Have you ever had a weekend that left you walking on Cloud 9? May I tell you about mine?
Friday night I was a very fortunate guest of the wonderful people at Simon & Schuster Australia at the Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) in the glittering heart of our tartiest capital city, Sydney.
On arrival at the Four Seasons Hotel I realised my L-plates were showing. I’d glammed up in a glittery mint green dress and a 1950’s vintage white stole and realised I was overdressed as I stepped into a sea of black. It looked more like Melbourne than Sydney. I thought I’d walked into the Emerging Writers Festival via some accidental warp in the space/time continuum.
Of course, I hadn’t. I sat through the entire award presentation with my mouth hanging open as I watched heroine after bookish hero take to the stage and open envelopes. Lucky for them (I’m looking particularly at you Kate Forsyth, Andy Griffiths and Nikki Gemmel) I couldn’t find them in the crowd to gush foolishly over them like a kid with their favourite AFL footballer.
Two days later I stood in the warm surrounds of the very special Element Restaurant in Eltham (click on the link to see just how beautiful this place is) preparing for the launch of The Yearning. What a perfect setting. The intimacy, the HUGE open fire, the image of a wine glass set into the stone floor all make for a welcoming, comfortable and quietly sophisticated atmosphere. And the Element staff were generosity itself, surprising me with a $100 dinner voucher to use a door prize.
Meera from Eltham Bookshop set up a glorious table of books and guests were welcomed with a copy of The Yearning plus another plain wrapped book as a special surprise. Monet and Aaron played sensual music on piano and saxophone (my favourite instrument) while conversation and drinks flowed.The room filled, mostly with many, many special women who have been my friends and supporters throughout my life. As I looked around the room I was overwhelmed with gratitude. These women have shared my life in ways that’s difficult to explain in words. They have buoyed me when I thought I was drowning, laughed with me (and at me) when I’ve made a fool of myself, forgiven me when I’ve done or said something stupid. I can’t imagine being where I am without them. And I am still so, so grateful they were there last night to share this very special moment with me.
Paddy O’Reilly as host was so gracious and made the job of talking about The Yearning easy. The half hour of formalities just flew by and before I knew it I was sat at a table signing books, giving out red chocolate lips and big cuddles.
Sincerest, heart felt thanks to the amazing Eltham Bookshop, Simon & Schuster Australia, Element Restaurant (they make their own butter you know, it’s worth going just to taste it) and everyone who came to christen my baby book and send it of on its wobbly feet into the world.
Congratulations to Tracey who walked away with this door prize hamper and Annalisa who will be visiting Element Restaurant again with her dinner voucher.
Door prizes - Element Restaurant $100 voucher & hamper