Took myself to Montecasino, Pretoria South last night for an event at Skoobs, the Theatre Of Books. Now as a rule, I try not to venture north of Jan Smits avenue if I can possibly avoid it, but with Joanne Hichens speaking along with Peter Church, I was intrigued, Skoobs is amazing!
Have you been there? Double volume, upstairs downstairs book shop with a huge gaming area, coffee shop, champagne bar complete with pianist. Did I say champagne bar? Yes, my favourite feature~!
It is also run by the most awesome people who clearly give a damn and are so supportive of South African writers and publishers; it really always is a pleasure to be there. So yes, scoffed the snacks, listened to Joanne and Peter talk and really enjoyed myself. It was an, erm, intimate crowd, which always seems like a pity to me… how well marketed are these things, or is the thought of Montecasino on a Thursday night straight after work just too much for most people to bear?
The questions afterwards intrigued me the most. Joanne is a crime writer and has some nice, nasty characters, and Peter writes about youth running wild on drugs and drink. To judge by the tenor of a lot of the questions, you’d swear here in South Africa no-one has ever had to deal with these things… interesting. I liked Peter’s one response best: “For South African readers, they seem totally fine accepting all sorts of horrible things if its Stieg Larsen or an international writer, but seem to battle with the idea that it might happen here in South Africa.” I couldn’t agree more. Despite so much everyday evidence to the contrary, we DO seem to have some blind faith in the idea that really bad things just don’t happen on our doorstep…
It is as if by denying that such things exist we can ward their spectre away. Human nature I guess, to want the best, the nicest. All I can say though is that these readers better not stumble across one of my books! I suspect what a lot of my characters get up to is way worse than what they already termed ‘grotesque!’
So, if you ever find yourself moored beyond civilisation down the William Nicol highway, do yourself a favour and pop into Skoobs . They have great staff, a great selection of books and games. They are friendly, knowledgeable and fun; go on, you know you want to! And while you’re there, ask to get added to their mailing list so next time we can have a chat at their bar over a glass of bubbles, m’kay?
Check out there site by clicking here!