I was looking forward to this event, as I had enjoyed Tash Aw’s talk the last time. Tash Aw’s talk set a high standard for my first book talk/launch and I had expected all events to be similar, with free buffet dinner and drinks.
In my RSVP to the author, Brenda Broster, I had asked if there would be drinks and food, since it was held at 7.30pm. She had replied that there would be drinks and peanuts. (She must think – cheapskate Singaporean, only come for free food.)
Brenda Broster is an Irish writer and last night, she was launching her book for youths (10-14 years), "The Doughty Warriors – It’s our forest too!" This book is a fiction about environment conservation.
We were early, despite going around the Padang hoping to secure a nearer carpark than Adelphi. At the entrance greeting us was a mascot dressed as an elephant. We signed in and Aaron was given a chocolate lolly with a picture of the book cover on it. There were only a handful of children, probably due to exams being around the corner (PSLE starts today), excluding the group of western girls rehearsing their safari dance for later.
We wondered around the bar, hoping to get a drink. Kids’ mocktail were selling for $2, but drinks for adults start from $5. Aaron and I shared the mocktail. (No food plus expensive drinks?) Then we wondered around waiting for the event to begin. On the screen were powerpoint slides bearing message of environment conservation, with photos of orang utans and elephants.
At 8pm, the event started with a dance presentation by the Central Stage School of the Arts. Angmo girls aged 5-15 in leotards with animal prints danced at the centre while the audiance stood and watched in a U shape. I recognised many poses from my yoga in the dance, and marvelled at their flexibilty.
After that, the Irish Ambassador gave a rather long speech about conservation. He praised Brenda for her creativity in writing the excellent book and added her into the list of famous female Irish writers like Maeve Binchy and Anne Rice.
Next Brenda Broster gave a thank you speech. I was really surprised to hear her thanking her Singaporean mantor, Patrick Ang (agent for Dan Pyonter in Singapore), book distributor John Lee, the local printer and her Malay illustrator, who made a brief appearence on stage with her. She ended her speech by urging us to buy the book.
Being the kiasu, upon hearing that, I rushed up before the queue started to get the book with her autograph for Aaron. She signed, "Be a doughty warrior too, Aaron."
I had wondered why she would choose Singapore to self publish her book, given the small market size. There are pro and cons in self publishing and money is obviously one big issue. I had pondered about self publishing after I finished my book but decided that without an editor, it’s an impossible task and it would only served my narcisitic streak.
Aaron can’t wait to read the book. He promised to give me a review after reading it. After the event ended, he had asked me, why no Q & A(to the author)?