Oh what a night...The Riff Raff launches its first event

We knew it was going to be good.

We had five, incredible debut authors on the bill, a sold-out audience and a bar merely metres away but even we could not have predicted what a stellar night was in store at The Riff Raff's first monthly meet up.

Rosy Edwards and Amy Baker of The Riff Raff

The Effra Social is one of our favourite venues in Brixton and the Churchill Suite is utterly charming: cosy but not a squeeze, quirky and yeah, still a bit cool. It has The Riff Raff written all over it.

Paul M. M. Cooper kicked off proceedings with an extract from his novel River of Ink. Historical, mythical, lyrical and abundant with vibrant imagery, he had the audience spell bound.

Paul M.M. Cooper at The Riff Raff monthly meet up

Fran Cooper was next to read from These Dividing Walls, her richly drawn ensemble novel set in the heart of Paris. Fran transported us to a forgotten corner of the French capital, to Number thirty-seven, where we got to peek into the lives of its fascinating inhabitants.

Fran Cooper reads at The Riff Raff

Third on the bill was our very own Amy Baker, who's extract from Miss-adventures: A Tale of Ignoring Life Advice While Backpacking Around South America had our lovely audience hooting with laughter. Special mention goes to Paul Baker – Amy's dad – for hearing things no father should have to discover about his daughter, and still making jokes.

Amy Baker reads at The Riff Raff

Once the applause died down for Amy it was time to enjoy a well-earned beverage.

What can we say about our audience? Book lovers one and all, we had aspiring novelists, publishing professionals, bloggers and fellow writers amidst the crowd. Thoughtful questions for our authors came thick and fast and covered everything from characterisation and inspiration to passion and process. It's fair to say we all came away having learnt a thing or two.

The Riff Raff Brixton

The Riff Raff Effra Social

The Riff Raff writers' community

The Riff Raff May meet up

Suitably lubricated after the break, we returned to our seats (and sofas) for our penultimate author Helen McClory. Helen's book, Flesh of the Peach, covers themes of loss, love and travel and her stories about recreating her heroine's journey across America, by bus, were hilarious and hair-raising in turn.

Helen McCrory at The Riff Raff