Archer was in town

..and Jeffrey Archer was in town. He was to address his fans and sign copies of his latest novel, ‘A Prisoner of Birth‘.

The Venue: Landmark, Forum Mall, Bangalore
The Time: 7 PM onwards
The Date: 23rd May 2008

This even was not advertised much in the media and I was not surprised to see only a few people when I landed in landmark book store at around 6PM. With just an hour to go I purchased a copy of his latest novel – ‘A Prisoner of Birth’, and made it to the second row of chairs and seated myself comfortably waiting for Jeffrey Archer to arrive. Slowly people started filling in with their copies of the novel. Some bought numerous copies of the latest novel and some bought other previously published novels of his too. There were old people, the college crowd, the working class and even some high schoolers. After much of chair pinching and seat fighting it was announced that the author will be amidst us in a few minutes and true to their word Jeffrey Archer entered ascended the stage set up amidst thunderous applause befit only to a bestselling author.

Jeffrey Archer started by giving us the agenda for the evening, a talk from him on various aspects of his writing life followed by a Q&A session, which he said he will end when he finds the Questions boring and at last the precious Book signing affair, which he promised would last until the last book has been signed by him. He took control of the evening’s affair in a matter of minutes and started with his speech.

The man who calls himself to be a ‘Storyteller’ is also to be credited as a good ‘Orator’. He spoke with witticism that is akin to the British comedians. His description of the ordeal of getting his first novel published and its alleged ‘Instant success’ was periodically punctuated by applause and laughter from the crowd. He also enthralled the crowd with one of his George W Bush jokes. The man was surely prepared with the latest happenings when he commented on IPL, calling it an ‘Entertainment’, his praise of VVS Laxman and ‘Wall’ Dravid. He even took a dig at the Jaipur airport [“It seemed like I entered Nigeria 10 years ago”] and gave a pat to Kingfisher airlines [“One of the best airlines I have traveled in”].

He spoke of how he was introduced to the literature of R K Narayan in this trip by a person to whom he had enquired about good writers in India and how he is on finishing R K Narayan’s 3rd book in 5 days time. He went on to recommend few authors for the crowd – Maposa, H H Monroe.

The Q&A session was a boring one with people not exactly asking a question by trying to make a smart statement in front of Archer. Some insensitive guy went on to even ‘Thank’ the UK government to have put Archer behind bars. There was another chap who wanted Archer to take cue from Epic Ramayana and Mahabharata and write his next book with a social message for which Archer was quick to reply – “You can’t make others to write you passion. You have a passion to say something to the world, you write it. I am just a storyteller”

Answering the question on why he chose to re-write his second novel ‘Shall we tell the President‘ with a lady protagonist [Florentyna], he said it was high time USA went to elect a lady president which they have not been able to do all these years. He added to this that India was far ahead in this regard than USA by having seen a lady Prime Minister and a President.
The queue was long for the signing session which seemed would have continued past 10PM. I was off when I got my signed copy and a ‘Thank You’ from the master storyteller. The last thing that he said to the crowd was – “I will tell my grandchildren about this evening”.

Now, I am a proud owner of a signed copy of ‘A Prisoner of Birth’.

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~ by Jayanthan Ravi on May 28, 2008.

2 Responses to “Archer was in town”

  1. Jeff Archer has been a wonderful storyteller…no doubts about that…
    enjoy ur autographed book… 🙂

    Jo

  2. 🙂

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