Friday, October 01, 2010

An evening with Cornelia Funke

Yesssss! I was lucky enough to get an invitation to attend Cornelia Funke's 'Reckless' book launch yesterday, at the ultra glamorous Beach Blanket Babylon in Notting Hill. I was there to write-up the launch for the new Write Away website.

As I tottered in my high-heeled boots from Notting Hill Underground station, I was in awe of the magnificent buildings and their amazing Georgian windows. I was also ever-so slightly distracted by the shops and have vowed to return one day when they are open.

Beach Blanket Babylon is definitely where all the 'beautiful' people hang out. I was taken aback by the front door, which was over three times my height. But, when I went upstairs to the function room - well, that was when my jaw dropped. It was the ideal venue for a fantasy writer like Cornelia Funke, with its crystal chandeliers, gothic candles, regal chairs and mirrored panelling. This accompanied by the specially composed music set the scene for the perfect, magical evening.

We were greeted by Barry Cunningham from the Chicken House who hinted at a sequel and maybe a third book. He talked about Cornelia's love and grasp of fantasy and fairytale. He said he felt as though Jacob was present at the launch - not in the room, but outside looking in on a great reckless journey.

Cornelia made her grand entrance wearing the most amazing dress ever. It was the witches dress straight out of her new novel Reckless. It was designed from its description, by Jenny Beavin (who designed the costumes for the recent Sherlock Holmes movie) and made by Jane Law. The insects were embroidered on by Cathryn Avison. If you click on the picture you will be able to see the spider near the bottom of the dress and the immence detail that went into making the dress. Cornelia pointed out to me the moth and the butterfly in the folds. I couldn't help running my fingers over the material, until I realised I was stroking Cornelia's leg.

The Sunday Times children’s book reviewer, Nicolette Jones, was also wearing a magnificent ball gown she had hired from Angels in Shaftesbury Avenue for the event. She chaired the discussion between Cornelia Funke and her co-creator Lionel Wigram. Lionel is the producer of all the Harry Potter films and the 2009 Sherlock Holmes movie and its sequel, which is out next year.

They discussed how they met and their collaboration for Reckless. Cornelia explained how writing a book is like navigating through a labyrinth. At every turn you decide whether you go left or right. But, when you are writing with somebody else, you don't always agree on which direction you should take.

We were all given a first edition of the novel, which I was able to get signed by them both. Several glasses of champagne later it was time to go home, unfortunately leaving the fantastic fantasy world behind me. Most definitely a night to remember. I loved every minute.

Take a look at my write-up on Write Away.


Anonymous said...

I am green with envy. Bright, emerald, foresty-green. You lucky thing!
That dress looks amazing. I do sometimes think it would be great to have lived in the times when clothes and fabrics were richly textured and embroidered (well, if you were rich!).
Hadn't looked at Reckless before - very exciting (although I found Inkdeath dragged a little). One for the Christmas list! :-)

Anita Marion Loughrey said...

Thank you Alison,
It was a lovely evening, although I did feel very underdressed. I have started reading Reckless and it is very good.