Author Event: Joanne Harris

On Tuesday, I went to my second author event of the year. This one was for ‘The Gospel of Loki’ by Joanne Harris.

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To be perfectly honest, I was not quite sure what to expect. My experiences of Joanne Harris’ writing are mainly around her more literary novels so, to me, a book about Loki seemed completely unprecedented. I did not know of her previous books such as Runelight, also centred around the same gods, so I went into this talk curious to learn why she decided to write a book about Loki.

Unfortunately, I was feeling quite ill on the day of the event, so was mostly dosed up on medicine before heading out. This did mean that I did not enjoy it as much as I would have done if I had had all my senses about me, but, nonetheless, it was definitely an enjoyable and interesting talk.

Joanne Harris seems well practiced in these kinds of events; her talk was fluid and hit all the right notes without a hint of nerves. Her way of speaking mirrors writing and her mannerisms were relaxed. This instantly endeared me to her and she held the audience captured as she discussed her love of Norse myths and how she discovered them on her exciting first venture to the library, even how she learnt old Icelandic in order to read some of them in the original language.

My favourite part of the whole evening however was when she talked about Loki and her decision to write a book from his perspective. Loki has always been my favourite of the Norse gods, he was always the most entertaining and, I’ve got to say it, I really enjoyed Tom Hiddleston’s depiction of him in the Marvel films. Joanne Harris, however, managed to make me love him even more. The way she spoke about him made me understand his character a lot better and made me even more desperate to read the book (I foolishly had a copy on my lap and resisting the urge to open it was a tremendous effort). It was very clear that she loved this character and I think that fact alone will make this book excellent – the rewriting of the myths will be done with respect and will do the characters justice.

Towards the end, Joanne Harris read a short segment of the book. The writing style was very different to how I expected: it was relaxed and very similar to language today. This really benefited the book, making what I heard even more funny and entertaining. As well as being able to write and talk well, Harris is also very good at reading her books aloud. I, of course, got my copy of the book signed at the end and am really looking forward to start reading it.

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