Tracy Chevalier is one of seven renowned authors revisiting the success of their bestselling book in our intimate Celebrate With…. series.
We asked her how she enjoyed talking about Girl With A Pearl Earring twenty years on and about her new book A Single Thread which is published this month.
I still love talking about Girl with a Pearl Earring – which is a good thing, as I get asked about it a lot, even after 20 years! It helps that I still love Vermeer, still love that painting, and still find it mysterious. It means there are no definitive answers, so I am always genuinely thinking anew when people ask me about it. My approach to writing has changed a bit. I would say I’m more conscious and trying hard not to let that tip into self-conscious. When I wrote Pearl Earring I was in a glorious innocent bubble. Now that bubble has popped – but it does mean I have a readership. Possibly one of the more surprising things we may talk about is the book being made into an avant-garde opera, opening at Zurich Opera House in 2020. That is something I never would have predicted would happen!
I love meeting readers at festivals. They remind me of why I write – for them. If there were no readers, there would be no point in writing, so I am very grateful! Actually readers are more or less the same the world over. Anyone who is going to make the time to come and hear a talk about books is going to be my kind of person. I would say that Cheltenham audiences are particularly attentive. My events are always full and in good spaces where everyone can see and hear. That is important! And when there’s a good solid crowd, the event is almost always going to be good and solid too.