Literary world first for David Mitchell’s
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
- Immersive Reading Room arrives in London’s Spitalfields -
London’s Old Spitalfields Market is to play host to the world’s first immersive reading venue, marking the paperback release of author David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet as part of a campaign to recruit a thousand readers to review it.
Open to the public for four days from Tuesday 15th March 2011, this Japanese teahouse-inspired ‘Reading Room’ has been designed to heighten the power of David Mitchell’s award-winning storytelling prowess by allowing readers to become absorbed by the novel within an environment that has literally been built around it.
The rapturously reviewed The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet transports readers to the year 1799. Set on the tiny, man-made island of Dejima in the bay of Nagasaki, then the only gateway between Japan and the West, this panoramic novel tells an enthralling story of colliding cultures, power-hungry empires, duplicity, love and murder. A Number One bestseller in hardback and one of the books Barack Obama took on his recent holiday, the paperback will be published on 17th March 2011.
David Mitchell’s Immersive Reading Room is the first physical space to have been designed (with input from the author) to create the optimum environment in which to experience the book. This tranquil room – located in the heart of busy East London – will combine Edo Japanese-inspired materials and finishes (reminiscent of a traditional Japanese teahouse) with sounds and smells designed to transport readers to the world of Dejima, creating a truly immersive reading experience. Sketches from the notebook that David used while writing the novel will also be incorporated into the space, which has been produced by award-winning brand experience agency, Unity. Visitors will also be served traditional Japanese green tea within the space, provided by TeaSmith of Spitalfields.
In this dedicated space, readers will be able to select one of seven extracts from the novel, and are invited to respond to these by uploading a review, image or film to a dedicated microsite, via an installed Samsung Galaxy Tab. This forms part of a wider initiative by publishers Sceptre: to recruit 1000 people to become The Thousand Readers of Jacob de Zoet. These readers will receive a signed copy of a limited edition paperback and asked to submit their opinion of the novel overall. Some of their quotes and their photo will be used the ad campaign. Sceptre wants to know what book lovers think, and to reach new readers who they believe will find this book one of the most transporting and glorious reading experiences they will ever have. Their mission is to show that this is how powerful stories can be.
Commenting on the arrival of the Immersive Reading Room in London, author David Mitchell said:
How could I be anything but charmed by a step-inside room of a novel I authored materializing in the heart of Spitalfields market? I'm looking forward very much to meeting readers of ‘The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet' in this multi-sensory bubble of eighteenth-century Nagasaki. Visitors, we hope, will find the visuals transporting, the sounds intriguing, and the tea (definitely) divine.
As for the smells? We'll wait and see.
David Mitchell’s Immersive Reading Room will be situated near the Mulberry Gate at Old Spitalfield’s market, London from Tuesday 15th until Saturday 19th March 2011 between 9.30am and 7pm. David Mitchell will be making a special guest appearance at the Reading Room on Wednesday 16th March at 1pm when visitors will be able to meet him.