An evening with The Book Thief

The Book Thief

In January, I was lucky enough to be asked to host a Q&A session for Markus Zusak, an incredible author and lovely person.

It kicked off at the Palace Nova with a screening of The Book Thief, the movie adaptation of Markus's international best-seller. The movie is quite family-friendly, not as dark as the novel itself; it was so interesting to compare the two, especially as I'd just re-read it in preparation for the Q&A.

The cast in particular were brilliant. I wanted to adopt Rudy. And bonus points for having Roger Allam, one of my favourite voice actors, narrate Death. (Roger! Call me! You can just leave a voicemail!)

After the film, the writer himself appeared for half an hour of questions before a book signing session.

This was my first Q&A hosting, so I typically over-prepared with about three times the number of questions that I would have time to ask. Despite my nerves (hopefully no-one noticed my frenzied knee-dancing) Markus was the perfect interviewee -- relaxed, generous, and a wonderful speaker. We were treated to several behind-the-scenes stories about the origins of The Book Thief, and how its success has affected him and his writing process. There was some great audience questions as well, covering everything from the translation process to character developments. And no-one asked "How do I get published?", which was a nice change. 

Afterwards, nearly everyone made a beeline for the signing table. The crowds were incredible, and Markus spent several hours signing books and chatting to readers.

Fortunately I managed to nab him just after the Q&A for a signature. (But I was too shy to ask for a picture.)

Interesting tip: my well-worn book boasted 'Over 3 million copies sold!' on the cover. It's now over 8 million. Holy crap!

Many thanks to Markus for being such a great interview subject, and Dymocks Adelaide and Palace Nova for hosting the event.