13th February 2013

Vlogbrothers come to Manchester

What is a ‘Nerdfighter’? How do they ‘Vlog’? All was answered when Sam went to author John Green’s book signing…

At the Monastery on Gorton Lane, the Vlogbrothers John and Hank Green spoke to a sold-out 450 person crowd as part of The Fault In Our Stars live tour. The duo have over 900,000 subscribers on YouTube and have been vlogging (video blogging) for the last five years. They were in Manchester to promote older brother John’s latest book The Fault in Our Stars’ release in paperback.

The book topped bestseller lists and sold around 1 million copies, thanks to support from the loyal fans known as ‘Nerdfighters’ who fight for nerd culture.

The irony of speaking in a monastery was not lost on John Green who dropped out of divinity school while trying to be ordained as priest. “You can drop out of school, and still achieve your dreams”, he says.

John told the audience how, while working as a student chaplain, he became disillusioned by the suffering befalling so many children. Unable to handle his position, he moved to writing and tried to write a book about his experiences.

The problem was that the book was nothing more than wish fulfilment: about a handsome young chaplain who got with all the beautiful doctors. He returned to this book throughout his career but it wasn’t until he met a young girl called Esther Earl, who tragically died of thyroid cancer, that he began to make progress. His experience with Esther encouraged him to write the book again with the focus shifted to the children rather the chaplain. The Fault in Our Stars aimed to show the bravery of children suffering with cancer, how they were as smart and as funny as other children and how we can sometimes dehumanise them.

John’s brother Hank was also entertaining, performing a series of songs on topics as diverse as ‘Harry Potter Eight’ (that was its real title, right?). Fans had the opportunity to question the Vlogbrothers as Nerdfighter and Olympic gymnast Jennifer Pinches joined them. Questions ranged from whether they liked Marmite to what their favourite experience in Britain had been so far.

One question John Green couldn’t answer was whether he could reveal anything about the newly announced The Fault in Our Stars movie. Watch this space.

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