It was no exaggeration to say that it ranked as one of the best nights of my life. There are some events which truly stand out and the night of Friday 29th November was one. It was the night when one of my dreams came true. I sat at a desk and signed copies of my book for people I loved, people I knew and people I didn’t know. Girded with the Parker fountain pen my best friend had bought me decades ago, I wrote dedications and signed my name, accompanied by a nice glass of red.
It started when I got out of the taxi. The wonderful Atlantis Bookshop had filled the window display with copies of Witchcraft in Early Modern Poland and I gleefully posed for pictures against a dream backdrop. Food and wine was abundant and made my nerves less obvious as I got up to speak and to thank everyone for coming. I picked out a few paragraphs to read that encompassed the changes in witchcraft accusations over the period 1500-1800 and then the Oscar speech. Guests included family, university friends, mum friends, work colleagues and the wonderful Sanela and Bekim who run The Literary Café, where I and a host of others have written books, plays and other works.
Everyone who has fought the battle to turn a manuscript into an ISBN number should organize a launch event. You may well sell a few more copies, but it’s not about that. It’s a ceremony for letting go, for celebrating all that you’ve done and all those who helped you to do it, but perhaps more importantly, it allows you to stop procrastinating over the new project. Now I can fully devote myself to the next work in progress as crafters say.
As I signed books and posed for photographs, I was determined that this was just the beginning. If I’m ever feeling stuck when writing or not in the mood, I just think about how much pleasure that evening gave me and crack on with it. After a small taste of being an author, I definitely want more.