This site has been uncomfortably quiet again. My excuse this time? I spent much of last week in the beautiful town of Avilés, Spain at the second Celsius 232 literary festival. A wonderfully relaxed event organised by a group of lovely people, it was an honour to attend alongside a number of other English-speaking authors including Joe Abercrombie, Lauren Beukes, Christopher Priest, Paul McAuley, John Courtenay Grimwood and Nina Allen. It’s a huge thrill for me whenever I’m asked to sign books for people, but the experience of travelling almost a thousand miles from home and being asked to sign translated editions of those books… well, that’s something else. It’s very humbling to be able to connect with people like that when you don’t even speak the same language!
The view from the hotel tower
Particular thanks to the organising team – Jorge, Cristina, Ian and Ana – for inviting me and for being so hospitable. Thanks also to Jesús Palacios for hosting a really enjoyable interview session and to Diego Garcia Cruz, whose translation skills genuinely have to be seen to be believed. Diego translated the questions into English while they were being asked, listened intently to my rambling answers and made shorthand notes, then translated back to the audience word for word, complete with matching hand gestures and intonation. Astonishing.
Some dodgy zombie books for sale…
Other highlights… well apart from being a typical tourist and wandering around Avilés and the surrounding area with my wife (four days in the sun without the kids… you have to seize these chances when they present themselves!), I’d have to say that watching Willow (in Spanish, of course – it seemed to make more sense when I couldn’t understand the dialogue) outdoors in the Plaza España along with several hundred other folks was unexpectedly entertaining. And taking part in a panel about having your book adapted for screen alongside Robert J Sawyer (who wrote Fast Forward) and Christopher Priest (who, of course, wrote The Prestige), was both a great experience and an education.
Jesús Palacios, Jorge Iván Argiz, Robert J Sawyer, Christopher Priest, Diego Garcia Cruz and myself (photo: www.celsius232.es)
A wonderful and unique festival experience. Thank you, Celsius 232! Read more about this exceptional event by visiting the festival’s official site.