Trudi Canavan

bestselling author of The Black Magician Trilogy

A Reading

Writing – at least writing Big Honking Fantasy Trilogies – tends to involve a lot of time spend alone and unobserved. It’s a job ideally suited for a loner. That suits me fine. I reckon I’m 90% hermit and 10% social party animal.

The 10% social party animal comes in handy when it’s time to promote a book. Over the last seven or eight years, since I first had a published book to wave about, I’ve taken part in most of the usual forms of book promotion. I’ve held a book launch. I’ve signed books in shops, or at conventions. I’ve been interviewed via email, the telephone, and in a radio station studio. I’ve accepted awards. I’ve did one short talk at an English teacher’s conference – boy was that nerve-wracking! I’ve sat on panels at conventions, done a few talks to SF social groups, and occasionally run writing workshops.

The one thing I have avoided is readings.

Why? Well, I’ve read excerpt of other people’s books when launching them, so I know I can do it. For some reason when I read someone else’s writing I don’t worry that I’ll have a coughing fit, or lose my voice, or accidently substitute a word for something rude.

But with my own work? Anxiety abounds. And worst of all, I just know that I’ll find a mistake in the text. And then I’m going to forget I’m reading to an audience and start editing on the spot.

For a long time I’ve been telling myself that the only way to get over this anxiety is to confront it. But I’m good at avoidance, and it’s taken the dogged perseverance and irresistible charm of Natalie at the Melbourne Science Fiction Club to finally corner me into doing a reading.

So if you’d like to watch me freak out hear me read the first chapter of The Magician’s Apprentice, come to the Melbourne Science Fiction Club on the evening of the 21st November.

Just make sure there are no red pens in sight.

9 Responses »

  1. There are no plans for a recording, video or audio. I’m hardly going to be keen to have my first, awkward reading recorded! But I suspect there’d be some bit in my contract that would restrict how much text I could record, anyway.
    Sonjakatharina – Hmm, Austria is a bit far for ME to travel to as well!
    Marcel – Lol! Yes, it is ironica how many typos I can fit in a post about the compulsion to edit! But I think hiring an editor to check every post I wrote would be silly, and if I fussed over them too much I’d never have the time to post at all.

  2. Why must I live halfway across the globe? Why?? *distress stricken face*
    Ah well, I second Lambada’s request; a video of the reading for the non-Australians would be very welcome.
    Best of luck!

  3. i know that you will do fine(: will it be recorded? cos i really want to hear the reading but im like not that close to Australia either>.< Anyway, all the best of luck for your reading!

  4. I had to smile about the following sentence in this entry:
    “I’ve did one short talk at an English teacher’s conference – boy was that nerve-wracking!”
    It made me think whether that mistake was put in there deliberately. I mean, it does in some way make the nerve-wracking state of mind more vivid. And it is funny to find such an obvious grammar mistake in a sentence about a talk at an English teacher’s conference. Where else of course. 😎
    And that in a blog entry where the author claims that she just knows that she’ll find a mistake. Almost prophetical. 8-;
    That sa(i)d, I have also refused to read even one chapter of my thesis, after it was in print. So seems to be a universal problem, not limited to fiction writers…

  5. And then I’m going to forget I’m reading to an audience and start editing on the spot. (Quoted)
    Oh I can just see it, *giggles to self*
    I used to be really bad at speaking in front of people, I was a quiet girl when I started school but the more you do it the more confident you become. I actually like reading out in class now. If I got over it so can you *thumbs up*

  6. cool !
    i wish i could come but i am on the other side of the world right now so it would eb difficult
    as for the anxiety of reading your work, well this probably isnt comparable in the tiniest of ways but i am still at school and nothing but reading a little project in front of the class is nerve racking
    hopes it makes you feel better 🙂
    i will be sending happy thoughts

  7. I know those feelings… Maybe not so well as you do (I don’t read it in public, only for myself and maybe some friends) but I know what you mean. You read, read and suddenly – oh, my God, how could I have written something like that? I must change it! – and you forget about whole world thinking only about mistakes.
    By the way, will it be record? Because it would be really difficult to go to the second end of the world… But that doesn’t change the fact that I would like to hear you.
    Sorry for mistakes – forcefully it needs to be… re-edit 😉

  8. I’d love, absolutely love, to attend your reading, it must be really great to hear an author read their own book – and an unpublished one makes this even more exciting!
    But Austria is a bit too far away to come over for the reading… 🙁

  9. Any chance of a video of the reading being posted somewhere – for us non-Australians?