Sunday, 8 May 2011


I don't just read books - I'm also known to go along to authors' talks and book signings and try to hide in the back row. So, I went along to a lovely evening at the Institut francais last week to hear the converstation with Joanne Harris and Tatiana de Rosnay about being French and English and loving literature. I wasn't expecting the endearing muddle that is Joanne Harris: beautiful French accent when speaking French, but strong Barnsley accent when speaking English. She wore statement jewellery (three large yellow stones set in gold on a chain) which suited her, but the elegant white linen-like jacket clashed horribly with pale blue jeans, yellow socks and plain trainers. She was quite happy to refer to herself as a mongrel and scruffy, so I don't suppose she minds. Tatiana de Rosnay is much more French in appearance: groomed, soignee and terrifyingly elegant. She was more at ease and quicker to respond, though Joanne gave the questions more obvious consideration. It was an evening of anecdotes and memories as you cover childhood, teachers, books you were exposed to (in both languages) and when. Nothing ground-breaking, nothing unexpected. Interesting that both women retreat to the classics in both French and English and find the modern novel difficult to enjoy. I now have a list of French authors to try - this may take some time as I'm not exactly sure that I spelled some names correctly.


  1. I always try to hide in the back row at panels and whatnot as well! I also never get up the courage to ask any questions-- did you get to ask anything? :)

  2. No - I didn't have any questions as both authors were incredibly generous with their comments in the talk and everything had reached a natural conclusion. There were a couple of people determined to be clever and ask questions to show how much they knew about prize-winning French literature so I let them.