On Wednesday I hopped on the train to York and met my friend Anne, who blogs at Being Anne. We had tickets for the Literary Lunch with Rowan Coleman, part of the York Literature Festival and held at the Dean Court Hotel in the shadow of York Minster. We'd booked months ago, and both of us had been looking forward to the event so much.
Rowan Coleman's most recent novel, The Memory Book was published by Ebury in hardback on 30 January this year, the paperback edition will be released in September. Both Anne and myself have read and reviewed The Memory Book, and we both adored it. You can read my review of The Memory Book, and also check out Anne's review on Being Anne.
I was lucky enough to attend the launch party for The Memory Book down in London, on the day of the tube strike! It was a fantastic party, and Rowan made us all really welcome.
We arrived at Dean Court just before 12.30, and what a beautiful building it is. In the perfect spot, overshadowed by the magnificent Minster and with warm, friendly, welcoming staff. We spotted Rowan as we arrived and were greeted with hugs and another lovely welcome. We made our way to the dining room which was set out with tables of six, with crisp white linen tableclothes, sparkling glasses and nibbles on the table. We soon started to chat with our fellow guests and settled down to listen to Rowan talk.
Rowan is a great speaker, she's funny and real and made her guests feel very comfortable. She had lots of funny stories to tell, about her past and about her family, but most importantly, about The Memory Book. It was interesting to get some insight into how the story came about, and how it evolved into what is truly a wonderful story.
Lunch was served. It was absolutely delicious. Anne and I were not sure what sort of lunch to expect, and this was above all expectations. Beautifully cooked, tender lamb with roasted vegetables and the most buttery soft fondant potato, and to follow; a trio of lemon desserts - my absolute favourite, and each one was just delicious. Coffee and beautiful chocolates were the finishing touch.
Rowan then came back to answer questions from the guests, again she was funny and warm and honest - a real pleasure to listen to.
It was totally delicious way to spend a rainy Wednesday afternoon, although I'd booked the time off work, it felt very naughty to be spending lunch in a beautiful hotel, sipping a glass of wine and eating delicious food whilst listening to one of my favourite people speak. It certainly makes a change from a rushed sandwich (if I'm lucky) and endless meetings!
Dean Court Hotel staff were wonderful hosts, the event was managed perfectly by the team from the York Literature Festival. We enjoyed our day so much.
Find out more about York Literature Festival on their website www.yorkliteraturefestival.co.uk, follow them on Twitter @YorkLitFest and on Facebook
Find out more about Dean Court Hotel on their website www.deancourt-york.co.uk, follow them on Twitter @DeanCourtYork and on Facebook
Rowan worked in bookselling and publishing for seven years before winning Company Magazine ‘Young Writer of the Year’ in 2001. Her first novel Growing Up Twice was published in 2002 and was a WH Smith Fresh Talent winner. Since then Rowan has written ten novels including The Accidental Mother, The Baby Group, and Dearest Rose, which won The Festival of Romance Best Romantic Read 2012, The RoNA Epic Romance novel of 2013 and was shortlisted for the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year 2013. Her latest novel is The Memory Book, published January 2014.
Rowan now lives in Hertfordshire with her husband, and large family of four children, including surprise toddler twins.
Find out more about Rowan on her website www.rowancoleman.co.uk, follow her on Twitter @rowancoleman and on Facebook