Friday, December 14, 2007

Bigger than Potter - ATLP has its Paris launch

It's the morning after the night before here in Paris. The morning after the Paris launch of ATLP -- and I'm feeling decidedly worse for wear.

The big launch soirée was a rip roaring success, if I say so myself. With almost 200 people in attendance (the biggest turnout for a launch event that WH Smith have ever had - bigger even than for the launch of the Harry Potter books), an impressive pile of books sold (hoorah for that), Lido dancers in costume and a stirring launch speech by the Australian Ambassador to France, the book had as good a hometown launch as I could have hoped for.

My left hand is on ice after two solid hours of book signing and the large pile of empty bottles of Thompson Estate wine bear testament to the festive mood of the evening.

Highlights for me? A great speech from the Aussie Ambassador, Penelope Wensley AO (which I have copied below), a touching message from my publisher in Oz, Vanessa Radnidge (read aloud with finesse by the Showgirl), and posing for photos with the Lido girls on the Place de la Concorde.

Special thanks once again go to the serially-amazing Carla Coulson - photographer extraordinaire - for operating in sub-zero temperatures on the Place de la Concorde and coping as a forty-strong gaggle of Italian teenage tourists snapped away on their mobile phone cameras over her shoulder.

It was a memorable night - and one that finished in the wee small hours of this morning at Le Tambour - still my Parisian all-night eatery of choice.

Now I must crawl back under the duvet -- adieu.

Ambassador Wensley's Speech:

Ladies and Gentlemen,


It’s no easy task to launch your book … your ‘universe of beer’ is, well … remote from my universe of key messages, key outcomes, key figures, key indicators and …metaphoric listening at key holes! (and for those of who you who don’t get the reference, buy the book and check out p.183 in the chapter ‘all aboard the international gravy train”).

Those of you who have not yet read the book – and I do recommend it as a very readable and entertaining journey through the ups and downs of living (and loving) in the city of lights – would perhaps not realise to what extent my Paris does not really resemble your Paris. Although I, too, spent four formative years in Paris, as a single person in my early twenties, on my own journey of discovery - of France, of Paris and of myself - I was already a bureaucrat, conscious of the responsibilities of my position - and confess to feeling somewhat shocked by the gulf you describe between your ‘work experience’ and your ‘life experience’ - and your attitude to your employer and the ‘gig that paid the bills” (p.181). One suspects - indeed hopes, given your obvious talents - that despite the colourful tales and serial bagging of your employers at the ICC, between the long lunches, there was more between the lines and times when that professional ying actually did hold sway over the leisure time yang (p.181).

Yet even if we part company on some things, there are also some similarities – including coming to terms with the complexities of a new culture and mastering the language, or more accurately, the acronyms, of international bureaucracy (about which Bryce is very funny). And whilst the roads we travelled are different, we do arrive at a similar conclusion. When Bryce describes (on p.178) a yearning for Australia that is ‘more cultural craving than cultural cringe’ – as someone who has lived for considerable periods outside Australia, promoting Australia’s interests in many different countries, I can readily identify with his feelings and share the firm conviction that Australia is a fantastic place to come from, and a great place to return to.

I am here in a representative role, obviously in France generally, but specifically tonight in WH Smith, representing an Australia proud of her talented children – of which Bryce is literally one in a million – who have left Australia to seek … life, experience, opportunities that may not be available to them or are different from those available to them back home. Yet these expat Australians remain, proudly – and in Bryce’s case – loudly, Australian.

To some extent tonight, I am also representing my predecessor, Ambassador Bill Fisher, who was not only responsible for launching the popular working holiday visa at what, from all accounts, was a hell of a party, but through it, for Bryce meeting the woman he was to marry – the lovely Shay.

So on behalf of Australia (on behalf of Bill) and surrounded by Bryce’s friends (and future fans), by Bryce’s ‘babes’ and Bryce’s ‘bruisers’ (p.111), I wish a long and happy life to both the book and the bloke and herewith launch ‘A Town like Paris – living and loving in the City of Light”.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Paris frocks up for A Town Like Paris launch

Just wanted to share with you some of the preparations for the Paris launch of A Town Like Paris.

