Meeting Maureen, a GOLDEN opportunity!

Today’s blog is by Charlotte from the fabulous Stoke Newington Bookshop. Charlotte is a big Maureen Johnson fan, and had the chance to meet the woman herself last month at the Stoke Newington Literary Festival! Here’s how it went down…

I found out about Maureen Johnson through another author, John Green. The first book of hers I read was 13 LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPES and was hooked from the go. Her writing style is comedic, detailed and all round entertaining. When I found out that she was coming to the Stoke Newington Literary Festival to promote the publication of her book THE KEY TO THE GOLDEN FIREBIRD, I have to admit I was extremely excited.


As daughter of the Stoke Newington Bookshop owners and volunteer at the festival, I subtly suggested to my Mum that I thought it would be a good idea for me to work the event. Having someone who knows the books could really help and I just happened to be free that weekend. My subtlety was like no others, so soon I was packing up boxes of THE KEY TO THE GOLDEN FIREBIRD and heading to the venue.

Before the event started I was given the opportunity to meet Maureen and Sarah Rees Brennan with whom she was doing the event, and I obviously took it. My plan was to be confident, cool and casual. I’m pretty sure I was shaking when I shook their hands but that definitely didn’t take away from my confident, cool and casual approach.  Neither did stumbling on my words and talking about giant disco balls. I wished them good luck and went to hide behind my bookstall at the back of the hall.

Sara Manning, me, and Maureen!

Sarah Rees Brennan, me, and Maureen Johnson!

If asked to describe the event in one word, I would undoubtedly say it was hilarious. They told anecdotes about how they had started writing, other authors and their families. Questions were asked and answered with off-topic chatter, but the audience didn’t seem to mind. Maureen and Sarah were incredibly entertaining and the event was everything I’d hoped it would be.

We started with a table full of books, and by the end we had almost no stock. THE KEY TO THE GOLDEN FIREBIRD sold the most, as it was Maureen’s newest, and it definitely deserved it. It is a fantastic novel written in Maureen’s iconic style, with humour and emotion laced throughout.

If you missed the event at this year’s literary festival – bad luck you missed out; but you can still read the book!

Head over to Stoke Newington Book Shop or your local indie to celebrate Independent Booksellers Week and grab a copy of KEY TO THE GOLDEN FIREBIRD!


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