Book Slam, says Neate, on a soapbox, celebrates cultural diversity and works on the principle that "literature is not something high-falutin' and esoteric, but rather a key part of our popular culture. The stories we tell, read and hear make us who we are."
Tonight's Book Slam, engagingly hosted by Ross Sutherland, headlined William Boyd, with support from the poet Martin Figura and a forgettable band who bridged the two halves of an entertaining two-hour evening.
The big surprise here is the audience, average age 35 but numbering close to 500. Not bad for a Tuesday night. The club – a down-at-heel, late-Victorian music hall, the Grand – is packed with a crowd of… what ? These readers are hard to read. The vibe is metropolitan but not too cool, chatty but not raucous. Book Slam aficionados crowd the tables in the pit beneath the bar but there are plenty of men and women standing at the back.
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