Posts by Melanie Graaf

Review of the year...

Posted Tuesday 10 January 2017 by Melanie Graaf in Events, Opinion

Bolton librarian Melanie Graaf looks back at some of the author events in 2016...

As we leave 2016 behind us and go onwards into 2017, we can reflect on some of the debut authors that have visited our town and have subsequently become bestsellers.

Debut writers from previous years have included Paula Hawkins with Girl on the Train, now an international success both as book and film. SJ Watson also came to Bolton Library to promote his first novel Before I Go to Sleep, which later became a bestselling book and film.

Last year we had a number of fabulous debut authors. In January, Gulwali Passarlay spoke about his book The Lightless sky: An Afghan refugee boy’s journey of escape to a new life. This was a very moving event, particularly as Gulwali had lived and gone to school in Bolton, and there were many familiar faces in the audience. A comment from an attendee -“A very important talk –inspirational, celebrating what is good about living in Bolton.”

For World Book Day in March we had a very special evening with Liverpool writer John Donoghue. John’s book The Death’s Head Chess Club was not only an amazing and poignant read; his presentation on researching for the book was thought provoking and this was reflected in the feedback we received –“Very enjoyable speaker –totally on edge of seat listening to talk –learned such a lot.”

In April we hosted a crime double bill with authors Renee Knight, promoting her novel Disclaimer and Fiona Barton talking about The Widow.  The event was much enjoyed by those who attended – “Fantastic event; thank you very much!” "Great to see such brilliant writers in Bolton.” Both writers went on to become bestsellers with film or TV rights being snapped up and both books have continued to fly off the library shelves.

Canadian writer Shari Lapena visited us in July, promoting her well written, dark psychological thriller The Couple Next Door. One of our customers who came to the event said “Very well organised. It was a good idea to have someone to ask the author questions, as well as letting the author do so. As a lifetime Bolton resident, I really appreciate this and other services provided by the library service".

In addition to our 2016 debut authors we can’t complete our end of year events round up without mentioning our crime royalty event with international bestselling author Michael Connelly in October. This superstar author is hugely popular with library users and we had a wonderful turn-out with fabulous reviews - “Fantastic. Can’t believe such a world renowned author came to Bolton.”

Look out for our next author events in 2017 – crime writer Joseph Knox - Sirens (January) romance writer Cathy Bramley - White Lies and Wishes (February) and medieval thriller writer Karen Maitland–The Plague Charmer ( March).

Shakespearean Murder Mystery

Posted Wednesday 21 September 2016 by Melanie Graaf in Celebrating Shakespeare, Events

Bolton Murder Mystery

Thursday 15 September saw theatre group Highly Suspect perform their Shakespearean Murder Mystery at Bolton Central Library and Museum. 

It was a wonderfully entertaining evening with the audience engaged with the plot and working in groups. They followed the actors around the library, analysing clues to work out who their Shakespearian Murderer could be.

Children and adults enjoyed the event, this was clear from the comments we received – “I really enjoyed tonight, lots of fun and laughter, despite a murder. Actors were very good and everyone got involved.” (Holly age 11)

“ I like the way it was acted and I just liked everything.” (Lexine age 11)

“Entertaining, clever, great food –will return.”

“Lovely food, lovely actors, fun evening, met new people, had a great evening –thank you!!”

“Great fun. Well acted with loads of clever references. Excellent format and not too intimidating for quieter group members.”

Highly Suspect performed as part of Celebrating Shakespeare 2016, a national project marking the Bard's 400th anniversary with celebratory events in libraries across the UK funding by Arts Council England and managed by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.  

Becky Want’s BBC Radio Book Club

Posted Tuesday 23 August 2016 by Melanie Graaf in Latest Libraries News

BBC Radio Manchester

When I was asked if I’d like to take part in Becky Want’s BBC Manchester Radio Book Club with Danny Middleton from Manchester Central Library, I had no idea what to expect. We would be representing Greater Manchester Libraries but it was a great opportunity to promote libraries and of course, talk about books.

We were both invited to have a look behind the scene at Media City, We met the producer Helen and Becky and the lunch-timers. It was a fabulous afternoon. We were both impressed by the BBC Radio set up. Helen gave us a tour and we had a chat with the lunch-timers. Becky was busy presenting her show; but we did get to say hello.

We went back to Media City on the 1st July to launch “Career of Evil” by Robert Galbraith. Danny and I were feeling pretty nervous. We introduced ourselves to our radio audience. Becky highlighted that people could go into their local library in the Greater Manchester area and borrow copies of the titles we would be reading.

Danny promoted Manchester Library and mentioned the Teenage Take-Over Day going on that weekend. I spoke about Bolton Libraries and Museums, services and events. At the end of July, I was back at the studio. Helen had sent me the agenda. I was going to set the scene; talk about the author and give an overview of the book and how people have reviewed it.

Thankfully, I’d read the book and done my research, as Helen understandably wanted it to flow like a conversation; so notes confiscated at the door! In the second half of the show, the book clubbers reviewed “Career of Evil” with mixed thoughts. Becky was taking questions that people had tweeted and rang in with. When you are on radio you have to get used to looking for the red light; it means you’re on air. It feels really strange to hear yourself, when you play the show back.

It’s been a wonderful experience for us; we look forward to reading and encouraging our readers to borrow the books from our Greater Manchester Libraries and also local libraries in the North West.

The books we are reading until the end of 2016 are -

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep - Joanna Cannon (Aug)

The Couple Next Door - Shari Le Pena (Sept)

Moving - Jenny Eclair (Oct)

Finding Tipperary Mary - Phyllis Whitsell (Nov)

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry - Rachel Joyce (Dec)

Tune in and listen to us!

Melanie Graaf (From Bolton Libraries and Museum)

John Donoghue 'The Death’s Head Chess Club'

Posted Monday 7 March 2016 by Melanie Graaf in Events

Melanie Graaf from Bolton Museums and Libraries shares with us John Donogue's author talk to celebrate World Book Day:

The theme for this year’s WBD was Where your reading takes you. John’s well written thought provoking “The Death’s Head Chess Club” takes you to an uncomfortable place, but is a story that you can’t put down. Having read the book by the Liverpool based author, I was looking forward to his presentation about all the work that goes into creating a truly remarkable first novel.

This event certainly didn’t disappoint! John is an excellent talker. It was interesting to hear about all the research that went into the book. He had a captivated audience who had lots of questions to ask after the talk.

People had the opportunity of buying a signed copy of the book from our Independent booksellers Beyond Books Media.

We had some great comments from our audience:

Very enjoyable speaker –totally on edge of seat listening to talk –learned such a lot.”

“Excellent presentation.”

“Brilliant. Look forward to reading the book.”

“Excellent, should have more such talks.”

“A most interesting evening.  Very informative. I’m looking forward to reading the book.”

This was a really enjoyable evening. John’s book and talk are highly recommended.

North West Libraries

Librarians in the North West have pioneered partnership working to encourage new readers into libraries. Time To Read is a partnership of librarians engaged in reader development activity in public library authorities in the North West Region. 22 public library authorities in the region currently support Time To Read.

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