Erin Morgenstern magics up enchanted tale

Roll up, roll up for a magical meeting with one of the hottest authors this autumn, whose magical book The Night Circus has enchanted readers and been hailed as 'the next Harry Potter'. STACIA BRIGGS finds out more about Erin Morgenstern, chocolate mice and popcorn.

The circus appears from nowhere, opening at midnight and closing at dawn, a host of black and white tents packed with an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements.

There are contortionists, performing cats, carousels and illusionists, tents containing clouds and others that are constructed entirely from glittering ice. Jars line up on shelves filled with stories which can be inhaled like per-fume and no one who works in the circus, bar the red-headed twins born on the opening night, ever ages.

Le Cirque des Reves delights all who wander its circular paths and warm themselves at its bonfire.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway – a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors.

Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one of them can be left standing and the circus is just a stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. But when Celia and Marco fall in love, they realise that they can't stop fate – the game must go on.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is a sumptuously written book which transports the reader into an enchant-ing world where the magic performed by magicians is real and love sends actual sparks into the air.

Most Read

Waterstone's in Castle Street is hosting an event with the author – who will be making her first visit to the UK from America - at Norwich Millennium Library on Tuesday at 11am.

Erin will be speaking about her magical book and the �2 ticket price includes a drink, a small pack of popcorn and chocolate mice, as featured in the fictional circus.

Ben Richardson, manager at Waterstone's, explained that it was a coup for the store to host a morning with Erin, whose book has already been snapped up for a blockbuster film.

'This is a book that will appeal to readers of Twilight, Harry Potter, The Time Traveller's Wife and especially those that have read Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel by Susanna Clarke,' he said.

'The book is being heralded by some as the new Harry Potter and is rumoured to be being filmed by David Hey-man, the producer of the Harry Potter movies.

'We're delighted to welcome Erin to Norwich. It's a real once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet her!'

Erin, 33, graduated from college with a theatre degree and is a talented artist. She wrote most of her book in Sa-lem, a town renowned for the witch trials of 1692 and 1693.

'I'm a very visual person,' Erin said, 'as I write, I think about what people are wearing, how the room is lit, what it smells like. I like that as a reader, it makes you feel like you're immersed in the book.

'The story came about as an accident, really. I started writing the novel several years ago and I never really planned for it – I just like to write and see what happens.

'I eventually got bored with the story I was writing, so I decided to take all of my characters to the circus and the circus was a lot more interesting. I abandoned what I'd been writing and just focussed on the circus.'

Erin added that her art – while writing The Night Circus she also designed her own black, white and grey tarot deck – had a major influence on her writing.

'I like to say that I can paint what I can't write and write what I can't paint. It's almost like trying to write pictures, somehow. I sort of distill the pictures into words.'

l Erin Morgenstern will be at the Millennium Library on OCtober 11 at 11am. Tickets for the event are available from the library or Waterstone's in Castle Street. They cost �2 and include coffee, popcorn and chocolate mice.

l The Night Circus, published by Harvill Secker, priced �12.99.