The last event I attended on the final day of the Edinburgh International Book Festival was an event centred around feminism: In Praise of Pioneering Women by Caroline Criado-Perez. Caroline was catapulted into media attention after she started the campaign to put an inspirational woman on the £5 note. Her campaign led to her being viciously trolled on social media and subsequently the Crown Prosecution Service successfully brought the two main culprits to justice.
Her book, Do It Like A Woman celebrates the heroic acts of women across the world, from the first woman to cross the Antarctic alone, to the members of Russian band Pussy Riot who dared to stand up to Putin. Sounds like a great event doesn’t it?
However, the award winning writer started the event by confessing she wasn’t very well prepared. When questioned about parts of her book, she struggled to recall what she’d written and each question from the stage or audience member threw her into a flapping, long-winded monologue which was vastly disproportionate to the question being asked. Her tactic to make up for not preparing was going badly.
I don’t wish to be unduly mean but if you have paid £8-£10 for a ticket to see someone, surely common courtesy dictates that one should come prepared? This was an event at the internationally acclaimed Edinburgh Book Festival, often the audience is just as learned (if not more in some cases!) than the author and people come genuinely eager to engage with a subject that they care deeply about.
Caroline Criado-Perez mentioned that she ‘has only been a feminist for six years’ which I found remarkable considering the fame and acknowledgement she has received, perhaps she can’t believe it either.
Better luck to her next time.