Hello friends! It’s been a busy week. I was at Kingston WritersFest on Thursday, where Adwoa Badoe and I read and talked about our books. Adwoa’s first YA novel is called Between Sisters and it’s about 16-year-old Gloria, who goes to work as a maid in modern-day Ghana. You can’t really get further, geographically and culturally, from the Agency, but our terrific moderator, Susan Olding, led us through a lively conversation about social pressures, personal expectations, imperialism, our protagonists’ characters, and our writing process. She bridged the two worlds of the novels beautifully. I loved the really thoughtful audience questions, especially from Beth and Clara (hi!).
I also stopped in at Lethbridge, AB’s first-ever Word on the Street festival and chatted with readers there about the link between research and writing. Good times.
I’m reading Claire Tomalin’s Austen bio, Jane Austen: A Life, at every stolen moment and absolutely adoring it. It’s not just that I’m an Austenphile; Tomalin is such a wise, sympathetic, subtly observant biographer and she makes me think about things anew. For example, she really challenges my opinion of Sense and Sensibility, until now my least favourite of Austen’s novels. Tomalin argues that S&S is a debate connected to the politics of the 1790s, and that Austen’s characterizations of Elinor and Marianne are much subtler than I’d previously thought. I’m determined to re-read it, now, and see if I agree.
And finally, I have an official North American publication date for The Traitor in the Tunnel! February 28, 2012 is the Big Day. Huzzah!