Thursday, 14 June 2012

Bookstart 20th anniversary

Spent an excellent afternoon hanging out with other illustrator folk and authors at the Kensington
Roof Gardens to celebrate 20 years of BOOKSTART. Which is a scheme set up originally by the wonderful Wendy Cooling and responsible for giving FREE books to babies and pre schoolers. There website says:

It’s never too early to start enjoying books with your baby.
Very true. I honestly don't know what I would have done without
Willesden Library when my own son was very little. Being able to take him to choose his own books and meet up with other families 
was an absolute god send on more than one occasion!

I was thrilled to be asked to join everyone and I got a bit distracted by watching:

Camilla Duchess of Cornwall swanning around.

Philip Ardaghs beard - and him tweeting for England.

Christine Hamilton....?



Here's a few photos from the day. Long may the scheme continue!
Back to work in the shed for me now.
Making speeches before the CAKE!
Philip Ardah about to attack me
with his umbrella.

Book royalty!
Chris Riddell - Emily Gravett- Cathrine Rayner
Three AMAZING award winning illustrators and writers together.
Take a look at their websites and the work they do.

More book royalty.
Shirley Hughes
was there and I took this
sneaky snap
of her signing a book.

Great to catch up with Ed Vere, who's
books are HILARIOUS. Check them out here. And Jim Field.
Jim illustrated Cat's Ahoy! that won the 
Roald Dahl funny prize  picture book 2011

Jim was trying to take a picture of Christine Hamilton
for me who's in
the background. (With Axel Scheffler too!) 

Look it's Steve Cole! 

With us again.
Julia Donaldson- Marjorie Blackman- Nick Sharrat

Philip - tweeting.

Camilla talking to Shirley Hughes. SPOT the SECURITY MAN on the left.

A beard off - with fabulous Nick Sharrat and Philip.
Nick illustrats Jaqueline Wilson's books amongst
MANY other books. I went to his BOOK launch for SOCKS.

Christine Hamilton with fairy princesses
who look quite stern.

Julia Donaldson about to read her POEM to all (and cake).

Shirley Hughes.

Actress and author Susan Hampshire -
Who is very severely dyslexic
I seem to remember? She had to develop all
kinds of ways to learn her lines.

My empty glass.
As soon as Camilla
disappeared we all DUG into
the CAKE straight away.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

HAY FESTIVAL (and other excellent news!)

Louise and Lizzie from Harper Collins.
The first person I bumped into at Hay was the brilliant Louise Rennison who I met early in the year. She'd just done an event on WITHERING TIGHTS her HILARIOUS book. She is every bit as funny as her books and great company! I'd had twitter MUD warnings before Hay Festival, but it turned out to be a tiny bit SUNNY and even slightly warm. My EVENT at Hay was on EARLY on Saturday so wanted to WAKE the kids up by making PAPER BANGERS which are appearing in Tom Gates BOOK FOUR - Genius IDEAS (mostly).
I used to make them when I was a kid. I needed A3 size paper which was meant to be already at the Hay office. Turns out they didn't have enough so MARTIN came to the rescue and drove me to get some.
Thanks Martin, my event wouldn't have been the same without you!
Martin to the rescue.

THIS is a paper banger! 
I was in the  Sky Arts Studio - which looked MASSIVE (it was).

My trembling hand took this
picture of the venue.
 I was SO pleased anyone came to see me as the weather was a bit grim first thing. The funniest thing was watching the TECH guys making paper bangers and everyone making them go BANG on the count of three. And after it was fantastic to meet so many Tom Gates FANS! I can't tell you how nice it is and it's always my favorite part of events. After my event I went to the Telegraph tent and got to draw on their special doodle paper. Well you have to really don't you?
I met up with Martin Chiltern (telegraph digital cultural) very briefly as he was rushing from one event to another. He tweeted a pic of my TOM GATES nails too! 
My doodles got coloured in nice blues and greens.
A whole weeks worth of doodles.
Also met up with lots of other authors and illustrators. Sarah McIntyre being one. She'd already done some events earlier in the week and was back for more. Take a look at her fantastic BLOG for more pictures. She is a SUPER STAR blogger and manages to get photos of everyone. I'm not brave enough as seen by the slightly stalker photo I took of Russell Kane and a very cute pug dog he had.

Sarah in her Pirate gear.
 My lovely editor Clare at the back - Lisa (publishing director)- Sarah's partner next to Philips partner Sarah- then Sarah M - Sam - Philip Reeve- Martin Brown - Moira Young- Paul.

Scholastic took us out for a lovely dinner. Philip's son Tom is keen on the Tom Gates books so I made him a paper banger (for later). He kept himself VERY busy doing some great drawings while we all chatted, ate and drunk wine. I had to leave early due to a 7:30 am start, which was just as well probably. 
Philip Reeve book signing. 
He's an AWARD winning author 
and his NEW book is called GOBLINS. 
It's the one with the 
Day-Glo green cover below.

A selection of Sarah, Philip and Martins books.

Sarah in action with Moira Young who's book
BLOOD RED ROAD is a HUGE success.It's won a
stack of awards and is up for loads more.
Watch the BBC interview with her here.
You can see Sarah's pictures on her blog.

Sarah McIntyre and Martin who
illustrates the Horrible Histories books.

One of my FAVORITE Author and illustrator Oliver Jeffers mural with added jumpers.

Axel Scheffler's jumper (The Gruffalo).

Met up with Art College Friend Susannah English who lives 
15 mins from Hay. We haven't seen each other for about 17 years! 
So we had lots to catch up on. Susannah did illustration (I did graphics)at Camberwell. We were remembering the teachers who taught us
Like Chris Corr, who's work I LOVE still and Paul Cox who taught Susannah. We had fun reminiscing!

Mary Portas gave a talk at Hay about the work she's doing trying to get the towns and city high streets back on track with "Town Teams" running their own communities, not the supermarkets. 
She was so impressive and very inspiring. Earlier Mary had gone to talk to people in the high street of Hay which got a bit of publicity too. I couldn't believe the size of the audience she had for her talk, there were thousands of people. Watch out for the new TV program she'll be making. Which will no doubt be very interesting and entertaining. Margate is one of the cites she'll be trying to help. I used to go there a lot as a kid - to DREAMLAND fun fair. It was pretty ropy when I went so I'm guessing it's not improved with age? I BLURTED out "That was amazing." as Mary walked past me in the green room, much to Lily's embarrassment. 

Captivated audience.

 Lily and Mark arrived later on Saturday and we all went to hear Mary Portas then headed off to another hotel. We got stuck behind tractors a lot. But the views are stunning, everywhere we looked it was gorgeous countryside, sheep and wishing wells!

Lily found this book made into a bag.

Mark and Lily.

Night off in Crickhowell.
We saw this sign in Crickhowell.
So we followed it and bought
chocolate from
Black Mountain Chocolate
 which was DELICIOUS.

One more bit of GOOD NEWS! 
Excellent Excuses (and other good stuff)
Has been shortlisted for the SOUTHAMPTON BOOK AWARD 2012.
 www.southampton/ This will be live shortly and will feature an online voting page.  

Here's the complete shortlist:        

Tim Collins – Adventure of a Wimpy Werewolf
David Grimstone – Undead Ed and the Demon Freak Show
Pete Johnson – Vampire Hunters
Gill Lewis – Sky Hawk
Liz Pichon – Excellent Excuses (and Other Good Stuff)