Reading at Shakespeare and Company Booksellers, Vienna

I think I have found the best little bookshop in the world! It was cold and damp last night, so what better place to be than in a cosy bookshop. About twenty people turned up for my reading which was hosted by the fine people at Shakespeare and Company Booksellers in Vienna. Thank you Guy, Sheila and Gerti for the venue, welcome, wine and nibbles, and thanks to all those who came for the evening.

As my contribution to International PEN’s Writers in Prison Day on 15 November, I read a poem by Osip Mandelstam from This Prison Where I Live :

You Left Me My Lips

You took away all the oceans and all the room.
You gave me my shoe-size with bars around it.
Where did it get you? Nowhere.
You left me my lips, and they shape words, even in silence.

Then I read a story, “Widow’s Peak” from the Duckworth anthology Valentine’s Day: Stories of Revenge. (The story doesn’t belong to me anymore, but the funny thing is it can be read online as part of the “search” function of Look Inside.)

Finally I read several stories from Back Burning and then went off to look for my voice in a glass or two of the wine that was graciously offered. The atmosphere was delightful during the whole evening and my knees only jumbled once I had finished reading. Later on a few of us sat around sipping some 8-year old golden whisky and winding up the evening.

Oh and apart from the publisher IP Oz and certain bookshops and libraries in Australia, the only other place in the world where you can get copies of Back Burning from the original print run with that lovely matt cover is at Shakespeare & Company Booksellers, Vienna. And it is even cheaper there than at Amazon.

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