Tuesday, 11 September 2012

The  judging is done for this years Roald Dahl Funny Prize.

But my lips are sealed until 20th September when the short list  will be officially announced. 

(Still can't believe I won last year, so it's a HUGE privilege to 
take part again).

There were many marvellous books on offer and I enjoyed reading and discussing them with my fellow judges who are: 

Lucy Mangan - Excellent journalist with regular columns in The Guardian (this weeks column is about being a judge)- Stylist magazine and writer of several very funny books herself.
Mel Giedroyc - Presenter- writer - comedian- actor -currently presenting The Great British Bake Off and all round lovely person.
Ed Vere-  Award winning illustrator - writer - painter. Working with Tiger Aspect on an animation of his wonderful book The Getaway. Ed's picture book was short listed for last years prize.

Michael Rosen-
 Where do you start? Past Children's Laureate - writer - performer- presenter and all round witty - informative and fabulous chairman of the Funny Prize.
Michael has an excellent new book out himself,
Fantastic Mr Dahl - which I now have a signed copy of.

On Monday we went to the Roald Dahl Museum for a judges day out.
HILARIOUS from the start, we piled on to a train where Michael kept us informed at every station of places he went to school/doctors/lived and generally frequented. 

Mel then added an excellent nugget of information about Chorleywood - being 
 the birth place of sliced white bread - fascinating and all true. 

 Here's some pictures from the day:

Photos were taken for evidence

Our tour around the museum was really interesting.

Natasha - a journalist from The Sun has done a piece
to go with the publication of Michael's book.

Love this...

My attempt at being creative.
Mel was recording a 4'oclock show for Radio 4 extra about the prize. She chatted to us all about the books and process of being judges. The programme will go out some time around the 20th September. Though I'm guessing it might take that long to edit, as we were laughing and scraping our chairs a lot (which wasn't very helpful for the - very patient - sound recordist).

Trying to record.

Ed reading a REALLY very funny book.
Lucy trying out Roald Dahls chair.

Press pictures of the judges enjoying ourselves.
 Roald Dahl kept the top of his hip bone
after an operation on his desk - just about where Ed sat.

Mel expertly eating cake.
Bloody marvellous it was too.
It's a funny book honestly.

Roald Dahls grave with giants
footsteps leading down from a bench.

Roald's second wife's daughter, who died suddenly,
very young, is buried next to him.
(Born the same year as me.)
Not sure why people leave money and
club biscuits on his grave?

The benches have Roald Dahl's
children's names on them
along with this engraving in the stone.

The overall prizes are announced in November after the

children have had their say too. I think we've come up with a great list of really funny books in both ages categories for boys and girls. There was surprisingly little table thumping - raised voices or snivelling which was a relief. Especially to Claire from Booktrusted who has looked after us all SO well throughout the whole process. Thanks Claire!

This was last years event with all the other authors and illustrators. 

Talking of funny things...went for a last swim (for a while) and saw someone had put a pair of trunks on Queen Victoria's head. Sadly... I was amused.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Summer catch up.

Blimey- I've been busy.
No blogging for a while but I've been working very hard (managed to fit in a teeny weeny holiday too).Got MASSES of great stuff coming up over the next few months.
So will try and post more blogs, tweets and everything else I'm supposed to do these days.

Won't waffle on, here we go...

July 5th  Catherine had organised a fantastic press session doing back to back radio interviews from a London studio.I mostly talked about the summer reading scheme and why reluctant readers  seem to like Tom Gates. 
(Rock radio was my favourite interview by the way.)

Took part in Tales Of The Moon Book festival. 
(Read Sarah McIntyres Blog which 
has lots of great pictures and information on it.
She was there on the Tuesday before me. 

Jugs @ Tales Of The Moon Bookshop Dulwich
Chris Haughtons dog - 
from his lovely book Oh No George 

David bought us cakes.

A decorated T-shirt.

Paper bangers!!

The sugar and CAKE is kicking in.

One kid had coloured in the 
endpapers - looks FAB!

Naughty David Maybury 
adding stickers to things 
he shouldn't.

The doodle wall in Tales Of The Moon

David Maybury eating cake.
Follow David on 
He's the editor for 
the Children's Books Magazine
when he's not eating cake. 
Lily on the way to Southwark
to do event in the local library.

I found out ON stage that I'd won the
Which news to me!

Lily took all the photos.
She's very helpful -
(all down to good parenting of course.)

After a meeting at Scholastic where I was finishing off
the new Tom Gates book - the sun was out so 
I SNUCK off to the Ladies ponds Hampstead.
In my student days I spent a lot of time there 
(probably too much).
The bus took a de-tour and went 
right past my old primary school Brookfield Junior - 
which is opposite Highgate cemetery. 
Kids would look out of the window 
and regularly claim to have seen GHOSTS during class. 

It was a bit freaky.

Ladies Ponds is the antidote to a very busy London.
It's like being on holiday but swimming in
slightly brown water.

Olympics - Liverpool and more summer stuff on next blog...