Suzanne lives in Sydney with her husband and her four children.
You can learn more about Suzanne by visiting her website
Suzanne and I met when we were guests on Better Reading Book Club Live , discussing one of our favourite novels, March by Geraldine Brooks.
Aside from striking an instant rapport, I was awestruck by how Suzanne, despite her demanding job and family life, finds time to facilitate author events, be a senior judge on Premier’s Literary Awards and write a best-selling novel. So I asked her to dispel some of her secrets by sharing with us her top tips on facilitating author events…
My 3 Tips for facilitating events with writers – Suzanne Leal
1. Do your research
When asked to interview a writer at a festival or literary event, do your research by:
- checking the writer’s website for biographical details;
- reading as much of the writer’s work as possible, prioritising their most current work (which will generally be the work they are looking to promote);
- listening to any podcasts of interviews with the writer;
- reading interviews with the writer;
- familiarising yourself with reviews of the writer’s work.
2. Gain the writer’s confidence
Gain the writer’s confidence by:
- sending an introductory email with a list of suggested areas to cover in the interview;
- checking if there is anything the writer would rather not discuss;
- checking whether the writer would like to give a reading and suggesting a passage that would work well with the topics to be considered;
- arranging for the writer to attend the venue at least 30 minutes before the event. As well as ensuring your guest is on time, this enables you to develop a rapport before you go on stage.
3. Arrange the space
Ensure your event runs smoothly by:
arriving at the venue at least 45 minutes before an event is scheduled to start;
bringing a watch with you so you can keep an eye on the time during the interview;
checking the stage is set up the way you would like it. A coffee table can be used for your notes and to display the writer’s books;
making sure there is water on stage for you and your guest.
What did you think? Were the tips useful? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment in the section below – praise, criticism, suggestions on future topics or guests.
Till then…Happy Reading