I always say having a book launch is rather like having a Bar Mitzvah, except no one gives you Parker pens. But still, you do a shitload of work, people pitch, listen to you talk, and congratulate you. Also, not unlike a Bar Mitzvah, there’s usually lousy food, but not a lot of it. In my case, they don’t give me Parker pens but I often end up stealing a few Bics. Does that count? The launches for TRIBE have all been fanfuckingtastic.
I loved the one at The Book Lounge: The Book Lounge is a cult store, it’s got to be one of the coolest bookstores in the world. The talented Ruby Wax did the interview. Anyone who thought that my bestie had come to sycophantically stroke my ego soon realised that she was there to ask challenging questions about the book. But then, Ruby is obviously madly brilliant and funny, so more than anything else, we were really just having a lot of fun. As I hope were the audience. And if they weren’t, well, fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke.
Kalk Bay Books is another gorgeous Cape Town store. It’s cosy and somehow envelops one with a sense of comfort and literature. You feel like you could curl up and read all day in that store. I was interviewed by the marvellous, witty Jennifer Crocker. She’s got to be one of the smartest women around. She told funny anecdotes and kept the audience enthralled with her brilliant questions. It was much smaller and more intimate, but that was also kind of nice for a Thursday night.
Photographs by Liesl Jobson
Love Books in Johannesburg is such a way cool store that it just got a mentioning in The New York Times. But I don’t think necessarily it’s just the ‘cool factor’ that makes it so great to hang out in: again it’s the intimacy and comfort. What all these stores have in common is their genuine LOVE OF BOOKS. The staff all care and are knowledgeable about literature and the shelves are lined with great books.
Mbali Vilakazi did the launch at Love Books, and she was truly awesome, because she was confident in how well she knew the book and she could zone in on themes of the book which had never actually occurred to me. Mbali just sees the world through different lenses– so she kind of reads books with a refreshing, new eye. Making it a really interesting interview, for me certainly.
At the Love Books launch I saw old friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen for years, so it was a celebration of the book and a celebration of Joburg, and the fantastic, funky, marvelous people it clutches on to. I’ve been truly blessed with these three launches, such fanfuckingtastic stores, and interviewers don’t come round with many books, and certainly, neither do this calibre of readers.