A publishing venture for the new age was unveiled yesterday in a purpose-built shed at the Hay Festival. Unbound aims to connect writers with readers in new ways.
The Unbound web site hosts author’s ‘pitches’ for new books and if you like the idea, you can become a sponsor, when the target number of sponsors is reached the deal is done and the author can go ahead and start writing. There are different levels of support, from simply pledging to buy an ebook through to tickets for the launch party and even lunch with the author. Sponsors also have access to the author’s private area of the website or ‘shed’ where there will be updates on the book’s progress and exclusive interviews.
Perhaps it was the relatively early hour or maybe the relentless drizzle that has set in at Hay, which kept people in their beds. The Barclays Wealth Pavillion was only about half full for the writer who famously as a comedian was the first with Rob Newman, to sell out at Wembley.
Nevertheless a pack of press photographers dashed to the front of the stage and drew Baddiel’s fire “are you going to be here the whole time it’s fucking distracting”.
He was here principally to talk about his new novel ‘The Death of Eli Gold’. Eli is the survivor of a suicide pact with his fourth wife (it’s on the flyleaf so I’m not spoiling here). Another of the central charachters is Eli’s 44 year old son, Harvey. Aaronovitch is quite disparaging about Harvey; Baddiel reveals that many people on Twitter have said that Harvey is much like the the author, an observation with which he clearly does not entirely disagree. The book, from which the author reads, is compassionate, complex, awkward and amusing.
Baddiel is intelligent and funny (and so is Aaronovitch) and this was a highly entertaining session. The missing half of the audience unquestionably missed out.
A veil was drawn over an epic literary feud at the Hay Festival. Paul Theroux and VS Naipaul ceased hostilities with a handshake in the green room.
The rapprochement was brokered by Ian McEwan who encouraged Theroux to offer his hand to his erstwhile mentor and friend . “I miss you,” said Theroux. Naipaul replied “I miss you too”.
“We’ve finally spoken,” said Paul Theroux who had already expressed his enjoyment of the festival to a packed Hay audience. “I’ve had an experience today with a capital E.” VS Naipaul, who also enjoyed a capacity audience told visitors “It was very nice to see him and I’m pleased things have worked out the way they have.”