Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Meet the author: Tony Park’s South African book tour

Tony Park is one of the hardest-working writers I know. Not only does he produce two books a year (one fiction, one non-fiction), and maintain several blogs, he’s also a publisher’s dream when it comes to promotion. And his latest book tour, to promote The Delta, is proof of that. Mrs Blog (Tony’s wife) showed me his promotion schedule, and it’s the kind of 10-day blitz that most normal people would require an intravenous feed of Red Bull to manage.

Fortunately for his publishers, Tony isn’t normal. His gigantic editorial output is matched by his capacity for intake – of wine, beer, rich food and meeting the endless streams of people that a whistle-stop cross-country promotional tour requires.

He’s also remarkably unsnobby, which is why the small West Coast town of Darling made it onto his The Delta promotions list. So innocuous is this little village that when I invited my kids to come along with me to the promotional evening in Darling, my son said, in some surprise, ‘Do you mean our Darling?’ (‘Our’ Darling, because it’s a mere 40-minute drive away, which makes it one of our neighbours.)

The other reason Tony did a promotion in Darling is the town’s remarkable book shop, the Book League. This thriving little business started as a mail-order outfit, and is now also a fully fledged retail store, stocked with everything a bibliophile of any age may desire (their children’s section is wonderful). For a book lover who lives in a town serviced only by a satellite branch of a second-hand book trader (Wellington Book Traders, which lays claim to a small corner of one of our clothing stores), this was a treat indeed. And the fact that the Book League is sited in a leafy courtyard serviced by a coffee shop, and with two resident cats, made it all the more delightful. (My son thought he’d died and gone to heaven: his favourite things in life, in order of preference, are books, cats and cake.)

So we duly arrived at 5pm, as requested, and I must admit I had some moments of expecting the worst: we were, for at least 20 minutes, the only guests. But our hosts, Wendy and Anne, fed us wine and invited us to help ourselves to the snacks, and soon enough other people started to arrive. And by the time Tony and Mrs Blog pitched (they’d got caught in traffic leaving Cape Town), the courtyard was jammed with Tony Park fans – more people, in fact, than Tony had entertained at a big book chain in Cape Town.

Tony gave one of his signature funny, self-effacing talks, and was presented with a book by a member of the local book club, then he spent an hour chatting with his fans. And then his hosts were kind enough to invite my kids and I to join the VIPs for dinner, which was a well-oiled affair in a pleasant local eatery.

Tony will be making appearances in Durban North (today), Sandton City (tomorrow) and Brooklyn in Pretoria (on Friday). Go and meet him.

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ali g said...

Great blog Muriel!
Interesting the word verification to post this was 'parkland'....!

tonypark said...

And what a lovely, lovely surprise to see you, the sternest critic of my sex scenes and your adorable children in the courtyard!

Wonderful to see you all again.