by Zarina de Ruiter
Did you spend the majority of January cooped up inside, curled up in a cosy fleece blanket and with a stack of books and tissues on your nightstand? Maybe that was just me… In February I'm determined to spend more time in bookshops than I have done in the past month so I already have tickets booked for the Foyles events on the 3rd and 25th! What bookish dates are you adding to your diary this month?
1 February – Faber Social and Literary Friction is hosting an exciting New Voices event in London featuring authors Ned Bauman, Joanna Cannon and Evie Wyld, in addition to new poets and debut performances. Tickets are £8.
3 February – Liverpool ladies are in for a treat this month as three women's fiction authors will be discussing their latest books and their previous bestsellers as well as talking about the sheer delight of a good read. You can join Amanda Brooke (Another Way to Fall), Jane Costello (All The Single Ladies) and Debbie Johnson (The Birthday that Changed Everything) for £3/£2.
3 February – Join Foyles Charing Cross Road for an inspiring evening of readings and discussion with acclaimed authors to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Quick Reads and the launch of the 2016 books. Chaired by Cathy Rentzenbrink, the evening's writers – Fanny Blake, Rowan Coleman, Matt Haig, Elizabeth Buchan and Veronica Henry – will take the stage to read from their short stories collected in The Anniversary, edited by Veronica Henry, to celebrate this landmark year. Tickets include a goodie bag and glass of wine and are completely free, but you do need to book in advance to secure a spot.
4 February – Dulwich Books is hosting two brilliant new voices; Monica Wood (The One-in-a-Million Boy) and Jem Lester (Shtum) at their London bookshop. Tickets are £10 and include wine and signed proof copies of both books.
9 February – American Housewife by Helen Ellis has already received a lot of praise and you can join her in conversation with fellow author Shelley Harris (Vigilante), as she discusses her delightfully unhinged collection of stories at Waterstones Piccadilly. Tickets are £5.
9 February – Live in or near Birmingham? Then you can attend the book launch of the new novel by Clare Morrall, When the Floods Came! If you would like to be a part of this special evening just contact Waterstones Birmingham High Street via phone, twitter or in store to reserve your seat.
15 February – Nottingham! The amazing Marian Keyes will be visiting your Playhouse to talk about her new collection of essays, Making It Up As I Go Along. Tickets are £12.50 (or £22, including a signed copy of the book).
17 February – Is Nottingham too far North for you? Waterstones Trafalgar Square in London is also hosting a special evening with Marian Keyes, in conversation with Sam Baker, editor-in-chief of The Pool. Tickets are just £5/£3, so book yours now!
22 & 24 February – You've likely already heard all about The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon, which is an incredible 2016 debut and you can meet the author this month in Liverpool (tickets are £3/£2) or Derby (tickets are free for this event).
23 February – Waterstones Birmingham High Street has another treat in store for visitors this month with an author talk and signing with Katie Fforde, to celebrate the release of her latest novel, A Summer at Sea. Tickets are £3.
25 February – Ever on the hunt for new literary voices, Foyles Charing Cross Road brings together a panel of authors and an audience of readers to explore the road to publication and what lies beyond. This time they're working with leading indie publisher Bloomsbury to bring you authors Ann Morgan, Paul M. M. Cooper and Holly Müller. Tickets are free and you'll get pizza and a drink as well, so what are you waiting for? Book now!
26 February – Bath Literary Festival starts this month! While the bulk of the events take place in March, February does already have some fabulous bookish fun scheduled including Ask a Literary Consultant (27 February), Creating Suspense with Sam Baker and Susie Steiner (28 February), The Big Bath Read: Claire Fuller (28 February), Marian Keyes in conversation with Sali Highes (28 February) and Rosie Millar and Elizabeth Day: The City in Fiction (29 February). Tickets for all events are £9/£8 each.
27 February – As an aspiring author the Discovery Day with Curtis Brown and Conville & Walsh is not to be missed as you'll get a six-minute one-on-one session with an agent who'll read your opening page and hear your 30-second verbal pitch before offering their feedback. Then you'll head to a short group session with fellow writers and agents, where you can ask questions about the writing and publication process. The free event is fully booked but they do operate a wild card queue on the day, check out their website for more details on that.
And that's it for the first month of the year! Please comment below or tweet me on @zarinatweets if you'd like me to include your event in an upcoming post.