The launch party was held at Waterstones Hampstead; a branch I had never visited before. It was such a lovely venue and the perfect place for a book launch. There was plenty of space for mingling and eating cake (!) but not too big that you felt overwhelmed. As soon as I arrived I could feel the electric atmosphere; the place was buzzing with excitement. The turnout was incredible and the upstairs space was packed with people. The champagne was flowing and everyone was chatting, waiting for the special guests of the evening.
First off we heard from Yael Rischler, children's bookseller at Waterstones Hampstead, who gave an amazing and emotional speech about finally getting Read Me Like A Book out into the world, and then we heard from the woman of the hour herself. I have to say that I learned a lot; I wasn't at all knowledgable about Section 28 or what it entailed, however Liz added that it politicised her and that's when she started writing Read Me Like A Book. There were countless rejections. No one wanted it. At one point, she thought that it would have to forever sit at the bottom of a drawer. Then, after hearing the inspirational song It Does Get Better, Liz was inspired to send it to Orion. After all, if Ash could be brave and take a leap of faith, so could she! The section Liz read from Read Me Like A Book is one of my favourite sections of the book, as I think it is one of the most pivotal moments where Ashleigh begins to accept herself for who she really is. There was a brief moment of stunned silence after the reading was finished, and then the place went crazy! Everyone was very emotional, and it was so wonderful to see. What was even more special was the fact that Liz invited her English teacher from school, who was responsible for making her fall in love with literature.
Next, we heard from special guest Ruth Hunt, who told us all about Stonewall and the amazing work it does to change people's attitudes towards LGBT people, especially in schools. Ruth talked of the importance of LGBT literature for teenagers, and how excited she is for Read Me Like A Book to finally be published. She had no doubt that it would be a great help for teenagers feeling as confused and lost as Ashleigh did at the beginning of Read Me Like A Book.
After the thank yous and champagne-lobbying was finished a massive queue formed for everyone to get their books signed. I was a little gutted that I hadn't quite been brave enough to bring my old Emily Windsnap and Philippa Fisher books with me, but I had my advance proof copy of Read Me Like A Book and I was very excited to finally meet Liz. She was absolutely lovely and recognised me, probably from my excessive fangirl tweeting. I was so happy that I finally got to meet her, and congratulate her on the INCREDIBLE success that is Read Me Like A Book.
Overall, it was a fantastic evening, and it was definitely a momentous one. Read Me Like A Book is one of those books that changes lives for the better, and everyone at the launch was just so grateful that this book finally got to sit on the shelves, after 15 very long years.
Check out my review for Read Me Like A Book here: http://delightfulbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/read-me-like-book-by-liz-kessler.html
Check out Liz Kessler here: http://www.lizkessler.co.uk
Buy Read Me Like A Book here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Read-Like-Book-Liz-Kessler/dp/1780622090/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1427636195&sr=1-1&keywords=read+me+like+a+book
Find out more about Read Me Like A Book here: http://www.lizkessler.co.uk/more-about-read-me-like-a-book/
Until next time :)