He caught my eye as I glanced around. He stood out from the crowd. It could have been because he looked familiar, and that I was expecting him to be there. He was what this evening was about, after all. But there was something about him. A quiet confidence, a man who has grown used to being the centre of attention. Not an ego. An aura.
After being served wine or water, we were called to order, and he sat down with Etienne Bloemhof, Deon’s publisher and friend. They each had a microphone, and they were chatting casually. With a practised ease, Etienne asked questions, and Deon answered. A lot of it was probably scripted, and done before. It was after all the second time that week they were doing this; they had done a launch for ‘Spoor’ a few days earlier in Bloemfontein. Yet it did not feel contrived, it felt like a lovely chat between friends about the book, and the writing process.
They chatted about the 18 months it took to write ‘Spoor’, the fact that it is his thickest book yet, and about the characters in it. Deon described how he misses his characters when a book is done, and how he actually worries about them.
After about an hour they were finished, and I didn’t want them to stop! I could have listened to them chat for longer, and judging by the fact that most of the visitors to the launch were listening quietly, they felt that way too. After a short Q & A session, the crowd formed a queue at the tills and in front of Deon, to buy the book and have it signed. During this time a dish of delicious Bobotie was served, and a chocolate covered chilli for dessert.
It was such a treat to meet Deon Meyer. I have been a fan of his writing since I read ‘Blood Safari’ (my review here), and I am looking forward to reading ‘Spoor’, in Afrikaans, as soon as I am finished with his excellent book ‘Thirteen Hours’ on my Kindle. He came across as a nice guy who does not take himself too seriously. A friend, Rina, who also attended the event, said “he came across very warm, humble and friendly. Very, very charming too - a real heartthrob in our books”. He took the time to chat to everybody, and answered questions. He signed piles of books, and remained friendly and personal about it.
Thanks to Human & Rousseau and Exclusive Books Brooklyn Mall, for arranging such a great event, and for doing it all in Afrikaans! I left the event an even bigger fan than before!
have you ever been to a booklaunch? do you have a book signed by the author? which author would you love to meet?