So Wednesday night I proposed to M. and she said yes, which made Thursday night a double celebration.
The venue for the launch of A Man Melting was The Library. The only headache with the venue was the possible confusion with the actual lending library -- this Library is a bar on Courtenay Place decked out with op-shop furniture, old hardcover books and basically radiating bookish charm:
Contrary to what the above photo might suggest, the launch was very well attended. We packed out the function room and most of the couched area outside.
Harriet Allan, the fiction editor at Random House, gave a lovely speech, the gist of which was you'd have to be crazy to publish a short story collection in this book-buying environment, but then a manuscript will come along that makes you say, "Bugger it, this needs to be published."
Harriet was followed by Bill Manhire, who was my M.A. supervisor back in 2006. When Bill started to speak I noticed he had a speech typed out in small font taking up an entire A4 page. I'd only given him a copy of the book a week ago, but he proceeded to give such a kind and generous critique, it felt like a mini M.A. examiners report. Then he turned over the A4 page and the other side was also filled with text.
Amongst other things, Bill suggested that there may be something like a Manawatu School of writers (he mentioned me, James Brown and David Geary), which equates to something like southern Taranaki Gothic with music references.
Then it was time for my thank yous (with a special thank you reserved for my new fiancé), more drinks and plenty of signing.
Sometimes when you organise your own party, you never get the chance to enjoy it. On Thursday night however, I had a blast. It was great to see the support from so many different quarters, and when you add in a great venue, better-than-decent weather, and our other celebration -- it was truly a special night.