Twenty years ago today, CHOCOLAT launched in the UK. It wasn’t my first novel, but it was the first time any of my books had had so much attention. This is me at my book launch (the first one I’d ever had) at Fortum & Mason’s, not even trying to look cool, but just enjoying every minute of it…
Here it is, twenty years later, back in its original jacket, with a new introduction by me, as part of the anniversary celebrations.
Of course I had no idea at the time how much that little book would come to mean to me and to my family: how many chocolate shops would be opened in Vianne’s name, how many people would read it and find themselves suddenly craving chocolate. That funny little book did so much for me and for the literary world: even its cover sparked off a fashion for jewel colours and sensuous imagery, rather than the sensible, dull book jackets of old. People from all over the world have written to me, telling me how much my book has meant to them.
Chocolate brings us together. It sweetens our celebrations. It links us with a past that is filled with magic, and folklore, and history. It has come a very long way: from obscure tribal concoction to one of the the most popular flavours in the world. And over the past twenty years, my book has had a similar journey, crossing over continents; taking me to places I’d only ever dreamed of seeing. Many, many people have given it their seal of approval: thank you so much to them, and to you.
Also, on the 20th anniversary of CHOCOLAT: how amazing does this sound?
A holiday of a lifetime on a paradise island, with glorious beaches, chocolate plantations, guided walks, internationally acclaimed gourmet chefs, chocolate tasting, chocolate-themed menus and a writing workshop with me –