Tuesday, 30 October 2012

From one festival to the next: Roll on November!

So, the Children's Books Festival is nearly officially over. Didn't get enough? Fear not, dear reader, as the Dublin Book Festival is on its merry way! Running from 13 November to the 18th, it's got an impressive and varied line-up of writers for little, medium and big people including some of your favourites such as Biddy Jenkinson, Laura Jane Cassidy, Oisín McGann, David Maybury, Alan Corbet, Niall de Búrca and many more. There will be storytelling, treasure-hunting, book-binding, reading and general shenaniganning. 

Oh yeah, and there will be me... More on this last bit later.
Meanwhile, the website is here. The children's programme is ici and the school events are listed aqui.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Festival of Stories 2012 at Imaginosity


Will you be there? Because I will. And Sadie, and Mad Cap and Norbert and Manic Mudrick and and Scrum the cat.... The works!

We will be doing a Hero DIY workshop on Sunday 28 (yes, THIS Sunday) at 4pm. You have been warned!
All the details are here.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

New Job

Not sure I mentioned this here before, but I find myself wearing a new and dashing hat: that of reviews editor for Inis, Children's Books Ireland's magazine. Proud, excited, terrified, snowed-under don't even begin to describe how I've been feeling over the last few weeks. 

I'm currently in the tricky but well-documented process of Doing Every Thing At the Same Time: updating contacts, introducing myself to contributors and publishers, fighting off the avalanche of email, reorganizing my (and other people's) life so that I can attend launches, previews and presentations (got my first invite to Xmas drinks today!), reading advanced proof copies to try and determine what's the next unmissable big thing and skimming through gabillions of books before assigning them the best reviewers possible.
I'm also still an Author with work to do, like 3 non-fiction books to write for my French publishers, 1 perhaps-translation (after the New Year, phew!), lots of perhaps-online articles and oooh, a perhaps-novel in English. And did I mention the school and library visits for Mad Cap?
Oh yeah, and I'm making dinner, too.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

In full swing

And so, the 2012 Children's Books Festival is entering its second week and going strong. This is my first year taking part from the author side of the fence and it's been quite something so far!
After 7 events in as many days, my brain has started getting into high-spin mode, but I still have plenty of adrenaline left in my system to buoy me up through the exhaustion, the rain and the lack of chocolate around the house. (I hope).
Last week saw my partner in workshop Sadie Cramer and myself visit the sun-flooded library in Stillorgan where we met two bunches of very keen and very alert ladies. Both were 5th class, the first lot came from Mount Anville, the second from Saint Raphaela's (whom the book is partly dedicated to) (yes, it was a bit of a shock to them) (long story). We saw some very cool heroic logos created there and some terrific cliffhangers written (I for one want to know what became of Juliette Froggy Girl please!).
On the Friday I ventured all on my lonesome to meet this strange species called... boys, in Willow Park School in Blackrock. Like the girls before them, two groups of third class tried their hand at writing about a superhero of their making: how he/she/it got superpowers, what happened when he/she/it first met Santa/monkeys from outer space/another hero, that sort of thing. To spice it up though they had to include a random word (given by me) in their story, in any shape and guise they wanted. Which is how we ended up with Kettle Man. (And also Super Hot Dog Man but that had nothing to do with me or the approaching lunch time).
Finally on Monday 8 October, I joined forces with Sadie again to explore Castletymon Library in South Dublin, where we were awaited by three(separate) groups from St Kevin's GNS, Scoil Aonghusa and Scoil Cholmcille. There was some serious writing and illustrating here too. The last class we met was actually reading Chop-Chop, Mad Cap! so it was a slightly different experience for us. For them too, in fact, as they got a special treat in the shape of an extract from Mad Cap's next adventure and as they made suggestions of titles and plot lines for the third or fourth instalment in the series.
Those guys were very optimistic! Thanks!
Over the week we got lots of brilliant, pointed questions ranging from technique to inspiration via career, money and 'can you speak French to us please?' But I think I should leave you with the best questions of all, asked by one of the lads in Castletymon:
'How big would you say is your love of writing?'
Can anybody trump that? I think not!

For more pics of the week that was, head over to Sadie's blog here.