A few weeks ago I was in Brazil to attend the Bienal Do Livro.
I was impressed by the scale of the festival, it occupied three large pavilions and ran from the 3rd of September to the 13th. It was very well organised and appeared to be busy at all times of the day and was an interesting festival to be part of. At my talk I wore headphones as did those in the audience who didn’t speak English. There was a translator in a booth at the back and when I spoke she translated into Portuguese and when I was asked a question she translated into English. It was very efficient and apart from me forgetting sometimes to take my headphones off so when I spoke I could hear myself in Portuguese it was a very seamless way of communicating. “Just like the UN!’ someone said, and when I was escorted back to my hotel by a couple of body guards I did feel like a dignitary! All authors who were presenting were asked to take a selfie with the audience behind them – it may come as a shock to many that I could reach 70 and never take a selfie but this was my first ever.
My publishers Bertrand were great hosts and it was lovely to meet them. Brazilian readers are very enthusiastic and I signed for three hours and took part in a lot of selfies ( I didn’t take these ones ). I met some lovely people and many of them had travelled a long way to be there, it is very humbling to be confronted with that level of commitment and I was very touched by it. Later in the week I went to Sao Paolo, where I experienced rain equal to Lancashire rain, but despite this many people turned up to meet me and have their books signed and again I was truly appreciative.
Danny Mainzer who was the artist behind the Spook lego presented me with the original photo which I now have hanging on my study wall Maria Clara showed me the tattoo on her back. What can I say, Grimalkins scissors seem made for this. I was speechless! At a signing a few years ago I met a young man who had the Spook icon tattooed on his arm.
I had a couple of days at the end of my festival commitments to explore a little of Brazil, but as ever never long enough and I would definitely like to go back.