for a strong drink and a meal with friends and family. I did manage to ask Sarah which she preferred, a comfy chair with me and Adam or with Richard and Judy… I am too polite to share the response, hee hee. 

Thank you to everyone who came, we had a great time and we so hope that you did. I know Lucy has written up her thoughts, which was really kind, but Lucy why did you not come and say hello, in fact that applies to a few tweeters and followers who turned up. Oh and Emma, thank you for saying hello I am so sorry our conversation was cut short, email me and lets go for a coffee. We hope we will see you all on the 12th of September when we will be having a crime-fest with Val McDermid and a special guest. You can find out more here.

Right, I will stop waffling on and on but I am just thrilled it went so well. If you came, thanks again, if you didn’t thanks to those of you who wished me luck, it meant so much to me.


Filed under Bookmarked Literary Salon, Sarah Winman, SJ Watson

20 responses to “Bookmarked Debut Night… The Report

  1. I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to get to this, Simon, it looks like it was a lot of fun (well done!). I will definitely be there for the September one though as you know Val McDermid is one of my favourite authors. See you soon! 🙂

    • I am gutted that you can’t make Val now Boof, that would have been so your cup of tea, and M.J. McGraths book is a brilliant start to what I think is quite a different twist on a crime series.

  2. I hope to get to one simon unfortunately this one fell when we had a l;ot of staff of so couldn’t get time of looks fun ,all the best stu

  3. Sounds like a lovely evening. And a packed audience! Well done!

  4. What a great event! I’m so glad this worked out so well and look forward to reading about other Bookmarked evenings in the future.

  5. Because I’m so shhhyyy…..only kidding! I’m sorry I didn’t manage to introduce myself Simon…..everyone was so busy both before and after the event/I was a little tiddly drinking g & ts on an empty stomach/completely starstruck by Sarah Winman. I made a complete fool of myself 😀 I won’t be around in September but October sounds so exciting and I promise I’ll come over and say hi next time 😀

    **PS. I’m the girl in the stripey top and blazer who asked you and Adam if I was in the right place whilst you were running down the stairs…even though I recognise you both and you had ‘BOOKMARKED’ t-shirts on. **Blush**

    • Aha, so we did say hello, in a random sort of way. I was off to get another swift drink I think, I got very, very nervous all of a sudden. I am sure you didnt make a fool of yourself at all. I am so glad you enjoyed it (I saw your blog about it!)

  6. Kate

    Oh – I am so jealous Simon! Manchester and your fantastic sessions are an awful long way from Sydney…. otherwise I’d be there in a flash! Will just have to experience them from cyberspace.

    • Well hopefully I can bring some nice reports over the world wide web now and again. I am very excited about tomorrows, I am a huge fan of Val McDermid and having read MJ McGraths novel there is some exciting talent right there too.

  7. I hope to return to Manchester in the near future. And I will time it so that I can attend a BookMarked event.

    Congratulations on a great event!

  8. kimbofo

    So pleased to hear it all went well, Simon.
    Your t-shirts look terrific, but probably suited to chaps only as the red book logo resembles a square-shaped bra, so might look a bit provocative on a woman! 🙂

    • Thanks Kim. I hadn’t thought about the bra aspect if it was on a lady hahahaha thats hilarious. We are getting some lovely canvas bags made with the logo on, so will have to send you one of those at some point instead.

  9. Congrats! Sounds like a success! If I didn’t live across the pond, I definitely would have gone. Cheers to you!

  10. Pingback: Before You Go To Sleep, The TV Book Club Returns Tonight | Savidge Reads

  11. Pingback: A Year of Marvellous Ways – Sarah Winman | Savidge Reads

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