But last night it served up something different. Tastes and Tales was an evening of munches and moody readings from three novelists: bestselling crime writer Samantha Hayes, dark fantasy author Joseph D’Lacey and myself.
What’s a deli doing hosting a literary evening? That was the question in my mind when Joseph invited me to take part. Readings only happen in Libraries and festivals, surely?
I arrived to find rows of chairs filling the shop (all tickets had been sold.) With the lights turned down and clusters of candles artfully positioned around the room, the atmosphere was perfect for the dark readings ahead. And did I mention that yummy smell?
|Samantha Hayes reads from "Until You're Mine"|
I don’t want to review the readings here (except to say that I had great fun listening to Sam and Joseph, who are excellent writers. I would happily have sat there listening to each of them for much longer.) What I do want to say is how much I admire the creative thinking of the people at Delish Deli for putting on such an evening.
Between each serving of literature, they circulated with platters of food for the delighted guests. Being unable to eat anything with gluten (and not having told them beforehand) I had to watch most of it pass by. But I must mention the vegetarian scotch eggs which, to judge by Joseph D’Lacey’s expression as he bit into one, must have been exquisite. Happily the strawberries dipped in chocolate were gluten free.
|Joseph D'Lacey at Tastes and Tales|
This is a time of rapid change in the world of books and publishing. Our wonderful publishers, bookshops and libraries are having to adapt as they try to find their place in the digital world. It is a challenging time for those who don’t like change. But for those who embrace it there are new and exciting opportunities. One of the things that has impressed me about my new publisher Angry Robot (who also publish Joseph’s books) is their fresh thinking and adaptability.
Where do Dark Tales at the Delish Deli fit in to this new world? All I can say is this: they sold all the tickets, the atmosphere was excellent, many books were bought and stories listened to, the authors were paid and everyone went home happy. All this at a time when writers are struggling to make ends meet, bookshops are closing at an alarming rate and libraries are cutting their hours.
Such was the success of the evening, I feel sure Delish will put on more similar events in future. And if they invite me to go, I will jump at the chance.