Head down to Old Spitalfields Market from Tuesday next week, and you can be transported back to 18th-century Japan.
A Japanese teahouse-inspired reading room is being built on the site to mark the publication of David Mitchell's latest book, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, in paperback.
The novel's set in 1799, on the man-made island of Dejima in the bay of Nagasaki: at the time, it was the only gateway between Japan and the West. Mitchell (author of Ghostwritten and Cloud Atlas), uses the setting to weave a story of culture clashes, powerful empires, duplicity, love and murder.
Between Tuesday and Saturday next week, you can read extracts of the book in the specially made reading room. Look out for Edo Japanese-inspired materials, as well as sounds and smells to transport you back to the world of Dejima. You can also peruse Mitchell's notebooks, and enjoy traditional Japanese green tea, provided by TeaSmith of Spitalfields.
If you're there at lunchtime on Wednesday, you might even be lucky enough to meet the author himself.
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 18th-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.
Behind all this 'multi-sensory' magic is a plan by publishers Sceptre to recruit The Thousand Readers of Jacob de Zoet (do you see what they've done there?). You're asked to respond to the bits of the book you've read by uploading a review, image or film to www.thousandreaders.com. The publishers might then use your quotes and photos in their ad campaign...
So if you've always wanted to see your words on a Tube poster, get your reviewing caps on.
David Mitchell’s Reading Room is near the Mulberry Gate at Old Spitalfield’s market from 15-19 March between 9.30am and 7pm. David Mitchell will be making an appearance on 16 March at 1pm.