Friday, 4 March 2016

African Monsters Launch at Forbidden Planet

Last Thursday, I undertook the arduous journey to London, some 6 agonising hours on the Megabus coach, on a scenic route through Leeds and Sheffield. In between naps, I read Lair of the White Worm on my Kindle. As is my custom, I walked rather than rode into the more interesting parts of Westminster just so I can feel my ass my again. It was also nice to feel the sun again.

I was in London to meet the latest addition to my Fairfield Press stable, Mr Thomas Mutonono of Luton, who has recently published Crossroads. I wanted to personally present him with the proof copy to the print edition to his new book. And he wanted to not only meet me in person, but see a book launch.

Mr Mutonono's fiction is, in my view, of value to a lot more than just lovers of Zimbabwean literature. He focuses on the period just after Zimbabwe's Independence in 1980, a period that most of us seem to have forgotten or stopped writing and reading about. I was 4 years old in 1980, but I remember that period very well. It's not for me to say, but adding Mr Mutonono's works to the curriculum in Zimbabwe would be a good idea.

After a chat over coffee, we headed off to the Forbidden Planet, where Fox Spirit Books was launching African Monsters, edited by Jo Thomas and Margrét Helgadóttir. As some of you know by now, Fox Spirit Books has also recently published Winter Tales, which includes my When The Trees Were Enchanted. It was a pleasure to meet people who, thanks to social media, I felt I knew already. We also had several friends and acquaintances in common.

After, we all tried to find a pub (you'd think that would be easy in that part of Westminster) eventually settling on a Thai restaurant. I wasn't keen on Thai food, so I had spring rolls, then left the party to find the Keret Kitchen. Yes, this lonely Rasta from the north was gagging for Ethiopian food and had taken the trouble to look up Ethiopian restaurants on the internet. I found it in my old neighbourhood, i.e. the area where I stayed when I arrived in England, the Walworth-Camberwell area. My, how the neighbourhood has changed!

If you want good Ethiopian grub, Zeret Kitchen is the place to go. Unfortunately, I could not sit around for much longer as I had to catch the 436 for the ass-numbing trip back home. I meant to stay in London for a few more days, visiting relatives and friends, but I had a meeting the next day. So, I had my meal packed and caught the 148 to Victoria Station.

There won't be a launch for Winter Tales, unfortunately. Still, it was great meeting everyone. And, I will be doing a signing in Middlesbrough, at Sacred Alien Comix. Watch this space.

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