Reinventing the Book Event: Angus Rorison at Waterstones Canterbury

By Morgan Rodway-Wing

Angus Rorison's book The Uninvited Guest

Talk. Questions. Book signing.

Repeat. Many authors have an incredible ability to make even the most interesting of books seem absolutely mind-numbing when it comes to book events. However, Angus Rorison’s recent event at Waterstones Canterbury completely re-invented the common book event and brought it back from the dead.

Rorison’s event was to promote his self-published book, The Uninvited Guest, which follows the lives of Yoozurp and Ogbar, and their quest to prevent their kingdom from being invaded. The characters are the polar opposites of each other, with Yoozurp being a selfish, rich leader and Ogbar a giant, hideous chef.

Immediately, I assumed that this would be a children’s book, given the fantastical nature of the story. However, the vehemently positive reception from the entirely adult audience suggested otherwise and proved to be the first surprise of the evening. The second surprise was how open and honest Rorison was about his struggles to get his book published. He opened up to the audience and admitted that this book had been over a decade’s work, and went onto announce that he made the decision to publish it without the help of a publishing house after dealing with countless rejections. It was clear to see that the audience struggled to understand why a publishing company hadn’t snapped the book up because of its sheer brilliance and ability to capture the attention of all age groups.

Angus Rorison playing guitar at his book reading at Waterstone's Canterbury

The surprises continued with the way in which Rorison presented the event. Starting off with a song performed on his guitar, a playful and energetic atmosphere was created right from the offset. This only continued with the use of a PowerPoint presentation which had sketches, extracts and photos included on it. Instead of standing in front of the audience and endlessly reading extracts from his book, Rorison utilised multimedia and performed for his audience, earning their respect and interest.

This was a particular strength of the event and his ability to captivate the audience continued until the last seconds, when he performed a final song for everyone. Every single part of the event left me smiling, from the musical interludes to the extremely well-behaved dog who sat in the corner and captured my heart!

It is not often that I leave a book event feeling inspired, enamoured and excited for the future of my own writing. In fact, I usually have to stifle my yawns and attempt to hide my boredom. However, Rorison gave the standard layout of a book event a much-needed renovation and, in doing so, left me itching to get back home to work on my own writing!

Images courtesy of Waterstones Canterbury

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