events are always a bit of a joy, but I was particularly excited to try
this one - a ghost walk around the spooky stairwells of the shop and
surroundings, then a talk from Frances Hardinge about her latest book, A
Skinful Of Shadows.
The ghost walk was charmingly delivered by two of the Blackwell’s staff. We went out to Broad Street to look at the Martyrs Memorial and hear about ghosts in the Sheldonian and White Horse pub, then went back into the bookshop to tour various spooky sights. I particularly enjoyed some of the other staff members on the tour interjecting their own versions of the ghost stories. Seeing some of the hidden parts of the shop and hearing about the history of the building and institution was also extremely interesting. While this element of the evening could definitely have been a lot slicker, it was enjoyable and obviously well researched.
Frances Hardinge is an incredibly engaging speaker and her deep passion for her subject matter was clear. Her stories of ghosts were lovingly told, and I especially liked her ideas on why the ghosts we see are always aristocrats, and what that says about the stories we remember. She also read from her new book, A Skinful of Shadows, a copy of which was free with the ticket price, and stayed around to chat and sign copies.
This was an imaginative and charming event, and represented incredible value for money - tickets were only £8 and included a copy of the book, which retails at that. So essentially, that’s an hour and half’s entertainment, plus a much more intimate-than-normal book signing, for free. This whole event was obviously put together with love for the author, the book and the readers. Keep an eye on their calendar for more gems!