Tonight I had the pleasure of being part of something special as I got to see three of the most popular authors in the world gather together under one roof to talk about their work. Stephen King, J.K Rowling and John Iriving joined forces and spoke at Radio City Music Hall in a charity event called And Evening With Harry, Carrie and Garp. And boy, was it amazing! To be in the presence of such greatness...
Whoopi Goldberg was the guest MC and welcomed everyone while lightening the mood with some ad-libbed jokes and quick wit. Each of the three authors were then introduced by a celebrity fan and read a passage from one of their books.
Kathy Bates spoke for a while and welcomed Stephen King to the stage, and he proceeded to read the story of Lardass Hogan and the Pie-Eating Contest from Stand By Me. "The hardcore version.", as he put it.
Andre Brauer reflected on the life of John Irving who then came out to read the Christmas pageant segment of A Prayer for Owen Meaney, doing Owen's falsetto voice as if in character.
Finally, an incredibly hilarious Jon Stewart emerged and got the audience rolling in laughter before he introduced J.K Rowling. And when she emerged, the place simply erupted as the screams of thousands of teen girls echoed through the joint. It was a bit surreal when you thought about it; they weren't screaming and chanting for a rock star or actor... but for an author!! Long live reading! Rowling read a passage from Half-Blood Prince, the part where Dumbledore goes and finds Tom Riddel in the orphanage. And you gotta love her accent!
Stewart had the line of the night in my opinion though. After he pronounced her name "Raw-ling", the fans started screaming "It's Roll-ing!" to correct him. He quipped back that J.K had told him to do that so that they'd all start screaming "Rolling". Then as the crowd quieted down, he added, "And she also told me to tell you you're all wrong!!", and the place cracked up again. But then, just when you thought it was over and a hush fell over the crowd as if she was about to appear, Stewart adds "And I bet you didn't know the J was silent, did you?", which went over most of people's heads for a second, but then got everyone "rolling" in laughter all over again.
This was all followed by a Q&A, most questions being Potter related and directed to Rowling, but with a few good ones tossed in by some adults that opened up interesting observations, insights and comments on inspiration, the method of writing and revisions.
I had a blast and would love to go back tomorrow night for more. But alas, it's sold out. Even Stephen King commented on that in closing, noting incredulously that three authors, who sit alone in their rooms and type to their inner voices, are now selling out Radio City Music Hall!