Sunday, 8 April 2012

Anne Tyler in Oxford

Chloe and Imogen at Christ Church

Just floated back down to earth after attending the literary event of the year - if not the decade - last Sunday. Anne Tyler's interview at the Sheldonian Theatre in beautiful Oxford.

The theatre was packed and the audience was quite jittery . Knowing that Tyler is notoriously reticent to be interviewed I think we were nervous on her behalf. In fact she was extremely composed and serene. The audience was apparently full of writers (although I didn't recognise anybody!) and she spoke a lot about the writing life, how she is happiest when writing, how she drafts and redrafts continuously and how she loves to be in the middle of writing a novel.

The audience were invited to ask questions and as a reader rather than a writer I was most interested in the question about what she likes to read. She said that she reads a lot of contemporary novels particularly first novels and that she came to Jane Austen late, reading Pride and Prejudice in her thirties when she was in bed with flu. She was warm and funny and throughout this week I've recalled different things she said. A podcast is available on The Sunday Times website but it is not free, unfortunately.

After the interview I bought a copy of the new book The Beginners Goodbye but the queue for signing stretched right around the theatre so I decided not to wait because I wanted to join my daughter Chloe and her friend Imogen to wander around Oxford, look at beautiful Christ Church college, browse Blackwell's enormous book store and visit the ice cream cafe in St Aldates. A very enjoyable day.


Joan Hunter Dunn said...

How wonderful to hear Anne Tyler speak & hear her voice in your head when you next read her.

Clare said...

Oh lucky you, I so wished I could have gone. I just recently finished The Beginner's Goodbye and I loved it.

Cath said...

It all sounds wonderful. Particularly the ice-cream parlour. :-)

Sunday Taylor said...

What a wonderful experience to hear Anne Tyler speak in Oxford! And to go to Blackwell's, one of my favorite book stores! A perfect day.

FleurFisher said...

How wonderful. I have read so much praise for The Beginner's Goodbye, and I am waiting patiently to place my order as soon as the library puts it into stock.

Anbolyn said...

I've been wondering how her appearance went! Such a treat to be able to hear in person an author you admire. I have one of her books on my bedside stack and I'll probably begin it this weekend. I never would have reconsidered her if it wasn't for you. I'm looking forward to discovering her work!

Anonymous said...

Hi Nicola,
thanks for your comment on my Margot post (love her!). And may I compliment you on your reading taste. Some excellent authors here. I would recommend Marilynne Robinson, Tobias Wolff and Tove Jansson but you probably know all about them already!

Cathy at PotterJotter said...

Sounds great - only visited Oxford once and loved Blackwells (bought a pottery book there!). Can't believe she took so long to get to Jane Austen! XCathy

Kat said...

Lucky you! I'd love to hear Tyler. Can't wait to hear what you think of the book.

lifeonthecutoff said...

What a lovely event to be able to attend. I'm green with envy - Anne Tyler AND Oxford.

Nan said...

A perfect, perfect day. An author, a great location, time with your girl.

Vintage Reading said...

Joan, hi, yes, I'm glad I have listened to this great writer in my lifetime.

Clare, I enjoyed TBG, but I have to say I don't think it is her finest work. For me it's Breathing Lessons, what's your favourite?

Cath, yes, there should be more ice cream parlours, I think!

Sunday, that was my first visit to Blackwell's - it is an amazing bookshop. I'm planning to go back.

Fleur, TBG is a good novel, but I don't think it's the finest Tyler.

Anbolyn, do let me know when you start a Tyler novel, I'd love to know what you think.

Overdue, loved Gilead, but I could not get into the latest collection of essays. Just not my cup of tea!

Cathy, oh Blackwell's is brilliant - I'm planning a return visit very soon.

Kat, I'm so pleased I saw Tyler in my lifetime. Enjoyed TBG but not her greatest novel.

lifeonthecuff, the Sheldonian was the perfect setting and Tyler was so eloquent about her love for writing. A wonderful day.

Nan, yes, as my daughters get older (they are 16) they want to spend more time with their friends than their mum which is natural so it was nice to have a day out together!

Penny said...

What a lovely experience! My DD and I are having a 'Lewis-Fest' at the moment and I'd LOVE to visit Oxford and see all those beautiful buildings 'in the flesh', so to speak! :o)
And Anne Tyler! Wow! I think maybe my favourite is Noah's Compass, but I've enjoyed lots of them. As JHD said, it'll be lovely for you to be able to read her books with her voice in your head now!