07 March 2011

Book launch: "The Lives of a Showman"

Last Friday I had the pleasure of attending a book launch party for “The Lives of a Showman” by Mark Lewis. (I live tweeted the event with the tag #TLOAS though I missed tagging a few tweets here and there.)

Upon entering Browser’s Den of Magic, I was instructed to direct my attention upward. Hanging from the ceiling were more than a dozen cheerful Lee Asher sign creations containing “Markisms” such as “If they were all the nine of hearts it would look like this” and “You're quite slow, do you work for the post office?” The mood was set!

It was clear that Mark has a tremendous amount of support in the local magic community! I found myself shoulder-to-shoulder with Jeff Pinsky, Jeff Hinchliffe, Ariel Fralich, Mia Ngueyn and Adam Harmes who had all made contributions to, or were mentioned in, the book. Other notables present include*: Gordon Precious, Owen Anderson, Paul Pacific, Chris Westfall, John Pellatt, Richard Lyn, John Michalson, Shawna Ross-York, Dan McLean, Steve Shrott, Joe Schwarcz and young Daniel (one of Mark’s students).

While reading from his book, we were regaled with stories of Mark’s experiences with The Worst Audience Ever at The Blue Angel and his early days of (not so) psychic readings in Ireland with Adam Harmes. Mark also read a piece written about him by Mai Nguyen, winner of the Jerry Gladman Memorial Scholarship in Journalism.

To round out the evening we were treated to James Alan’s rendition of Mark’s “Pig Trick” and then we all laughed ourselves silly through Jeff Hinchliffe’s impersonation of Mark doing his Svengali deck hustle.

It is always a delightful experience to hear an author read his own words. If the rest of the book is even half as entertaining as the launch party, it should be a good read indeed!

To purchase “The Lives of a Showman” visit Mark's website, Browser’s Den of Magic or contact your local magic dealer.

* If I’ve missed listing anyone who was there please send me an e-mail or leave a comment below! Thank you to John Pellatt, Ariel Fralich and James Alan for providing attendee intel on the parts of the room I didn’t make it to.


  1. Sounds Wonderful! I wish I had been there......especially as I am featured in the book. I have known Mark for what seems like a lifetime, and he is a one of a kind genius with a wicked sense of humour!! Roger Blakiston(aka Jolly Roger. www.ComicMagician.com )

  2. Thanks for commenting Roger! I wish you could have been there too. The words do not do the event justice!

  3. John Pellatt kindly brought to my attention this tweet from @RPaulWilson:

    Mark Lewis' book "Lives Of A Showman" is very good. Lewis is a real character and his stories are wonderful. Highly recommended.

  4. Here is a comment from best selling author Richard Webster:

    Once I started reading it, I couldn't put "The Lives of a Showman" down. Mark Lewis has had a fascinating life, and tells it well. I laughed out loud at some of the stories, and almost cried at others. I've been fortunate enough to spend a bit of time with Mark, and had heard some of the stories before. Reading them brought those memories back, and I could hear Mark's voice as I read. This book contained a number of surprises, too. I didn't expect to read an extremely unusual and sad love story, for instance. It must have been hard for Mark to write about this, and it shows how kind and compassionate he is. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

    Richard Webster

  5. This is a review of the book by James Munton posted on the Genii Forum and the Magic Cafe
    I have read the book. I am an avid reader and this is one of my favorite books I have ever read. Please note that I did not restrict my comment to "magic books." There is a rawness and honesty to Mark's book that I have very rarely seen. I frequently found myself reading a chapter, chuckling away to myself and then without warning I would realize I was reading something quite dark and powerful. I have never read a description of live performance that comes close to the vividness of Mark's prose.

    I honestly feel that this book is a masterpiece. Just like the author, it is flawed, fascinating, hilarious, infuriating and just when you think you know where it is heading, it takes an incredible turn into the deepest levels of human experience. You realize that a man who has spent his life deceiving people has just been more brutally honest than you could ever imagine.

    I obviously feel the book is fantastic.

  6. Thanks for posting!

    For anyone interested in reading the forum thread where the above comment appears, it can be found here:


  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. And here is the thread on the magic cafe concerning the book.

  9. The link isn't coming out properly. So in that case just go to the magic cafe book section and you will see the book being discussed.