Sunday, 28 August 2011

Neil Gaiman | Edinburgh 'fringe' event | Sequel promised to American Gods

A pre talk cup of tea, our new copy of American Gods, Neil in full flow...

As it celebrates its tenth anniversary, Neil Gaiman admitted last night that he is working on a sequel to his cult hit, American Gods.

He said that the story was coming together and that he was likely to start writing it soon.

Gaiman, author of American Gods, Coraline, The Sandman series, Stardust and countless other novels was speaking at a 'fringe' appearance in Edinburgh. He'd already been at the official Edinburgh International Book Festival: but this was an extra gig organised by the Edinburgh Book Shop. There's a nice blog about the event here, from one of the people involved.

About a hundred Gaiman fans - and many of them really were fans, who came toting huge anniversary boxed set editions of The Sandman - gathered in The Crypt, below St John's Church on the corner of Princes Street and Lothian Road. This would have been a great choice of venue even if it wasn't a vegetarian cafe (Neil is a famous veggie). Food was served during an interval: almost all of which was gloriously edible. If this is a precedent for book events then it is a good one.

Gaiman was charming. He started with a glorious short story from Smoke and Mirrors, the opening tale about  a pensioner finding the Holy Grail in her local Oxfam shop (and buying it for 40 pence). It's a lovely, slow burning tale: funny and poignant. Classic Gaiman.

The chit chat ranged the expected areas. We heard about his bees freezing to death in the Minnesota winter. We heard about Dr Who - don't hold your breath for a second Gaiman episode, the one he did seemed to dominate 18 months and I doubt the BBC could afford to pay him for a second one. Incidentally - and this is BIZARRE - he suggested to the BBC that he write a novelisation of the episode based on material that didn't make the final cut. And the BBC said NO! Unbelievable. Apparently it jarred with their current novelisation policy ( I ask you?) Memo to the Beeb, this was Neil Gaiman: the answer is yes.

Gaiman's wide ranging interst - horror, graphic novels, scie fi, myth - were obvious. They are the root of what is becoming a very broad appeal. Sure, there are the comic fanboys in the audience (few men wore a shirt with a collar, I noticed: it was Dr Who T-shirt central). But he also appeals to children and to people like me, who simply love a well told story.

Looking forward to American Gods II, Neil. But don't be too quick, I haven't actually read the first one yet.

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