The Ocean at the End of the Lane

As most of you may have guessed, I am a bit of a book worm. For the Sydney Writers’ Festival, Neil Gaiman was invited to do a reading. I don’t exactly remember how I found out about it, maybe browsed through his blog or something, but all I remember was buying the tickets immediately. For those of you who don’t know who he is, Neil Gaiman is an English science fiction/fantasy writer, best known for American Gods, Stardust, Coraline, DC Comic’s The Sandman just to name a few. He has also written an episode for Doctor Who (The Doctor’s Wife), and Mirror Mask. Look him up people!!

Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is, I saw Neil Gaiman. I heard him read. He signed my book. And he took a photo with me. I was so overly excited that I jumped and hopped on the way to the train (there may not be a little bit of exaggeration there ;).

I landed in Sydney and got picked up by my cousin so we can have dinner and head in together to the function. The reading took place in City Recital Hall on Angle Place in Sydney. The place is hidden away, but it is the cutest little theater. We had a quick bite to eat, and decided to head in early to see if Neil would come out and do some signings. As we were about to enter, I realized I had left the tickets in the car! 😦 I know, not very smart on my part, but luckily the box office had my details and they were able to print another set of tickets. Phew. That literally gave me a heart attack.

City Recital Hall Angel Place

City Recital Hall Angel Place

So we got our free sample copy of the first 3 chapters of Neil’s new book – The Ocean at the End of the Lane. We waited around like a lot of the fans, but he never came out, so we decided to go in and take our seats. To cut the story short, Neil came out and he read. He was fantastic, genuine and grounded. He was funny and open with his audience and everyone loved him for it. I didn’t even open the book as he read, there was no point. I could have sat there and listened to him read all night and day. Neil read the first 2 of 3 chapters of the book (comes out in June) and then we took a quick break.

Neil Gaiman reading his new books at the Sydney Writers' Festival

Neil Gaiman reading his new books at the Sydney Writers’ Festival

After the  break, FourPlay String Quartet played a little bit of awesome music, including the Doctor Who theme. As they started playing this, the fans went wild – they loved it. Neil later come out and sang Fireball, a song dedicated to Thunderbirds creator ,Gerry Anderson.  For the second part of the evening, he read the first chapter of his other new book (coming out in October), called Fortunately the Milk. He described it as a silly book, and rightly so; nobody could stop laughing as he read. The great thing about it too, was that FourPlay were playing music to what Neil was reading – UFO music, pirate them song, flying dinosaurs – whatever he was describing. I cannot wait until the book comes out.

FourPlay playing Doctor Who's theme song

FourPlay playing Doctor Who’s theme song

There was also a Q&A planned for the evening, with questions ranging from what his next plans for the next Doctor Who episode and why he couldn’t discuss it (he didn’t want to get killed by ninjas), to what was the best advice he has received for writing and also from a writer (condition you beard), to why he married his wife, Amanda Palmer, front woman of Dresden Dolls (because she said yes 😛 ).

Ask Neil anything!

Ask Neil anything!

Neil also read out a poem that he wrote 2 years ago, in dedication to Australia. What I really loved and made me respect him more was that he thanked and paid his respect to the Aboriginal Elders and their land before he started reading the poem. He had something about drop bears in there too 🙂

As the night finished, we waited at the foyer like all the other dedicated fans for our favorite author, until the ushers literally kicked us out. So we waited at the door. There weren’t many people left by then, maybe 25? I asked Neil to sign my copy of American Gods and politely asked if he would take a photo with me. He was pretty cool, despite being a late hour and him being tired. He really does love his fans.

Neil Gaiman & I :D

Neil Gaiman & I 😀

The Ocean at the End of the Lane comes out in June. Fortunately the Milk comes out in October.


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