Bank Holiday Saturday, 4th May, a day of hailstones, strong, gusty winds, intense if fleeting sunlight and something worryingly similar to sleet – yes, definitely a British Bank Holiday Saturday. But also, for me, a day I spent at Yeading library, one of Hillingdon Libraries’ branches, for a unique event.
Invited to speak as an indie writer and to share my experiences of publishing and writing my novel ‘COUNTING THE WAYS,’the day was also to mark the very sad and recent loss of a local indie writer who had published a novel shortly before her untimely death. So the day comprised what must be the most unexpected combination of events – a memorial for a very much loved and admired best friend, sister, fiancé, acquaintance, on what would have been Yasmin Butt’s 46th birthday, in the library where she wrote, read and made close friends – and a celebration of indie writing and self-publishing.
Yet somehow, it worked. Somehow, the day was warm, supportive, full of affection and admiration. New connections were made, books talked about and bought. Yeading library is small in size yet exudes a sense of community that is underlined by the well-tended garden at the back of the building where flowers and vegetables are cultivated and grown. I’ve never come across a library before that grows vegetables! Who would have thought it? It sounds so random and just a little bizarre – but it’s a delightful addition to a library placed in a very urban setting and is evidence of the commitment of the people who work there and serve it so well. As Yeading’s lovely librarian Paramjit said, ‘It’s all about well-being.’ Good books, good food, a space to sit quietly and watch things growing.
I enjoyed talking about my novel ‘COUNTING THE WAYS’ – about the process of self-publishing with MATADOR and answering questions from the large and very friendly group gathered informally in the library. ‘COUNTING THE WAYS’ was published two years ago and since then I have been working on two other novels – ‘THE LEGACY OF MR JARVIS,’ to be published, hopefully, later this year and my third novel, as yet untitled. As a result, it’s the characters, events and settings of these two novels that come most swiftly to mind and it becomes a little challenging to remember all the details of the earlier novel! Another writer, A.K. Amherst who had come from Austria also talked about her novel BELFAST CENTRAL – one she wrote originally in her native German before translating into English!
Yeading library as well as Northwood library (where my long-standing librarian friend, Carol, often works) now have copies of ‘COUNTING THE WAYS.’
It was a very good day that managed to discuss writing and self publishing as well, most importantly, to remember and celebrate Yasmin and her writing and I felt privileged to be invited to be a part of it.