On Tuesday 5th March I was invited to the 17th floor of the incredible News Building in central London to a showcase event of some of 2019’s biggest books published by 4th Estate. Luckily I got to attend with two of my best blogging mates Ilovedreadingthis and keeperofpages
On arrival we were treated to drinks and snacks and invited to help ourselves from a table that was literally groaning under the weight of lots of interesting books. Obviously, not having any self control, I took quite a few with no regard to how I was going to carry them all home. We also we given a tote bag on our chair which held another couple of great books, including a beautiful Matchbook edition of Half of a Yellow Sun by Ngozi Adichie.
There were 5 authors attending and the event was chaired by freelance journalist Sarah Shaffi. First up she spoke with Amrou Al-Kadhi who attended in the best outfit ever! Unicorn is a memoir by drag troupe leader ‘Glamrou’, exploring their journey from “god-fearing Muslim boy to an influential drag queen.” Unicorn is out on 3rd October.
Angela Saini spoke about her book Superior which looks into the re-emergence of scientific research into racial differences, known as race science. I knew about research into eugenics, especially in Nazi Germany but had no idea it is something that is still being researched today and some of the things she said were truly shocking. Superior is published on 30th May.
Next up was Sofie Hagen, a comedian and fat activist with her book Happy Fat which wins the best book cover ever! In it, she shares how she removed fatphobic influences from her daily life and found self-acceptance in a world where judgement and discrimination are rife. Part-memoir, part-social commentary, Happy Fat is a look at how taking up space in a culture that is desperate to reduce you can be radical, emboldening and life-changing. Out 2nd May.
Frances Liardet was the only speaker of the night talking about a fiction book We Must be Brave. As German bombs fall on Southampton in December 1940, the city’s residents flee to the surrounding villages. In Upton village, newly-married Ellen Parr finds a girl sleeping, unclaimed at the back of an empty bus. Five-year-old Pamela, it seems, is entirely alone. As regular readers will know, I really enjoy books set in the 2nd World War and the cover to this one is just beautiful! We Must be Brave is out now.
Finally, the last book of the evening was How to Fail by Elizabeth Day, based on the podcast with the same name. This one really appeals to me – I’ve recently realised I might be a tiny bit of a control freak which is stressful when things go wrong so I’m hoping this book will help me learn to shrug things off a bit. My favourite chapter is titled “How to Fail at Being Gwyneth Paltrow” – other chapters cover dating, work, sport, babies, families, anger and friendship. Out on 4th April.
The event finished with a opportunity to meet the authors and to get our books signed and to mingle with other bookstagrammers and bloggers before struggling home with a bag full of goodies! Thank you to 4th Estate Books for the invite!