A Caucasus-style book launch in Wales

It’s not every day that eager cries of “Gaumarjos” and the clink of Champagne flutes echo through a Welsh bookshop. But they did on February 17 when I launched “The First Toast is to Peace, Travels in the South Caucasus” out into the wide world.

About two dozen people turned up for the party at Book-ish, a book shop in my home town of Crickhowell in South Wales.

We had Georgian-style toasting. We had Champagne, Saperavi and Mtsvane wines from Georgia and Caucasus canapés. A friend who worked a long time in publishing wrote with thanks for a “really fabulous party – much the jolliest book launch I have ever been to”.

I was the first tamada (toastmaster) and naturally I intoned “Mshvidobas gaumarjos” – to peace.

A big thank you to my daughters Megan and Rachel, the illustrators of the book, and to friends for making it to the celebration.

Thanks too to Book-ish and to Welsh chef Zoë Powell for cooking up a Caucasus storm at my place after the book shop event ended.

”The First Toast is to Peace” is available from a number of websites, but if you cherish small book shops please support Book-ish. I also commend buying from my publishers at silverwoodbooks.co.uk.