Jon Courtenay Grimwood, in his cunning disguise of Jonathan Grimwood, made an appearance at the Bath Literary Festival today. Naturally I went along to support him. I am, after all, very fond of The Last Banquet, and I needed to thank him for recommending Archipegalo.
It is good to see some of “our” people getting invitations to more mainstream events, but I do wish that literary festivals who choose to invite science fiction and fantasy authors to speak would provider interviewers who show them a little more respect. Jon was interviewed by a chap called John Walsh, who is apparently a restaurant critic. He began by reeling off a list of Jon’s career achievements, including noting that he had been a Guest of Honour at numerous “horrible” science fiction conventions, and then congratulated Jon on making the jump to writing “literature”. When it came time to go to the audience, I asked Jon a question deliberately designed to allow him to show that much of his science fiction and The Last Banquet shared key political themes. I hope that helped.
I wish they had talked more about the Corsican Republic which, to my mind, is one of the most fascinating parts of the book. Sadly Mr. Walsh was much more interested in that fact that Jon had been a nominee in the Bad Sex Awards (for a passage that pretty obviously wasn’t intended to be erotic). Still, it did give rise to the best exchange of the event, which went something like this:
Walsh: “So how does one go about writing a good sex scene”?
Jon: “Well it helps if you like having sex.”
I’d like to say that I came home to a delicious meal of seared coypu served with a locust and mealworm salad, but actually all I had was a microwaved plate of yesterday’s curry. Sorry.