An Evening with Toronto’s Boyfriend, Neil Gaiman

An Evening with Neil Gaiman

I’d originally meant to post this write-up after the event itself, but got rather busy, so here’s the truncated version.

Luminato is a new arts festival in Toronto; this is its second year. Neil Gaiman headlined the literary program with an interview, reading, Q&A and, of course, a lengthy signing.

Tickets were cheap (only $15) and when they were made available to the public they sold out in three minutes. Three. Minutes.

Fortunately, my husband received advanced notification from theglobeandmail.com and were able to purchase ours early. They may have killed their books section, very nearly causing me to cancel my subscription in protest, but I suppose there are still some benefits.

Anyway. Gaiman.

Drew getting The Graveyard Book signed

On June 8th, after a delightful dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory on the Esplanade, we headed over to the Jane Mallett Theatre at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts for An Evening with Neil Gaiman.

Neil Gaiman had recently cited Toronto as his “first girlfriend”, telling The Toronto Star:

“This was the first place I ever got recognized on the street. There were other places in the world I was big, but it happened first in Toronto and it’s always remained that way,” says Neil Gaiman. (Feb. 2, 2009)

The Graveyard Book

So it seems natural that in Mark Askwith‘s lovely introduction for the author, he refers to him as “Toronto’s boyfriend, Neil Gaiman”. It received a very, very long applause.

Read the full intro on the Space blog.

Mark Askwith, a friend of Mr Gaiman1, conducted the interview, and was an outstanding interviewer, asking good, meaningful questions. I regularly attend several events at the IFOA each year, and it’s rare to see this. Well done again, Mr Askwith!

Signing my copy of Good Omens

Unfortunately the theatre was very dark, and though we were more or less front and centre, we were unable to get any pictures of the interview or reading.

The first reading was from his new, Newbery-winning children’s title, The Graveyard Book, loosely based off of Rudyard Kipling’s classic The Jungle Book.

Gaiman also two of the very short stories from the yet to be released Who Killed Amanda Palmer, which features photography by Kyle Cassidy. The pictures are of his now-girlfriend2, the eponymous Amanda Palmer…dead. She started taking pictures of herself dead from something like the age of eighteen. Strange woman, but she makes decent music.

I pre-ordered the book in April. Looking forward to its (eventual) release.

After signing Good Omens

The Q&A largely consisted of the same dull questions that plague most audiences, and following this came the lengthy signing. Being near the front row means you’re near the back of the line when aiming for the exits to get in line.

Naturally, it was one item per person, and many people had issues of Sandman, and other comics he’s done.

Drew got our copy of The Graveyard Book signed, and I had our first edition of Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch signed.3

All in all, it was a lovely evening with Neil Gaiman.

  1. They met on the set of the first Tim Burton Batman film, a fact he repeated in the introduction, and again during the interview. []
  2. Remember lady, Toronto came first. []
  3. Co-written with Terry Pratchett. He left a space for Pratchett to sign, but I think it’s unlikely he’ll be visiting Toronto at any point in the near future. Still, who knows? []