Kirsty Logan's The Gracekeepers is set in a drowned world where bodies are buried at sea with a caged bird to mark the spot. Ruth Ware's In a Dark, Dark Wood is a tale of a hen night gone horribly wrong. Vesna Goldsworthy's Gorsky is a retelling of The Great Gatsby with Russian oligarchs in London (in the shower later, it suddenly struck me that she's missing a trick if she hasn't set it in East Ham).
All had previous publication experience, in short stories, children's fiction and non-fiction respectively, and the focus of the evening was demystifying publishing for aspiring writers as well as interested readers.
What they had to say about writing, editing, publishing, and taking the phone call to say that Reese Witherspoon is interested in the movie rights while you're wrangling your children in the rain (this was Ruth Ware) was funny, fascinating and helpful.
I was particularly taken by Kirsty Logan's advice ("This is BAD advice! Don't take it!"): although now a full-time writer, in the past she always took non-demanding jobs that wouldn't bleed into her writing time. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
I didn't buy any of the books, but I will certainly remember them and probably read at least one in the future. I left full of determination and pizza.