An evening with Bill Bryson - 11 May 2006

Anne spotted an article in the Bournemouth Echo saying that author Bill Bryson was coming to speak at Bournemouth University. We emailed them and they phoned us the same day, and we managed to get  four of the few remaining tickets. If you don't know much about Bill Bryson click here.

We knew that Linda would come, as she's a great fan. Unfortunately Rob was working, so Linda's friend Traci, who's another fan, came with us.

It was a great evening, really well organised. It started off with coffee and biscuits. While we were having this a photographer approached us, and took a group photo. This eventually appeared in the August issue of Dorset Society magazine. Anne tracked down a copy of the original:

We then had the 'talk'. A good format - Bill was 'interviewed' by Neil Butterworth, editor of the Bournemouth Echo. The connection is that Bill's first real job in the UK was as a sub-editor on the Echo. He lived in Christchurch at the time, and that was where his first child was born. Amongst the things we learnt were that he would have liked to move back to the area when he came back to live in England, but that it was too difficult trying to buy here, whilst living in the USA - by the time he saw a place he liked it had already been sold.

After the talk there was an excellent buffet with wine, and Bill started book-signing (the University book shop had stayed open late, with a special display of his books). We'd all brought books with us, and we queued up with them for signing and photos.

Bill was endlessly patient. He really is just the same as he comes over on radio, TV and through his books - charming and funny.

Les & Anne with Bill

Traci & Linda with Bill

The whole thing was arranged by Bournemouth University Alumni Association to raise funds for bursaries. Bill was given an honorary Doctorate last year, and this was a 'thank you' by him. Another author was in the audience, Minette Walters, who lives locally - oddly Anne had had just finished reading one of her books.

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