Monday, 30 May 2011

HAY FESTIVAL 2011 again

What fun was had at HAY over the weekend. I had a great time on Sunday talking with Tim Bowler about his new book BURIED THUNDER, my book QUARRY, and chaired by the excellent Pete Hurley of Pembertons Books.
(here we all are, looking very cheery)
It was great to see you all and thank you everyone to who came along.

I also went to hear David Almond and Patrick Ness talk about their books, 'My Name Is Mina' and Patrick's 'A Monster Calls' both books are shortlisted for the Carnegie medal.
It was an entertaining and thought provoking event, entrancing my dad (a farmer and visionary)
my mum (the most hard working person on the planet) and my six year old (none of the above). Fantastic.
Other Hay highlights for me were:
Riding in a rickshaw powered by an aimiable young man down to the festival
Seeing a big blushing policeman getting his cook book signed by Nigella Lawson
My mum saying very loudly in the green room 'Who on earth is Rob Lowe?'
Watching Allison Pearson's event
Near Riots amongst authors in Green Room as they run out of cake
Finding 'Here Comes The Poo Bus' by Andy Stanton for my 4 yr old....

The festival of course, still has another week to go, but for me the swanning around is over and it's back to the coal face, working on my new teen book BULLET BOYS...

Thursday, 26 May 2011


I am going to Hay-on-Wye for the mighty book festival. I am fortunate enough to have an event with the fantastic Tim Bowler on Sunday 29th at 5pm. Hay is a brilliant festival with billions of authors and book lovers and book-loving authors milling around being bookish. Authors get to talk about their books and spy on/*secretly get starry eyed over other authors talking about their books.
Readers and authors meet and everyone eats an ice-cream at some point. This is one of the Laws of Hay. Nobody eats any books but I will report back if I witness this. Another Law of Hay is that if you spot a very-famous-author eating an ice cream you *MUST REMAIN NONCHALANT AND BOOKISH even if they have exceptional sideburns which, in normal circumstances, would require further investigation.
Authors usually spend most of their time sitting alone in bad trousers, muttering at their desks, exaggerating fictional events and laughing at their own jokes. So when they come to an event like Hay they DRESS UP. You will spot the author in the crowd at HAY 1)by the smell of mothballs fuming from their (odd) best clothes and 2) the limp as they walk in uncomfortable new shoes. (usually they wear slippers to work)
3) They will also look shifty as they try not to exaggerate.
Books are sold, signed and celebrated. The town itself is stuffed full of book shops (maybe I'll pick up one or two to add to my meagre collection)
I have been to the Hay festival once before, for about 2 hours, one of which was largely spent changing the baby's nappy and feeding it ice-cream.
This is why I have such vast knowledge on Hay-lore.

Bring it on!

(Note: Apology. pointless Blog waffle increases as NEW BOOK deadline approaches. I'm aiming to deliver my new teen novel BULLET BOYS, to my publisher at the end of June...)

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Kingston Reader's Festival

I'll confess that at six-thirty a.m on Friday the thirteenth, leaving darkest Somerset for Kingston Reader's Festival in Surrey, I did wonder how I would make it through the day without attracting some malign attention of the fates, but I needn't have worried, I was given a very warm welcome at Tolworth Girls' School and had an enjoyable session, talking about books and writing, then lunch with the school reading group. I met lots of sparkling book-crazy girls! Then on to the Holy Cross School in the afternoon. Special thanks to Irene Marillat, fantastic school librarian at Tolworth Girls, for making me feel so welcome and creating a great event and Vanessa Howe for organising everything and shuttling me around!

(I didn't entirely escape bad luck though, as I lost my scarf and my return train ticket. I thought I'd have to hide in the loo (haven't done this since I was 18) but the ticket inspector never came! fortune smiled after all!)

photo by Irene Marillat

Wednesday, 4 May 2011


...have taken over everything.

There are books piled here and there...
Books for the jumble, kitchen cooking books, books in the sitting room...
There are library books too.

Books everywhere. Read books, un-read books. Scary books. Stupid books. Clever magic books.

Bloody awful books.

My books.

(Why do I need to write books? There are SO MANY books already!)

Books by the loo.

Books in the bedrooms
The only organised bit is a bookcase full of Enid Blyton. (I designated this book shelf when I was a child and had more ordered habits)

More Books on the stairs,

There are also quite a lot of children's books scattered around on the floor.

Wow, what if all these books were e-books? Would they get read? Would they be lost in cyber space? Or is it MORE likely they would be read. How would I be tempted to pick up Archie's Life of Mehabital? Or The Devil Rides Out? Or David Austin's Rose Guide? Or The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous? Or The Dictionary?

Or maybe I would be freed from the tyranny of books. I could collect something else, like, um nick nacks (ughhh) If I read less, I suppose I could answer the siren call of housework or grimace at the TV. But if I had no books, only a small electronic reading thing, how would I insulate my walls? How would I replicate that virtuous feeling for weeding out three or four for the charity shop? How would I wedge doors open, stabilise chests of drawers or press flowers?
If I got rid of my real books, all that would be left would be vast undusted tracts. And what's the point of a room without a mess of books in it?