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IFOA: Three Readings, One Hour


There is something strangely romantic about sitting in a candlelit room listening to stories about the devil, human trafficking and a near-apocalyptic flood.

Authors James Robertson (U.K.), Simon Ings (U.K.) and Chris Adrian (U.S.A.) each got up in front of a small group of bookies and read from their latest works of fiction at this year's IFOA.

James Robertson, a comfortable speaker read from his book, The Testament of Gideon Mack, a story that concerns a Church of Scotland minister who doesn't believe in God, the Devil or an afterlife.

Talking with passion and an obvious love for his novel, Robertson quickly engaged the audience with his natural storytelling ability. Reading two excerpts, we were quickly in the shoes of Gideon Mack and were on the journey from atheist to possible believer in evil as well as the holy.

Simon Ings read from his book, The Weight of Numbers, the story of human trafficking gone amiss. Unfortunately, Ings was not as prepared at Robertson. Although he was animated and confident, he provided no context to what he was reading, leaving me uninterested. This was disappointing since his book sounded very interesting and was the author I came to hear.

Chris Adrian, a somewhat nervous Bostonian read from his latest, The Children's Hospital. The story of a hospital and its staff that survives a flood that pretty much kills everyone on earth.

Although Adrian started off shy and reserved, it seemed as though he gained confidence as he read from his work. His reading stimulated my imagination as we journeyed through the death and disaster of the flood as well as the possibility of life thereafter.

PS. Even though I had attended IFOA events in the past, there is still something inspiring about hearing an author read his own work. It is just like hearing a painter talk about his art or a musician explain the story behind their music.


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