A blog about writing, reading, travelling and great characters I meet in life. I love these things more than cheese-on-toast times trampolines times monkeys.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Hats off to Queenie Dove – 'Lucky Bunny'

The heart of Soho – the perfect location for the 1950s themed launch of Jill Dawson’s latest novel, Lucky Bunny.

Guests raised their glasses at Kettner’s Champagne Bar to Jill Dawson, author of seven novels published by Sceptre, including Orange Prize shortlisted Fred & Edie and The Great Lover, a Richard and Judy Summer Read in 2009.

Here’s Jill (pictured left) with her close friend and fellow writer, Carole Angier, biographer of Jean Rhys and Primo Levi.

The talk and buzz of the evening was all down to Queenie Dove, the daring and vivacious protagonist of Lucky Bunny.

Queenie’s optimism is captivating from the first page of her story, starting with her childhood in the 1930s in East London, through evacuation to Ely and life in London during the Blitz, then to locations including Soho, Hackney and Mayfair for a story of crime, love, loss and survival.

Joining Jill and Queenie to celebrate the launch of Lucky Bunny...

The team from Sceptre (pictured below) – Jill thanked her hardworking publishing team at Sceptre for a relationship that has spanned seven novels and over 15 years, as well as her literary agency, United Agents.

It was fantastic to meet author John Harding (pictured right with architect Meredith Bowles). John has written four novels including Florence and Giles and One Big Damn Puzzler, which a writer friend Lesley Cox had just recommended to me as ‘an extraordinarily witty and original novel’.

John talked about the magical moment in the novel-writing process when his characters become so vital that the storytelling becomes effortless.

I chatted to crime writer Michelle Spring about why she loves mentoring aspiring writers and how it continuously refreshes her own work to pass on her writing insights to others – I’m looking forward to getting a copy of her novel Nights in White Satin.

And I couldn’t resist quizzing author and sitcom writer Kathy Lette about men. Kathy’s titles include Men – A User’s Guide and How to Kill Your Husband and Other Handy Household Hints. Kathy’s cheeky smile and Aussie accent filled the room with a good dose of naughtiness.

A big thank you to composer and pianist, Robert Ninot for entertaining us all evening on the piano.

Reviews for Lucky Bunny include...

'A moving, wonderfully evocative story of love, danger and passionate intensity.' (Jake Arnott)

'I adored Queenie Dove: she is such a force of nature, a compelling character who arrives in the world with nothing to live on except huge reserves of wit. Queenie's sassy optimism and charm is so convincing that all the time I was rooting for her I had to keep reminding myself that this was a novel and not a memoir. It's the best thing I've read for ages.'
(Polly Samson )

'Heart-rippingly painful and joyously playful. A major prize-winning contender.'
(Sainsbury's magazine)

Some 50s-themed outfits at the launch...