That Time When Nick Hornby Signed My Copy of High Fidelity


Who’s read High Fidelity by Nick Hornby?

If you haven’t, you need to get on it. It’s absolutely one of my favourite books of all time (not to mention one of the best books to get you feeling a little bit British). But don’t watch the movie once you’re finished (just trust me on this one).

I am writing wrote this update as I sat on a London bus, (my favourite,  the number 14), completely and utterly starstruck having just met the author. If you haven’t read any of Nick Hornby’s novels or seen About a Boy, you may at the very least be familiar with his skilful adaptation skills for films such as An Education, and Brooklyn. By all accounts, he’s a pretty clever chap.

Aside from all of that though, you might wonder why was I SO excited (or, indeed, why this subject has merited its own specific blog post). So let me try to explain.

For anyone who loves reading, you’ll know how every so often, the stars align and certain books come into your life at the perfect moment for them to most resonate with you. There’s no real rhyme or reason as to why and it’s not something which tends to happen frequently (and it wouldn’t be nearly as special an occurrence if it did). But when it does, it’s quite joyous. High Fidelity was one of those books for me.

Thinking about this in the context of the events of yesterday, I can’t help but think there’s just something about this book that is pretty special to me. Here’s why:

The day started out like any other day in London: breakfast, commuting, work etc. Shortly before lunch, I was waiting for a large file to save on my computer and jumped on Twitter to kill some time. It’s worth noting that I’ve only just started using Twitter again this week (so it would totally make my day if you’d follow me).

This very moment happened to coincide with the same very moment when Foyles had tweeted about an event they were holding that evening: Nina Stibbe and Nick Hornby in conversation. The event was £8, a ten minute walk from my office and was on my way home. I promptly bought myself a ticket because it was, quite obviously, meant to be.

After work, I trotted on down to Foyles where I sat confidently in the second row, happily enjoying an hour of thoughtful, intelligent and funny conversation between the two authors. Not as familiar with Nina’s work, it was a joy learning about her writing process for her new book, Paradise Lodge.


When the conversation had wrapped up, it seemed that potentially Nick wasn’t going to be doing any signings. This realisation was followed by mild heartbreak.

Not one to give up, I loitered suspiciously for a moment anyway – you know, just in case. Shortly after, the author emerged quietly through a door from the corner, pen in hand. At this point, I just tried not to bolt across the room for fear of spooking him with my blind enthusiasm.

Instead I patiently queued as he signed copies for a few other fellow enthusiasts. When it was my turn, he politely said “Hello” and asked where I was from. I said, “Melbourne” and then, as I handed over my copy of High Fidelity, he asked if I’d like him to write a dedication. I gave him my name before blubbering incoherently that it was my favourite book of all time, thanking him clumsily before I left the bookstore a wee bit starstruck and slightly mortified for being so embarrassingly clichéd.

Nina mentioned in the Q&A how she thought that most celebrities had Google alerts in place for any mentions of their name online. So, Nick, in the unlikely event that you do have this set up and happen to come across this post, please accept my apologies – I do fancy myself typically much more eloquent and composed than you may have been led to believe.

What I really meant to say yesterday was thank you for High Fidelity – its prose has brought happiness and laughter to my life. A book like that is such a gift to us readers.

And to think – I was just killing time on Twitter on just another ordinary Thursday. You’ve got to love that about this incredible city.


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