“Coraline,” “Good Omens” and “American Gods,” are all a part of author Neil Gaiman’s repertoire of literature.
The author visited Baker Hall on Nov. 12 to speak about his work, answer questions and sell his signed books to fans.
Gaiman spoke to a nearly sold-out crowd about a few of his past projects, including his book “Good Omens” and the TV show based on it, his work on the English translation of Studio Ghibli’s movie, “Princess Mononoke” and a poem he wrote about Batman.
English major Tim Gerth, ‘27, gave an introduction about Gaiman’s writing portfolio and life accomplishments before he spoke to the audience.
Attendees were given the opportunity to submit questions before and during the talk, which included topics from how to determine whether an idea is good to how to balance ego and impostor syndrome.
Gaiman encouraged the audience to accept that failure is part of life after being asked about the beginning of her career. He said he learned to keep writing even when his work was “bad,” because he trusted that eventually he would get better.
“I would worry about someone who is starting out, who isn’t worried they’re going to fail,” Gaiman said.
Frenchtown Bookshop in Frenchtown, New Jersey, partnered with Gaiman to sell some of his books, most of which were signed by him. The shop’s staff worked with Gaiman to organize the signing, and then alphabetized and packaged the books for pick-up.
Most of the signed books were pre-ordered, while the rest were sold at the event.
Barbara de Wilde, owner of Frenchtown Bookshop, said Zoellner usually works with Barnes and Noble when providing books for their events, but Gaiman specified that he wanted event organizers to source from an independent bookstore.
Her partner, Scott Sheldon, was the one who reached out to Zoellner and asked to partner with them.
“They were great, very organized, very generous, and they’re pros, obviously they put on hundreds of events,” Barbara de Wild said. “And so it was very, very easy.”
Nathan Levin-Delson, ‘27, attended the event to hear from Gaiman and to visit Zoellner. He said he was impressed by how well Gaiman engaged the audience.
“He joked around, he was personable, and when he was answering questions and giving advice, it felt like one person talking to another,” Levin-Delson said. “He was talking to you; he wasn’t a voice from on high or anything like that. And I really, really appreciated that.”
He added he learned a lot about the writing process from the event, especially how authors develop their personal writing style, and that he sees ways to apply Gaiman’s writing advice to other parts of life.
Clara McAuley, ‘27, said that while Gaiman’s anecdotes were eclectic, they were all fascinating.
“I think I was surprised because no matter how random (his) stories were, he is such a fantastic storyteller,” McAuley said. “I guess that should not surprise me. But, I wanted to hear about his son, the random dinner party he went to, and just everything he said was amazing.”
Mark Wilson, the executive director of Zoellner Arts Center, said he liked seeing how much students enjoyed listening to Gaiman and the positive impact his talk had on the audience and campus.
“I enjoyed watching everyone be excited and laugh when he told his stories,” Wilson said. “And I think the fact that we had all these young people and people from multiple generations together I think it’s great for Lehigh students to connect with the community.”