Obviously, the two Royles are frequently confused. What I didn't know until this event was that Nick Royle the academic had written about Nick Royle the novelist, and had delivered a conference paper about him. This was at a University of London conference, and the two of them had arranged to meet there, but in a kind of publicly theatrical way. Nick mark 1 delivered the paper, and then stepped down from the platform, shook hands with Nick mark 2, who stepped up to take questions on his own novel. An uneasy silence ensued...
Of course, the two Royles are inextricably entwined. Look on a book site and you'll see there's no discriminating between the two. The Manchester Nick mentioned that, at the Cheltenham Festival, he'd done a talk and then was invited to sign books, many of which were - well, you fill in the rest. The Sussex Royle has a short story in the other Royle's new anthology, and so the seeds for more confusion are being planted there too. To digress briefly, congratulations to Edge Hill student Claire Massey on being included in Nick's new Best of British collection, where she finds herself in the company of Hilary Mantel among others.
The IABF event was well-attended, and the format of alternating Royles reading from their work made for a lively opening half. They then had an informal chat, and took questions before signing their (own) books. Despite the frequently rather dark materials of the respective writers' work, the evening was light-hearted and very enjoyable. As always at the IABF, a good few friends and acquaintances were present as well.
We came away with a copy of The Uncanny and The Matter of the Heart, which will be the first in what I expect will be a Nicholas Royle reading marathon, of both flavours.