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After, there was a snake line of autograph supplicants. O’Brien took time with each of us and the spelling of our names, the hearing our anecdotes. She graciously autographed dog-eared books that shameless ones had snatched up half-price at the nearby Strand Book Store. Though we hoped she would join us belowstairs for the canapés, this was not to be. Alas, with her final penstroke, others claimed her and she was spirited off. It was a great after-party, nonetheless, everyone so buoyant because, for a while, Edna O’Brien, our queen, had been there in her shoes.