Faber Live Fiction Showcase 2020

In February 2018 Annabel and I attended the Faber Spring Party with some other blogger friends, the first time I’d been to such an event. The hoped-for repeat invitation never came last year, but 2020’s perverse gifts meant I could attend the publisher’s latest showcase as a webinar. It was free to sign up to be a Faber member (you can do so here), and now I get e-mails about new releases and interesting upcoming events.

Six new and forthcoming novels were featured last night, with author readings. There were some connection issues where the sound and image froze for a couple seconds so the voice was temporarily out of sync with the picture, which made it more difficult to engage with the extracts, but I still enjoyed hearing about these new-to-me writers.

Love After Love by Ingrid Persaud

This one came out in April, and was already on my radar. It’s about a widow, Betty, her son, Solo, and their lodger, Mr. Chetan, and how people come together to make a family despite secrets and “way too much rum”. Persaud read two excerpts, one in Betty’s voice and one from Mr. Chetan’s perspective. I loved the Trinidadian accents. (Comes with praise from Claire Adam and Marlon James.)

Meanwhile in Dopamine City by D.B.C. Pierre

Published in August and shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize. Pierre described his new novel as a book of voices about a single father trying to withhold a smartphone from his youngest child. One passage he read had a professor speaking to a Silicon Valley type; another was someone trying to compose the perfect tweet after hearing of the death of someone they don’t like. I’ve never read any Pierre and I don’t think I’ll start now.

A Crooked Tree by Una Mannion

Out on January 21st. A literary debut with a touch of the thriller, set in Philadelphia in 1981 and starring a large Irish American family. (Mannion herself is from Philadelphia but now lives in County Sligo.) She read from the first chapter, about a quarrelsome family drive about to go badly wrong. I was reminded of Lorrie Moore and Ann Patchett.

little scratch by Rebecca Watson

Out on January 14th. This one was already on my TBR. It’s about a day in the life of a woman in her twenties. While going through the daily routine of office life, she’s suppressing memories of a recent sexual assault. Watson’s delivery was very engaging. She read a passage in which the protagonist neurotically overthinks a colleague asking her what she’s been reading lately. “Why is it when anyone asks what I’ve read I go blank?!” (I can sympathize.)

Come Join Our Disease by Sam Byers

Byers’s third novel comes out on March 18th. Maya, who’s homeless, is offered a spot on a rehabilitation and wellness program – if she’ll document it on Instagram. He read about Maya being seized from her encampment. Two early Goodreads reviews made me laugh out loud and convinced me this isn’t for me: “Reads like David Foster Wallace mixed with Marquis de Sade in a blender” and “Promising start but soon disappears up its own arse.”

This One Sky Day by Leone Ross

On the magical Caribbean island of Popisho, something odd is happening to all of the women. I think (though I had some trouble hearing and following) their genitals are falling off, rendering sex a little difficult. The patois was similar to Persaud’s Trini, and, like little scratch, this is a circadian novel. It made me think of the descriptions of Monique Roffey’s books. I found the premise a little silly, though. This is unlike to draw in those suspicious of magic realism.

If I had to pick just one? I’m going to request a proof copy of little scratch. And my library system has two copies, so I’ll also place a hold and try to read Love After Love soon (though before the end of the year now looks doubtful). It helped that these two authors gave the best readings.

25 responses

  1. I found the zoom format of this hard to engage with. I actually bought myself a copy of the Pierre! Would happily give Persaud a try.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree it wasn’t the best formatted of these events that I’ve attended. I think they had some slight technical issues, too.

      I found the second extract that Pierre read rather annoying. Have you read his other work?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I read Vernon God Little when it won the Booker, nothing since, but his new one appealed for some reason!!!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Well, I don’t have a smartphone, so that aspect of the synopsis appealed, and the title and cover are fun, but then the actual writing I wasn’t so sure about. I’ll be interested to hear what you make of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Like you, Love After Love was already on my radar but I like the sound of A Crooked Tree, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The U.S. cover has that one packaged like a thriller, whereas the synopsis and extract reminded me more of Ann Patchett’s work. I’ll wait to hear a little more about it before I decide whether to read it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. These all seem to have just appeared on NetGalley! I looked at a couple of them but wasn’t excited enough to request anything (am trying to keep my 2021 proofs at a manageable level!) I didn’t like Ross’s magical realist style when I encountered it in a recent short story collection, so I’ll give that one a miss. I’m most likely to pick up A Crooked Tree.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, I didn’t like Ross’s style either. I’ll look out for your/others’ opinion on A Crooked Tree. Have you read any 2021 releases yet? I haven’t, and have been wondering when to start. The problem is that I still have so many 2020 ones I’m trying to fit in, alongside other projects!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Same, I want to finish up anything that I own published in 2020 or before first, and then I’ve still got an incomplete list of 2020 releases to draw from!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. UNA! Una is such a brilliant woman – her poetry is gorgeous and her novel is my most anticipated book of next year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh, I didn’t know she was a poet. That and your enthusiasm are points in this book’s favour!


      1. I do apologise for gushing – she’s read at HomePlace a few times and I’m very fond of her so really looking forward to the novel 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I was pleased to hear an American accent on the webinar, too 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Love after love sounds interesting. But apart perhaps from the Watson


  6. … oops. Must have pressed ‘post’ …. nothing else really appeals. Certainly not Pierre. Couldn’t finish Vernon God Little.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Vernon God Little has never appealed to me. I couldn’t do a project to read all the Booker Prize winners because there are some I have zero interest in reading.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Plus you already have something like 1000 other books to read 😉

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Over 6000 on my Goodreads TBR!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s interesting to hear how these different kinds of events and formats are working – thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I miss the in-person events — not least for the free books! — but publishers are adapting as best they can.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. “Why is it when anyone asks what I’ve read I go blank?!” (I can sympathize.)
    Yes, this! Part of the struggle is, for me, that often what I’m reading is stuff that I know most other people won’t have heard about, so I’m trying to find something in my mental memory of my stack that will suit their idea of reading. Sometimes, I don’t have a reason for the blankness at all. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happens to me EVERY time I meet up with bloggers and publicists at London events! I can be reading 20, 30 books and in the moment I can barely think of the title of a one. Usually I manage to pull one or two recent reads that are at least reasonably well known out of my mind.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. […] After Love by Ingrid Persaud: It was already on my TBR after the Faber Live Fiction Showcase in November, but my interest was redoubled by this recently winning the Costa First Novel Award. […]


  10. […] style used in this debut novel. I even heard Watson read a passage from it as part of the Faber Live Fiction Showcase and found it very funny and engaging. But I really should have tried an excerpt before requesting […]


  11. […] saw the author read from this in November as part of a virtual Faber Live Fiction Showcase. My interest was then redoubled by the book winning the Costa First Novel Award. All three […]


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