The Guardian Book Club with Neil Gaiman

21 08 2011

Neil Gaiman’s Biggest FanThe Guardian Book Club with Neil Gaiman
I bagged myself a last minute ticket for this event thanks to the very kind and lovely staff in the Press Office, and boy was I glad to get a seat. John Mullan chaired this star-studded analysis of Neil Gaiman’s novel, American Gods, and I found myself sitting with Amanda Palmer behind me, Canongate publishers to the left of me, and Ian Rankin and Frank Skinner to the right of me.

As for the event, Gaiman is the master of selling while remaining everyone’s bet pal. “I like the way the people who have read this book are already ahead of the pack,” he explained, “but that you don’t quite know all that’s still to come,” referring to his new agreement with HBO to create a television series from the book.

He also revealed he will be writing the pilot episode for the new series, as well as the final episode and “very possibly one in the middle.” So for die-hard Gaiman fans it was already a memorable event—and there were more than a few of those in the audience, many from the U.S.A. it appeared.

Gaiman spoke at length of the process he went through to create American Gods, such as when the idea came for it, he had been letting it brew for some time but it hadn’t completely formed in his mind. “It was like this gooey black substance that hadn’t yet congealed in my brain,” he explained to his mesmerised fans. “It finally crystallised while I was on a layover in Iceland at about three in the morning. I wrote up a 3-page summary, slapped a temporary title on it—which was American Gods—and sent it to my agent and publisher. Three weeks later I got an email back with the design of the front cover of the book and the title right there so that was that.”

Following the event Gaiman entertained another very lengthy queue that wrapped itself around the innards of Charlotte Square. Always smiling, always joking, and always personal to all his fans, Gaiman is the ultimate example of how even the biggest stars can keep it real and down to earth. It’s no wonder his fans love him so much.

I spoke to Giulia Sandelewski who had travelled north from Stratford-upon-Avon without being able to get any accommodation, not caring about anything so long as she could get her book signed—which she did.

She looked like her smile would be enough to carry her home!

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