Barring the unforeseen, it’s a sure bet that “An Evening With Paulette Jiles,” one in a series of year-long literary events hosted by the San Antonio Book Festival, will be more relaxed than those leading to the announcement of the National Book Awards last month in New York, which Jiles attended as a finalist in Fiction.
The local literary evening will take place Tuesday evening from 6-7 p.m. at Hotel Emma. Book Festival Literary Director Clay Smith will talk with Jiles about her novel “News of the World” and its impact on readers far and wide. The event is free to the public and nearly sold out; remaining reservations should be made at saplf.org under “Events.”
A few days before the National Book Award readings, parties and announcement dinner, Jiles slipped in the parking lot of BookPeople in Austin and broke her wrist – her non-writing one, fortunately – and suffered a black eye.
“Taking a shower and getting my hair dried before the dinner took an hour and a half,” she told the Rivard Report. “My agent had to put my earrings on me. By the time we started for the dinner I was already tired. I was happy just to sit down and be very quiet and watch.”
Despite feeling exhausted, Jiles lived up to the glamour of the occasion by decorating her black cast with rhinestone glitter.
As Jiles lives up the road in Utopia, the local literary event is something of a homecoming from a book-signing tour that included Houston, Denver, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Austin, Ashville, N.C. and Jackson, Miss.
“It seemed to have no end,” she said. “The most special and important part was encounters with readers. People are so emotional about this book. The (book-signing) lines didn’t move very quickly because people seemed to want to express the incredible emotional grip this book has had on them.
“It really astonished me,” she continued. “I felt that way when I was writing it, but I’ve felt that way when I’ve written a lot of things. But these are two characters that the world is against and they manage to win through, and that’s a very gripping theme.”
Jiles will be available after her conversation to sign books provided for sale by The Twig Book Shop.