2 October 2023

Full house for author

It was busy at Leander Club on a Thursday evening in early September for the first of a series of rowing book talks organised by Leander Club librarian Irene Hewlett to raise funds for the Leander Trust. Queues wrapped around the building to admit the 110 guests to enjoy unique insights into the best-selling novel, while enjoying a delicious finger buffet.

Other unique and powerful insights into the novel, which is about chemist Elizabeth Zott, were that Bonnie Garmus had written the first chapter of the novel after a man had taken credit for her work, even though just minutes before Bonnie had presented it as her own. We learnt that the character Mrs Fillis, who is prompted by Elizabeth Zott to go to medical school, was in fact inspired by Bonnie’s mother who at later age became a nurse and worked in the AIDS wards back when this was incurable and no-one was willing to work there. The novel is also dedicated to her mother. We found out that Madeline Zott was a character in a previous novel written by Bonnie that was never published – might we add “to date” to this question and all together hope that that book will be published sometime in the future so we can find out Madeline’s fate (and we did ask her profusely!). Also, we got very interesting insights into the process of her novel being turned into an AppleTV series,  which is premiering on 13 October, so do tune in!

After the talk, Bonnie answered questions from the audience and books were available for sale. Bonnie kindly autographed copies and inscribed personal messages based on the short conversations she had with those in the queue. If you missed out on this rowing book talk, visit the Bell Bookshop for further autographed copies of Lessons in Chemistry! Thank you to the Bell Bookshop for providing copies of the book to sell, also in aid of the Leander Trust.

Thank you to Bonnie Garmus for coming to Leander Club and helping raise almost £1500 in aid of the Leander Trust!

The next rowing book talk in Series 1 of the Leander Library Rowing Book Talks is on Thursday November 9th at 7pm with Gavin Jamieson, author of the biography Water’s Gleaming Gold. Gavin is the grandson-in-law of Hugh ‘Jumbo’ Edwards who wrote the memoir because he felt it was important that the extraordinary life of Jumbo’s life was revealed. The memoir would serve to uncover the man behind the myth. Water’s Gleaming Gold is the incredible true story of the most extraordinary oarsman, Olympian, pilot, war hero and legendary British rowing coach. This is the tale of a man of courage and conviction – on a pursuit to redemption from public humiliation. 

Tickets are available for sale here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/cc/leander-library-rowing-book-talks-series-1-2403259

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