In my current job at the library (and when I worked for Waterstone's) planning events with authors is a routine part of my job and over the past 10+ years I've been lucky enough to meet many authors.
However as the person organising the events I haven't always been able to enjoy them thoroughly. I'm on edge during them, making sure that the building stays relatively quiet, that the author doesn't need anything etc etc.
This week I went to see Alan Hollinghurst at UEA where he was speaking as part of the Autumn Literary Festival and once I remembered that I could just sit back and relax I really enjoyed the talk.
I've admired Mr Hollinghurst for a few years now and while a lot of the talk was about the newest novel (The Stranger's Child) there was also a lot about the other novels and the influences on Hollinghurst's work. I didn't find the new book to be my favourite novel but hearing about it from the horse's mouth (so to speak) did make me look at it in a different way and I now understand a little more of why it is structured as it is.
Mr Hollinghurst had a fantastic voice, as well as being very interesting speaker, and it was a delight to be able to sit for the whole hour and just listen without having to be on duty.
I am pleased that I get the chance to meet so many fantastic authors, and I'm already well under way planing events for next spring, but I must try to go to more talks where I can concentrate on the speaker!