Monday, May 17, 2010

Possibly the best yet

Ok, I said I was going to make myself scarce over the next while, but after posting so many times about the CBI conference, I felt I HAD to write about how it went and how it was possibly the best I've attended so far (this was my fifth). Maybe it was all because of those lovely nibbles provided by the National Gallery.
David Maybury has a very comprehensive summary of the weekend, complete with photos and quotes, so you really should head that way. I thoroughly enjoyed all the speakers, and what will stay with me is:
1- Spanish illustrator Elena Odriozola's list of the 17 needs she has as an artist, from the proper colour of paper to the removal of her characters' feet (for improved stability); and the accompanying pictures where everything was exciting: the birds, the print on a girl's dress, the glowing cheeks of a baby, the fact that all the action is happening outside the page...
2- Nikki Gamble's illuminating point that the best books act as mirrors or windows for their readers and that ''a child's mirror is another's window''. Nikki asked the audience several questions which I think will be haunting them for some time: "which book is the most representative of your culture?'' is still bouncing around my head and demanding an answer.
3- the honesty and openness of the panel of new and newish Irish voices.
4- the enthusiasm and respect I felt flowing from Siobhán Parkinson and Tadhg Mac Dhonnagáin  in their discussion of children's books in translation.
5- Michael Rosen's performance of his poems; the piece about tiredness is going straight on my fridge.
6- Niamh Sharkey's exploit in getting a roomful of delegate to stand up and sing and act the Hugglewug song (!).
7- Marcus Sedgwick's sense of humour.
8- The excellent company all round, on stage and otherwise.

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