An Evening with Ali Shaw & Book Giveaway

It was off to Mostly Books last night to see one of the best new young authors around. Ali Shaw’s debut novel is the magical and wonderful The Girl With Glass Feet which I reviewed here.I have a signed copy of the new paperback to giveaway. See the end of the post for details…
But back to Ali whose own website and blog can be found here. He hails from Hardy country – Dorchester in Dorset. He studied English at Lancaster, and then like Dick Whittington, set off for London, where he perked coffee, worked in a bookshop and then for a publisher, writing in the small and early hours. Having submitted the manuscript to an agent and hearing nothing, he went off to work at the Bodleian in Oxford having an interesting time in the special documents department. Then he got the call … and The Girl With Glass Feet became a reality.

Ali read a chapter from the book to us, and then chatted at length with questions from the audience about his inspirations and influences, and in particular – the use of magical elements in the story.

He loves fairy tales, particularly the sad, dark ones of Hans Christian Andersen, which always show that there is a price to be paid for benefitting from magic. He also wanted the magic in his book to be a natural extension of the character’s lives, giving the example of Kafka’s Metamorphosis in which a bureaucrat wakes up transformed into an insect and essentially carries on with his life! His advice was to be careful with magic – to work out your rules for incorporating it, to consider up and down sides, and to keep it natural.

Finding it hard to pitch his book at first so that it wasn’t pigeonholed as genre fantasy, (which it is not!), he latched upon The Time Traveller’s Wife as a comparison which successfully opened the doors. Ali proved to be an entertaining and articulate speaker who had interesting and mature things to say about his craft – and he’s only in his twenties! Novel two is in the works – I for one can’t wait.

Now for the Giveaway … For your chance to win a signed copy of the paperback of ‘The Girl With Glass Feet’ -please leave a comment telling me your favourite fairy tale – are you a traditionalist – Grimms, Andersen or Perrault perhaps? Or do you prefer a more modern style – maybe one of the ‘magic realists’? … Comments by Friday lunchtime please, I will send worldwide.

P.S. Hello to Vikki who went to uni with Ali. We’ve crossed paths on the internet before, and it turns out that we both live in Abingdon. It’s a small world sometimes – and it’s always lovely to meet virtual friends in real life.

0 thoughts on “An Evening with Ali Shaw & Book Giveaway

  1. writerspet says:

    I love the old-school creepy ones. It's a tie between Snow White (the queen asks for her organs to eat!), and Rumpelstiltskin (just for its weirdness). Lija

  2. Kirsty says:

    I do like the Grimm and Perault tales, but I completely adore Angela Carter's Book of Fairytales. I don't think I could choose just one.

  3. Steph says:

    No need to enter me, but I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed reading about the backstory of the author. It sounds like it was a real treat for you to get to meet him and hear his story! I've seen this one kicking around of late and I think it's going to make quite the splash!

  4. ccqdesigns says:

    Oh, I love Anderson's Fairy tales and Grimms, and Greek Mythology, and Ghost stories, anything magical. I have read it all or at least tried. I had all the Anderson Fairy tales memorized by the time I was 6. And I have this book on my wish list and would love to read it! rebecca dot cox at charter dot net

  5. Annabel Gaskell says:

    Writerspet – Often the more macabre the better.Kirsty – one day I will read Angela Carter's ones – it's now on my wishlist.Steph – He was an interesting young man and we the audience and him could have carried on for hours!CCQDesigns – I'm going to have to start reading all the fairy tales again, especially Andersen – The Tinderbox was always one of my favourites.Lizzy – I was always an Andersen and Perrault fan primarily – but think I should re-read the Grimms. (BTW – did you see the film with Heath Ledger? – I thought it was fun).

  6. Michelle (su[shu]) says:

    Thanks for such a lovely giveaway!I love all sorts of fairy tales and myths, and also modern re-tellings of them. Which is why I'm so so keen on finishing the Canongate Myth Series.But if I had to choose a favourite, it would be very close between Rumpelstiltskin, Rapunzel and The Little Match Girl.

  7. Sarah says:

    I love the Grimm tales, but also can't reccomend more contemporaty versions by Angela Carter and Margo Lanagan highly enough!

  8. farmlanebooks says:

    I have seen so many wonderful things about this book – I'd love to win a copy.I prefer the older fairly tales – modern ones don't have the childhood nostalgia attached. My favourite has to be Hansel and Gretal!

  9. Annabel Gaskell says:

    Michelle, Sarah, Jackie – Grimm seems to be winning! Although the Little Match Girl – an Andersen is so sad (again!).Sarah – I've not heard of Margo Lanagan, so will be seeking this one out to add to the Angela Carter on my wishlist.

  10. savidgereads says:

    Oh my goodness I soooooooooo want this book. I have been hankering after it for ages and ages. Anyways my favouirte fairy story… Originally as a kid it was Rapunzel and I even named my pet duck after her when I was about six. As an adult though I re-read some of Perraults uncut fairytales and Sleeping Beauty is now my favourite one. The step mother is ultra mega evil, much worse than you can imagine and who knew Sleeping Beauty was a secret hidden away wife and what about the snake pit? It was great reading the original darker tales.

  11. Annabel Gaskell says:

    Simon – no disrespect intended, but you must be in touch with your feminine side to name your pet duck Rapunzel! Love it.The Disneyfication of fairy tales has tended to make them be seen as a girly thing by many these days – but people don't realise how nasty and dark they are …

  12. Vikki says:

    Dear Annabelle Just a quick note to say hello in blogland once again, but this time on your site. I think we can safely say the circle is complete. Hope to see you on the streets (and in the bookshops of Abingdon0 again very soon. Vikki x

  13. kimbofo says:

    Oh, I've been eyeing off this book for some time!Favourite fairytale? I do love Cinderella, Hansel & Gretel, and Little Miss Riding Hood. But my all time fave is The Princess and the Pea!

  14. Miriam says:

    My favourites are the traditionally. Particularly "Cinderella". This was the first book my parents bought to me when a was a little child!Ciao,Miriam

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