Tuesday 21 August 2012

My Adventures at thePan Macmillan Reading Groups Panel

I was thrilled to be offered a place on the newly launched Reading Groups and Book Clubs Panel organised and hosted by publisher Pan Macmillan

"A group of enthusiastic reading group members to form the panel and meet authors and editors, visit Pan Macmillan HQ, receive plenty of free books and contribute to reading group material for four perfect reading group reads.
The Pan Macmillan reading groups and book clubs panel was inspired by Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt, a startling debut novel and the first book chosen for the panel."
The first meeting was yesterday at Pan Macmillan Towers in London.  200 people applied to be part of the panel, and 20 were selected.  Yesterday 11 of those 20 members met to discuss Tell The Wolves I'm Home with Pan Macmillan staff, the Reading Agency and the author Carol Rifka Brunt.

I have to admit that I was a little nervous, but very very excited.  I don't go to London very often, so it's a bit of an adventure, going to the big city.  Here in sleepy Lincolnshire we class more than 4 cars waiting at the traffic lights as a traffic jam.  I took the train from Retford and spent a pleasant 90 minutes or so reading my book before arriving in London.  It was a beautiful day, very sunny and warm.    After stopping off for a quick expresso and a biscuit I made my way to Pan Macmillan Towers.

Pan Macmillan
In Reception
Yes, I was a bit overwhelmed and yes, like a real tourist I took loads of photos.  This was a real publishing house, full of beautiful displays, and art and the friendliest bunch of people ever.   The reception is a shrine to Tell The Wolves I'm Home and this certainly broke the ice and soon I was chatting away with the other members as we waited in reception.

Not many cakes left!
There were cakes!   Lots of them, and tea and coffee, juice and biscuits.  Those Pan Macmillan folk really know how to get the best discussion going.  Surrounded by new hardback books and cakes and invited to come and talk about books - I was in heaven!     We had a wonderful debate about the book, everyone added something and views were expressed freely.  It's really great to talk to people in 'real life' about the books that you love - I tend to speak online about books and although it's enjoyable, it's just not the same as a room full of passionate readers ....... and cake!      We were not let off lightly though, the next step is for us to produce the content for the Readers Guide at the back of the soon to be released paperback edition - we want to make it a little 'different', with content that will make the reader think a little more and a little deeper about the story.

Then there were sandwiches - yes, more food - delicious cheese and ham for me, and another biscuit or two!     Carol Rifka Brunt arrived and read from the book, she was then very brave and answered our questions.  Carol was very very friendly, she took on board our views and debated them with us, she told us a little about the background of the novel and how it came to be written.  I was a little in awe of her at first, but by the end of our chat, I felt comfortable and the chat was all very natural.

Off we went then to Drink Shop Do - a quirky bar just around the corner from Kings Cross station.  A list of cocktails was produced and it took me an age to choose which one to have.  I choose well:
Chase Marmalade Vodka, Vanilla Ice Cream, Peach Puree"
It was delicious, they all looked delicious and loosened everyone's tongues - as if they needed any more loosening.   We spent the next hour chatting, getting to know a bit about each other, sharing book recommendations, swapping Twitter names and Blog addresses - time just flew by.

At Drink Shop Do
I was sad when it was time to leave, but am really looking forward to our next meeting - sometime in November, and hopefully meeting the other members of the Panel who were unable to make it yesterday.

A huge thanks to Jodie and Jen and the team at Pan Macmillan for being fabulous hosts, to The Reading Agency for backing the Panel and to Carol Rifka Brunt for answering our endless questions.

I reviewed Tell The Wolves I'm Home back in April, you can see my review here.

I'll also be having a give away in the next couple of days, keep your eyes peeled - the prize is a
hardback copy of Tell The Wolves I'm Home, signed by Carol Rifka Brunt.


  1. sounds wonderful Anne. Thanks for sharing.

  2. So so glad you had a great time and thanks for sharing some piccys. we are living it through you :D when is the next one?

    Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

  3. Thanks Lainy. The next meeting will be some time in November. I enjoyed it so much xx

  4. I was excited for you Anne, so delighted to hear it was a successful day and I will be looking out for the giveaway.