The email asked if I would be interested in taking part in this year’s Aye Write! book festival, to talk about My Heart’s Content. I read it three times to be sure.
What you grinning at? Paul asked. I read him the email.
Well are you interested? he said. I nodded vigorously and asked if he wanted a cup of tea. He raised an eyebrow.
I’m playing it cool, I said. Don’t want to appear too eager.
Half way to the kitchen, which in our flat is around 10 steps, my coolness, such as it is, dissipated and I rushed back to send my reply, fully expecting to see a message telling me my window for responding had expired and I’d missed the opportunity. Or dreamed it.
Let me set my excitement in context. For those of you who aren’t aware, Aye Write! is Glasgow’s annual book festival. As with the city in which it’s based, it is big, bold and friendly. And this year, it was online, which means you could buy a pass for the whole festival and watch at your convenience.
There were sessions about dealing with grief, and the healing power of nature. Rock stars talked about memoirs and authors talked about fiction being the new rock n roll. There were authors talking politics and politicians, including Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, talking books.
Participating authors included big hitters Andrew O’Hagan, Douglas Stuart and Maggie O’Farrell, alongside those less well known but equally brilliant, such as Helen McClory, Ruth Thomas and Jenni Fagan. And there were those just starting out, like me!
The Scottish Debuts, of which I was one, opened the festival, with a flurry of Tweets and a dance around the living room (in our house at least). The event was pre-recorded, which given my nerves, was just as well. We were each allotted a few minutes to do with what we wanted – read from our book, talk about our writing, grin inanely. I opted for all three.
And so, on Friday 14 May, there I was, reading from the book I had written, to an invisible audience (which would have included my mum, if she had been able to get the link to work on time) as part of one of the UK’s biggest book festivals.
Just another ordinary day then: aye right!
*Although the main Aye Write! festival is now over, you can watch the events online for up to three weeks from the date of their release. Check out Glasgow Life TV to find out what’s available.
The Scottish Debuts event is free and still available to watch for a couple more days.
To buy a copy of My Heart’s Content: A Journey to Transplant, visit Liminal Ink.