Last Thursday I went to meet Nigella. At least, that's what the in-store poster said, 'Meet Nigella Lawson', except it wasn't so much of a meeting but more of a 'jump on this treadmill and wave at Nigella as you speed by really fast'.
I wasn't born yesterday and I do know that high-profile authors attract a greater following and that each person cannot possibly spend ten minutes chatting away as if they were alone in the room. Yet, having been to such events before, this signing was disappointing. Many people ahead of me merely put their book on the table to have it signed and left with a meek smile, Nigella herself hardly making an effort to engage.
This is what surprised me the most; had I wanted laughter, fun, games and a pat on the back I would have attended a Jamie Oliver signing, I agree, but this isn't just about the character of the person. It is as much about the involvement and the effort that an extremely well-known, busy author should make in order to engage with readers, even if, bah humbug, there are five hundred of them. What a chore!
Who knows, the management at Waterstone's may like to organise things differently at some other time, so that we don't end up feeling like filing morons and more like readers invited to an actual event. How about a quick greeting from the author to those already queuing in store? A few words delivered to the masses would do better than this. Personally, I did engage with Nigella and she was as graceful as I expected. However, I'll remember the day as a huge anti-climax.