The event coincided with the launch of a new anthology, published by Oxford-based Solaris Books, this time on the theme of Magic, however the writers wished to interpret that in short story form. The cover illustrations are by the amazingly gifted, Paris-based Nicolas Delort, whom I've just discovered and bookmarked (also on Tumblr here). Speakers were Dan Abnett (who looked a bit familiar from comic conventions - ah, he's made comics for Marvel, DC and writes Warhammer books) and Audrey Niffenegger (I'm a fan of her novels and illustrated books, including Her Fearful Symmetry, The Time Traveler's Wife and The Three Incestuous Sisters) Our book club read one of Sophia McDougall's books, Romanitas, set in a modern-day still-Roman empire, and Jonathan Oliver edited the anthology, and has more themed short-story anthologies in the works. (Find out more about the Magic anthology here.)
Audrey passed around a fascinating book by the father of the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Charles Altamont Doyle. The guy suffered terrible depression and alcoholism, and kept a beautiful diary with weird and wonderful illustrations, sketches and paintings in it. Audrey used the diary as her inspiration for the story about Doyle in the asylum, The Wrong Fairy, and I can see how it's also influenced her visual work. Really remarkable stuff, I've ordered my own copy to have a proper browse.
(That's @LizUK reviewer Liz de Jager's hand, holding the book steady.) You can follow Jonathan on Twitter - @JonOlivereditor, as well as the publisher Ben Smith - @Mr_BenSmith / @SolarisBooks - who came along for the evening. (He also publishes 2000 AD comics.) Sophia's on Twitter - @McDougallSophia, as is Dan: @VincentAbnett. Thanks for hosting, Foyles! And a big thanks to Foyles' fabulous Neil Jackson for hanging on to the copy of The Phanton Tollbooth which Norton Juster signed for me at the last event! (Read about that evening here.)