Friday, May 11, 2012

Medieval Banquet

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (in my opinion) thoroughly deserved to win the 2009 Booker Prize for fiction. It also won the National Book Critics Circle award for Fiction, The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. It was the winner of the Morning News Tournament of Books, Wimbledon and The Eurovision Song Contest. It was beaten in the semi final of the Champions League by Barcelona after a controversial disallowed goal, which once again brought up the issue of the use of goal line technology.
It is an excellent novel about the early life of Thomas Cromwell and his rise to power in the early 1500s.

Yesterday Fourth Estate published the sequel. This is BIG NEWS in our part of town, so we thought we'd do something appropriate to celebrate.
So we threw a medieval banquet in the bookshop.

This is what our bookshop looks like.

So, we needed to make it look a bit more authentic

Not bad, eh. (that's a log fire in the top left hand corner).

The food was incredible and supplied by local caterers The Hungry Wolf. There were roasted pigeons with parsley and bread sauce, fish pies with pears and spices, a staggeringly tasty mutton stew apple pies, marchipane, fruit jellies. For the vegetarians we had a mushroom and prune stuffed bread, (which was out of this world) and a borage leaf and parsley egg pie.
This was all washed down with lashings of spiced wine and ale.  


We also managed to secure SIGNED FIRST EDITIONS of the book, which guests got to take home at the end of the evening (all wrapped in brown paper and tied up with string).

We still have some of the Signed First Editions if you're interested.

As usual, we couldn't have pulled this off without the help of our fantastic customers and friends. All the material and cloth that covered the shelves was borrowed, as were the trestle tables which we used to build the long table. The publishers were great in making sure we got the signed copies that we'd asked for and we even managed to borrow the plates from the cafe next door.

So, to sum up, people got together, chatted, laughed, enjoyed a wonderful meal and took home a great book in a pretty little parcel and hopefully had a memorable evening.

Amazon must be quaking in their boots. 


Zantippy Skiphop said...

That sounds fantastic! I like your log fire :D And that meal sounds amazing. How much do you think it would cost to mail a book to the U.S., or are they only for locals who can drop by?

Simon Key said...

Hello, I'll check with the post office tomorrow how much it'll cost to send to the states & let you know. It is a bit heavy...

Anonymous said...

I am VERY impressed by this - if there's any justice in this world you will thrive. I grew up in Enfield (now living in California) and we had no bookshop like yours when I was a kid (1970s). I ended up regularly going down to Camden and Central London for my book fix - Compendium (much lamented), Foyles, Colletts etc. I'm living in a small town with two independent bookshops but with constant apprehension that they will fail. Good luck for the future!

Helena Halme said...

What a brilliant idea, only sorry I missed it! I've recently moved to North London and will pop over for a long browse at your wonderful shop.


Tracey Sansom said...

oJust stumble over your web page,while looking up how to "open a book shop," and found your "Medieval Banquet." It is these personal touches that the big stores can not perfect. However you have given me an idea to take back to my book club, at the moment we are reading "Bring up the bodies" and meet next week for discussion of the book, It may be well to end on a banquet theme. I have enjoyed reading your blogg!