Thursday, September 30, 2010

An evening with Cornelia Funke

Tonight was one of the highlights of my bloggery / fan-girly "career".  I got to attend an event to celebrate the launch of Cornelia Funke's new novel RECKLESS.

I had an opportunity much earlier this year to meet her, at the Chicken House 10 year birthday, but due to being struck down with swine-flu, I couldn't attend.  However, tonight made up for that 100%.  I am still smiling.

Mary, the PR person sent me an email last week to tell me about this dress that Cornelia would be wearing and to make sure that I bring my camera to document it.  Well, I invariably lug my trusty little Nikon with and wow, what an event.

First, let's show off some photos.

Hmm - shiny pretty bookses

I could not resist taking this shot of the room reflected - and no, that's not me you can just about see...
Fantastic treasure on display 

The Lady and the Dress - I have dubbed Cornelia Funke in this dress as the Queen of Air and Darkness

A genuinely charismatic and down to earth lady with a tremendous story-telling gift

Michael Schellenberg from Canada and Cornelia Funke 

Cornelia and Lionel Wigram, co-creator of Reckless in discussion with Nicolette Jones.

It was such a treat listen to Ms. Funke and Mr. Wigram chat about how they came together through mutual friends and then found out that they are very much on the same wave-length when it comes to storytelling.

Now, for those of you who don't know, Lionel Wigram is a pretty cool guy in his own right.  Embarrassingly, it took me AGES to realise who he was.  But once I did, I resolved to chat to him about Sherlock Holmes which I loved.  

I digress - so Nicolette Jones (dressed beautifully in a period frock) chatted to Ms. Funke and Mr. Wigram about their partnership and how different it must have been for Cornelia to work with a narrative partner at this time.  

I was struck by how genuine Ms. Funke seemed.  And wonderfully confident and charismatic.  She spoke the most, I'd say, but she had her audience hanging on her every word.  Between the two of them, they had an easy banter and Nicolette had only been given 20 minutes to chat to them, but I suspect we could have stood there listening to them for a good hour or more.  

Afterwards, Mr. Barry Cunningham, the head of ChickenHouse told us all to nab some of the books off the display and to get the author and co-creator to sign it.  I did not need to be invited twice.  I got two copies - one for me, of course, and one for my friend in Cape Town.  Her name is Michelle and it is through Michelle that I discovered Inkheart and subsequently my love for children's literature.  So, a big thanks, lovely Mich, for sharing your obsession. 

And that's my story - it was an amazing evening.  I didn't really get the chance to say much to Ms. Funke as there was an entire room keen to talk to her. 

Oh! Before I do log off - the picture of Michael and Cornelia has an amusing story:  Michael was downstairs at the venue with some friends when he spotted Mary, the PR lady.  Mary told Michael she was at Beach Blanket Babylon to host an event for an author.  Michael asked who - and then when he heard it was Cornelia, he decided he had to come up and be part of it.  It turns out that Michael works for Random House Canada.  So I made sure to nab his card off him so that I can send him a link to the blogpost so that he has another picture of him and Ms. Funke mugging for the camera. 

My review for Reckless should be soon - I'm taking it with me on holiday to France. A big thanks to Barry Cunningham and his wonderful staff and Mary, for the very flattering invitation to the event.  I am one exceedingly happy fan girl.  Dreams are made of this. 


Lynsey Newton said...

WOW, WOW and WOW. The room looked so atmospheric and THAT DRESS! I had the chance to meet Cornelia tomorrow as she is in Southampton but sadly it conflicts with meeting Maggie Stiefvater so I can't go. I have bought Reckless however!

Glad you had a great time, you lucky thing ;)

Unknown said...

Looks amazing! What a fab evening!

Zoë Marriott said...

Holy cr*p I am so jealous of you! Why can't I live in London? Why? WHY? *Sobs*

Rhys said...

Oh, you don't know how jealous I am...I wish I were there, I <3 Cornelia Funke...xD

Mieneke van der Salm said...

That dress is just AMAZING! The entourage looks fabulous and it sounds like you had a whale of a time :D And I agree with Zoë, I want to live in London too, or at least be abke to visit there more easily/often lol

Anonymous said...

Hey there,

Very cool to be mentioned...but don't tell my goddaughter...she's getting a signed copy of RECKLESS for Christmas. She already read the book--on the day it was released!