To the lovely Guildford Book Festival Readers' Day yesterday. Lovely for so many reasons. This day is dedicated to readers. Writers are invited to meet readers who have read their books for a group discussion, and then there are questions and answers about books writer' have enjoyed and the reading and writing experience in general.
One of the nicest possible compliments was paid me yesterday (I say this not to brag (well, a bit), but to make a point about the reader writer relationship). A reader made a point of telling me that she had wanted to meet me, and was pleased that she was not disappointed. I think she meant that she had enjoyed my writing and hoped I wouldn't prove to be cold or self-obsessed or tedious.
So much is written now about whether writers should blog and tweet, should read Amazon reviews, should connect with readers. It's said that the idea of the writer sitting in her ivory tower, churning out deathless prose, is all gone, as if that's a sorrow. But was that image ever true? Haven't writers always wanted to be read? I don't spend two years writing a book in order to see it float away on some nebulous cloud of literary output. I write it because it's a story I want to tell, and it matters to me that I share it. Just as when I read or hear a good story, I want to share that too.
So thank you for readers' days, and readers' groups, and magazines and blogs and web-sites that cater for readers, and libraries and book shops and everyone who promotes the reading experience.