The Book Lounge in Cape Town is one of favourite places in the world and, not uncoincidentally, my homeground indie bookstore. I’ve debuted all my novels there since Moxyland and what I love about them is that they’re not only open to my weird ideas to do an unconventional launch, they take them and run.
I approached the Book Lounge in 2008 to launch Moxyland and when I suggested having segregated entrances for corporate and non-corporate, a weird science experiment where you were handed a test-tube at the door and sent downstairs to see if you had been “infected”, a treasure hunt to find the evidence in-store, and zealous protestors handing out flyers complaining about bio-engineeered police dogs outside and DJ Fletcher on the decks, owner Mervyn Sloman shrugged and said, “Sure.”
It’s exactly that kind of open-mindedness and passion for books that has seen The Book Lounge win best indie bookstore in South Africa and to the start of the Open Book Festival, which has become, in four years, my favourite lit festival of all (and I’m devastated to be missing it this year because I’ll be on book tour in the USA).
For the international debut of Broken Monsters, Verushka Louw and her team went all out with black dreamcatchers in the windows, a spooky shrine in the bathroom, themed food (burgers and donuts with creepy labels) and awesome “participation packs” that included a dreaming candle, lavender, chalk to DIY-your-own-doors, clay heads I’d made with my five year old daughter, and, darkest of all, Sparkles sweets. (These were sold to help raise money for the Westridge school library – one of the Book Lounge’s pet projects).
Huge thanks to everyone who came through and made the launch what it was.
And if you ever want a personalized signed copy of any of my books, email firstname.lastname@example.org to order. They’ll do international shipping and it’s very easy for me to pop down to sign.
Here are some of the photographs of the launch via Bookslive photo stream:
The bathroom was wallpapered with some of my research photographs from Detroit.
Daily Maverick star reporter and brilliant columnist Rebecca Davis asked me tricky questions about the book. I dyed my hair outrageous colours especially for the launch (although I can’t guarantee I wont’ be bored of it by my US tour in September) and borrowed an amazing flower necklace from jewelry designer Ida-Elsje at Olive Green Cat, in homage to a flowering scene in the novel.
Shrine with candles and artifacts.
Participation packs – including a hand-made clay head, dreaming candle, chalk, lavender and Sparkles sweets.
Detroit PD-inspired food
Owner Mervyn Sloman and Louanne van Riet (who may have lent her name to a cameo in the book) at the counter.
Witty food labels inspired by chapter-headings in the book.
More witty food labels.
I ran off with one of these hand-made Fleischer Body Plant badges. So cool.