What seems like ages ago now, back in December, a tweet popped up on my timeline from St. Bride Library offering a fantastic chance to meet Ken Garland and hear him speak. What a chance it was! I snapped up a ticket and last Tuesday got to sit down and be inspired.
The talk was introduced by Adrian Shaughnessy, after which Ken Garland spoke for a while, paying tribute to his associates and friends. I found Garland charismatic and genuinely interesting to listen to. He has a way with words that inspires, captures you and creates laughter, his speech peppered by the odd swear word that gives a sense of familiarity with his audience. As some of the panel members said later on, he has the ability to make everyone feel involved, and how in the classroom he strived to know everyones names, or at least something about them. While this obviously wasn't needed in an evening talk, as an audience member I felt appreciated. I especially loved how Garland ignored the microphone and instead strolled up and down the isle, including everyone in what he had to say. It felt much more relaxed and enjoyable than other talks that have a more prescribed atmosphere.
I'm afraid the panel suffered in comparison coming after Ken Garland, although it was interesting to hear what it had been like to have been taught by him, I only wish I could have had the same privilege. Afterwards there was a chance to get books signed, and Unit Editions were also there to provide many temptations but unfortunately I had to resist. One of the downsides to being a student!