Posted on October 21, 2011 - by MG
Some years ago I wrote a blogpost I am so going to fangirl Haruki Murakami… about my favourite living author. Despite my vow, it turned out to be more difficult than I’d anticipated. I couldn’t find an email address or anything. I thought about sending a letter to his UK publisher, Random House, but something told me that they would probably not pass it on. Murakami is obsessive about his privacy, he’s probably not that interested in fan mail. Maybe it gets boring after a thousand or so? (Message to my readers – I’m not tired of fan mail yet!)
The desire to celebrate Murakami must have built up into something unbearable because when Zool Verjee (@cadmus08) started tweeting about the upcoming launch of 1Q84, I couldn’t resist urging him to organise a party at Blackwell’s in Oxford.
It turns out that another Oxford-based author, Dan Holloway, had been doing just the same thing. Also that Blackwell’s in Oxford is a hotbed of Murakami fans who were delighted at the chance to throw a party for the sheer joy of Murakami-love and shared delight at the appearance of a hotly-anticipated new novel (watch the trailer for 1Q84.)
So last night saw a bunch of Oxford folk gather in the shop for the We Love Murakami party. In honour of Haruki’s own obsession with jazz and cocktails, we had the pleasure of a live jazz pianist. And I mixed Cosmopolitans, Coolman Martinis, Sea Breezes and Shirley Temples, with help from newly-recruited mixologist, Steph.
We shared stories of how we came to love Murakami, what his writing means to us, there were impromptu readings of favourite passages from his books. We voted on our favourite books (mine s0 far is The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle). On pink and blue postcards, we jotted down thoughts of what Murakami means to us. There were pop quiz questions with book prizes (I won a copy of Norwegian Wood for our 19-year old daughter).
Euan from Blackwell’s recorded videos of the speeches. He’s sending footage as well as the postcard jottings to Murakami’s publisher who have promised to pass them on to Haruki. (and we believe them!)
Really a special night of great warmth and affection for a writer than I’m pretty sure none of us with ever meet, but whose inner world has touched us to our very core. That’s what readings is for, at its very best. I am but a humble entertainer, but even humble entertainers need sustenance to inspire our writing. Any writer that inspires me; Murakami, Junot Diaz, Pedro Juan Guttierrez, Mario Vargas Llosa, Kazuo Ishiguro, well, I’m forever in their debt.
Thank you Blackwell’s for such a wonderful evening!