Audrey Niffenegger Talk

Last night I attended a talk and book signing by Audrey Niffenegger for her new book ‘Raven Girl’. I had not attended one of these events before and so had no idea what to expect. The event was one of a number of similar events hosted by a local bookshop Toppings and Company Booksellers. I had purchased the book the day before and had read it, so I already knew the story which was handy. The talk was mostly about the process of creating the book and the fact that it was fairy tale designed to be made into a ballet. She has been collaborating on the project with the Royal Ballet in London and there will be performances later this month. A background to the creation of the story and of the book and the preparation of the aquatint prints was covered and then followed by a short reading of the opening few pages.

I think that I learned more about her creative process from the question and answer session at the end, although there was a significant bias towards the printing process for the art work, understandable I suppose given her training as an artist, and about the ballet. It was interesting to hear about different media in which the ‘Raven Girl’ story could be experienced, as a fairy tale, through the graphics in the book, as a ballet and more to come. It was also interesting to hear that the ballet was something in which she was involved in a truly collaborative sense, whereas she said that she had no involvement in the film of ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’. She even mentioned that she had not seen the film, although I am not sure if she was joking or not. Since the actors she mentioned were not the ones actually in the film I suspect she wasn’t.

Her views on creativity and the importance of being open to things and recognising opportunities for stories were revealing, as was the information that she is working on a screenplay for an Indie film version of ‘Her Fearful Symmetry’. The question responses also gave good insight into her methods of researching subjects, in particular Highgate cemetery for ‘Her Fearful Symmetry’.

All in all I had a great time, although I did not realise until the end the mistake I had made in sitting right at the back. I was originally very happy in my choice of location. I could see and hear extremely well. My error was only highlighted when I realised that the book signing was at the front of the church (the event was held in a church), and I was automatically right at the back of the queue. So I left without getting my copy of ‘Raven Girl’ signed. C’est la vie.

I definitely intend to go along to some future events like this, now that I know that they are being held in the area. All in all it was an enjoyable experience, although I would have preferred to have heard more about her novels, ‘The Time Travellers Wife’ and ‘Her Fearful Symmetry’, both of which I enjoyed reading.