Publicity: the writer’s tour of duty

Anyone who has attended a writers’ festival or a book signing – whether as a writer or reader – should get several guffaws out of this account by novelist Ann Patchett in The Atlantic about her experiences on book tours. Although chock-full of the minor humiliations familiar to anyone who has toured or attended a book publicity event, Patchett (author of one of my favourite novels of recent times, Bel Canto) concludes her story with a powerful anecdote about two meetings between a young writer and a much older writer – first, her own meeting with Eudora Welty, when Patchett was young; then her encounter, as a seasoned author, with a shy teenager who wants to be a writer.

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