With a little bit of help from my friends at The Lido, and thanks to the indulgence of the good folk at WH Smith on the Place de la Concorde, the main window of this venerable English-bookstore-in-Paris has been transformed into an ATLP shrine.

Costumes from a former Lido stage show have been brought in to add a bit of Parisian glamour to proceedings as we gear up here in the City of Light for the big launch event on December 13.

If you happen to be in Paris on the evening of Thursday December 13 and want to drop in to say hello - or meet one of the Lido dancers who will attending (in costume, no less) - please feel free to do so. Numbers will be limited, so be sure to RSVP by sending an email to

The Showgirl is dusting off her glad rags in anticipation, the Thompson Estate wine is chilling as we speak and every Parisian ex-pat and his or her dog is shaping up to join the throng. It should be quite a night.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Paris Book Launch - Thursday December 13

Hello people,

Back in Pareeee after three weeks touring the homeland launching and promoting the book. It all went swimmingly. Some great in-store events, a champagne-soaked launch soirée in Sydney, a couple of book signings and a whole lot of media interviews. Lucky I never tire of talking about myself ;)

Now that the book has been well and truly launched in Australia, it's time to give it a good ol' launch event here in Paris.

The good folk at WH Smith - the English bookstore on Rue de Rivoli, near the Place de la Concorde - have kindly offered to host the launch soirée, my new best friends at Thompson Estate Wines are very kindly providing alcoholic refreshment on the evening and the Lido de Paris have come to the party with the provision of a handful of Lido dancers for the event and a special two-for-the-price-of-one voucher to see the Lido revue for every book launch attendee. Oh - and I will be there signing books, with the Showgirl in tow.

All in all, it's shaping up to be quite the shin-dig. And you are all cordially invited to attend.

For those of you who live in Paris, or those of you passing through in the weeks leading up to the book launch, be sure to check out the "A Town Like Paris" window display at WH Smith that the creative types at the Lido are creating - using old Lido costumes and assorted other glamorous bits and pieces.

WH Smith are also taking pre-orders for the book - for those of you who wish to reserve a copy. Visit

Details for the Paris book launch:

Thursday December 13
WH Smith - 248 rue de Rivoli, 75001, Paris
Nearest metro: Concorde

RSVP: or 01 44 77 88 99

Look forward to seeing you there!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Australian Book Launch & Tour

As I type the wife is running around the apartment, deciding which of her countless pairs of shoes she won't be packing for the trip back to Australia next week.

We leave Paris mid-next week, endure the world's longest plane flight and arrive back in the homeland just in time to get stuck into the Aussie launch of A Town Like Paris.

The good folk at Hachette Australia (my publishers) have organised a three-city book promo tour - complete with book signings, cocktails and canapés. I'll be variously bunkering down in bookstores or propping up a bar in a city centre near you - it would be great if you were able to pop by and say hello.

The details of my bookstore signings - plus the details of my Sydney launch event - are listed below:

Monday October 1
Mary Ryan's Bookshop
40 Park Road
I'll be reading from A Town Like Paris, chatting about life in the City of Light and hanging out with the in-laws (Shay hails from Brizvegas) - please come and join the fun.

LAUNCH EVENT - Hosted by Angus & Robertson
Wednesday October 3
Pacifica Bar, The Eastern
Oxford St, Bondi Junction
My new best friends at Angus & Robertson are very kindly hosting a cocktail party book launch fiesta. See the Angus & Robertson website (below) for details on the event and how to get yourself on the guest list.

Thursday October 4
Reader's Feast Bookstore
Midtown Plaza, Cnr Bourke and Swanston Sts
I'll be reading from the book, signing copies and generally making myself available for anyone who wants to pop by.

Friday, September 14, 2007

To blog or not to blog, that is the question

With so much drivel floating around on the world wide web and so many people blogging about so much of utter inconsequence, I had to think long and hard about whether to include a blog on this website.

Finally, I decided it was the quickest and easiest way to communicate news or info about the book to the largest number of people. So here it is, the Bryce blog.

Mindful of the inane musings that make up most blogs, I hereby vow to keep blogging entries as succint and informative as possible.