Friday, September 25, 2009
Penny's write up of the Banquo's Son launch
Well, a year and a half after reading the first draft of Banquo’s Son, the night of the launch finally arrived. About three hundred other guests and I made our individual ways to the Sir Clifford Skeggs Gallery, part of the municipal chambers of Dunedin’s Town Hall.
I was first wowed by the fact the sheer number of people Mrs Roxborogh knew to invite. But it became clear from how excited we are all we that the newly-born T. K. Roxborogh has a strong army of supporters as Banquo’s Son takes flight.
We were lucky enough to hear a bagpiper as most of the guests arrived, a clear reminder of the book’s Scottish setting.
Members of Project Macbeth also circulated the room, advertising their current production of a take on a twisted Macbeth, in which the man himself found Shakespeare’s play, portraying him as a tyrant – and he’s not happy about it! Guests saw a snippet of this play, in a short scene between Macbeth and Banquo – the latter is of course the father of Fleance, Roxborogh’s protagonist in her book.
With introductions by a staff member from Dunedin Public Libraries, we heard speeches from Vicki Marsdon, the publisher of young adult books released by Penguin Books. Vicki highlighted something all the Babes and I have felt: from the earliest reading of Banquo’s Son, we knew it had the ‘wow’ factor and were lining up to champion the epic novel from SFD to what’s out on the bookshelves of all good bookstores today!
Fleur Beale, a long-standing writing friend of Mrs. Roxborogh, was also in attendance and was the one to formally launch Banquo’s Son. She spoke in what would have been code to those not “in the know” – and her hints at something “terrible” happening have probably convinced most people to buy a copy as soon as possible. She may even have convinced some people to purchase a copy on the night of launch.
Mrs Roxborogh was certainly in high demand, taking a seat to sign her books as they were sold and remaining there, still in high demand for a large portion of the night.
When she did take to the microphone to give her own speech, directly after Fleur Beale’s ended, Mrs. Roxborogh was fittingly proud to produce yet another book of great quality.
But the launch was a night of celebration, and that included a little bit of public humiliation for that group known as “The Babes”, of which I am a member. We were called up by Mrs. Roxborogh during her speech, in the kind of voice that will make any pupil quiver if it comes from their teacher’s mouth. But instead of what might have been a detention, we were awarded our free, signed copies of the book and beautiful New Zealand pounamu necklaces, a gift given because of our contribution to Banquo’s Son.
Mrs. Roxborogh also referenced back to an incident just that day, when a group of The Babes stormed on her classroom, brandishing copies of the first fifty-seven pages of Bloodlines, the sequel that had been inked all over in red, we said simply, “We need to talk.”
And talk we will, as the sequel progresses. But the rest of the world will have to wait until 2010 for that!