CLEVELAND, Ohio — Best-selling author Neil Gaiman hit the road for a storytelling tour, set to hit the Keybank State Theater in Playhouse Square on Tuesday, May 17.
Tickets, ranging from $25 to $85, are available to play on Playhouse Square website.
Expect to hear a range of his stories, essays, poetry and more during the show, all read by Gaiman. Audience members will have the opportunity to write questions on cards, which Gaiman will remove to answer throughout the event, he said.
“The most important thing, really, is reading to people, most of whom haven’t heard of since they were in school. No living human read them a story,” Gaiman said in a phone interview. “There are normally a few moments of discomfort and then you watch people start to relax. They enjoy it. I think for me that’s the best of all – watching a room full of people get comfortable and indulge in stories.
Gaiman is no stranger to the Cleveland scenes. He has read at the Cleveland Public Library, Playhouse Square, and The Plain Dealer’s Book & Author series.
But it’s been a while since he took the stage, due to the coronavirus pandemic. In recent years, Gaiman has largely stayed away from speaking engagements.
Of course, Gaiman kept busy during this time. His book “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” has been adapted into an award-winning stage production. Filming recently wrapped on the second season of the TV adaptation of his and Terry Pratchett’s book “Good Omens,” and filming recently began on a TV adaptation of his book “Anansi Boys.”
“’Anansi Boys’ is huge. It’s this huge project, kind of like a six-hour movie,” Gaiman said. “I know it will end one day, but in the meantime we are in the biggest film studio in the UK. We have shot in Florida, Brixton and South London. We are shooting in the Caribbean, we have shot in mythical Africa. Everything is quite incredible.
Gaiman, the author of “American Gods”, “Coraline”, “Stardust” and dozens of other books, children’s books, comics, essays, poetry and more, is one of the most prolific and the best known in the world. world. He has racked up numerous honors including Hugos, Nebulas, a British National Book Award, a Newbery and Carnegie Medal and more.
Before many of these awards arrive, and before one of his books becomes a New York Times bestseller, Gaiman recalls his status as a “cult author.” Specifically, he recounted a memory that stuck in his mind, at a dinner hosted by Plain Dealer Book & Author in 1999, during a telephone interview with cleveland.com:
“The Cleveland Plain Dealer held an event in 1999. There were three authors, one of whom was me. I was not a New York Times bestselling author at that time, and two of them were New York Times best-selling authors. We had an incredibly enjoyable thing where everyone stood up and gave a little speech, and after the little speeches were made, there were signature lines.
“Suddenly things got very weird because even though I wasn’t a New York Times bestselling author, I was a cult author at the time, and my lines were much longer than other authors. There was a completely different audience for mine, in the sense that in mine there were the goths, there were the weirdos, there were the people who didn’t seem like they normally showed up to Cleveland Plain Dealer’s literary luncheons.And there were also very nice ladies in pearls and things, queuing for the other gentlemen.
“It’s a moment I remember because I learned a lot about audiences and about readers and about being an author’s responsibility, and not caring about sales. The best-selling author the best-selling next to me had a lady in her line with one of her books she bought at a library sale. It was an ex-library copy. The author loudly refused to sign it because he said she didn’t buy it new, that he wasn’t getting any royalties from it, that he wasn’t going to sign it. But he did it really hard, like a performance .
“I looked at this reader who, no doubt, if she could have afforded her book, knew that she would have bought it new and after he had signed her book, I was convinced of one thing is that she would have stayed. She would have really saved up to buy her new books. Instead, you saw her being humiliated and saying, “I will never buy one of your books again, even under the threat of a weapon. Then something very strange happened, that some of the other ladies, further back in his line, left his line very ostentatiously, walked towards the table of the bookseller and bought copies of ‘Stardust’ and came into my line.
“I thought, I think I just learned something huge about people. I think what I learned most of all is that a one-on-one sale never matters. for an author, but treating your readers with respect and treating them with kindness and love is something that will always be important.
Find more information about Gaiman’s upcoming event in Cleveland at playhousesquare.org.