Simon Armitage was in playful mood for this Faber Social in the salubriously done-out Corn Exchange: all white-clothed and intimate tables, swapping the once raucous, sticky, mosh-pit of memory – a Fugazi punk gig dredged from the recesses. Coming from that era, Armitage did well to read his ever-popular, Buzzcocks-inspired, ‘Ever fallen in love with someone you shouldn’t have fallen in love with’. His others, all beautifully spoken in a Yorkshire lilt mellifluous as a burbling foss, were sprinkled with humorous asides: “Awkward knowing whether to clap, [after a poem] like being in church without the fun.” Edna O’Brien added solemnity all her own with an excerpt from her latest story collection, ‘Saints and Sinners’. This racy tale dealt with the repercussions of an inveigled ménage-a-trois. In betwixt all this, came Andrew O’Hagan, author of the brilliant, ‘Our Fathers’ and Orange Prizewinning novelist, Linda Grant who, respectively, brought Scotland and the Americas closer to our shores in convincing fashion. Hosted in a suitably understated and efficient manner by Faber Publishing Director Lee Brackstone, bringing London to the seaside for this salon-type of affair, proved to be a bit of a breeze.
Corn Exchange, Brighton Dome, 5 May 2012