Last weekend I went to Denver for a fantastic event that Tattered Cover hosts once a year: Writers Respond to Readers. The program brings four writers together for a day of readings, book discussions, and general merriment, with an audience of seriously dedicated book fans. This audience! I could talk about them for days. They were so well-read and engaged, the questions that they asked were unbelievably interesting, and the spirit of the event was one of kindness and welcoming. I sat in the back, like the lurker I am, and watched them as they closed their eyes during the readings, nodding along, and watched them again when they opened those eyes to take notes on the authors’ talks. Charles Stillwagon, one of the hardest-working and loveliest event coordinators out there, had invited J. Courtney Sullivan (Maine), Thrity Umrigar (The World We Found), Karen Essex (Dracula in Love) and our own Eowyn Ivey (The Snow Child). They were just wonderful, each very different from the others.
Our Eowyn killed it. I don’t think she’ll mind if I tell you that she was a little nervous beforehand—she was the only debut novelist there and the other speakers were fantastic. When she said it was her first reading, the audience cheered her on. When she announced that The Snow Child is #1 in Norway, even more applause. And during the long, lively Q&A, a woman stood up and said “You said you were nervous, but you didn’t seem to be to me. It was a very good reading.” Cue still more cheering. Because it was a very good reading.
Eowyn jokingly called me “mom” a few times and I’m not sure why. But maybe it was the following deluge of photographs I forced her to pose for as if it was her first day at school: