October festivals

I’m looking forward to appearing at three festivals in October. I’ve never been to any of them before, but judging by their programmes, they all sound wonderful.

The first is Flipside on 3 and 4 October in Snape Maltings, near Aldeburgh in Suffolk.

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Among the other children’s writers there are Chris Priestley, Emily Gravett, and James Dawson.

Next comes the Wimbledon Bookfest. I’m going to be there on Thursday 8 October as part of the schools programme.

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And thirdly is the Hungerford Literary Festival, where I’ll be speaking on Saturday 17 October.

Here are links to the websites where you can find out more about tickets, venues, and all the other fascinating writers and artists who will be appearing:

http://www.flipsidefestival.org

http://www.wimbledonbookfest.org

http://www.hungerfordlitfest.org

 

Wilderness

Earlier this August, I was one of several children’s authors performing at the Wilderness Festival. The festival was packed with twenty thousand people sampling everything from Bjork’s tunes to Moro’s lamb cutlets. Lucy Coats, Abi Elphinstone, Tamara MacFarlane and I were talking in the children’s area curated by Storystock. Over the course of the weekend, we each spoke about our books inside the big top, then did a panel discussion together.

A few photos below show the Storystock area, full of authors and pirates, and the lovely outpost of the Jaffe and Neale bookshop housed inside its own enormous tent… I wish I’d taken more (and better) photos, but I must have been always too busy eating those delicious lamb cutlets or chasing after my kids, trying to stop them getting completely lost among the other twenty thousand people.

Opening a new school library

This week I was asked to open the new school library at Danetree Junior School in Surrey.

In these gloomy times, when the news is usually of libraries closing, and bookshops too, and children choosing to stare at screens rather than read books, and adults too, it was wonderful to see the passion and enthusiasm and hard work that had gone into this new school library.

When I was there, I unveiled a little plaque which will hang on the wall, and I heard about this library’s transformation and renaissance. The parents and teachers of Danetree have taken a dreary white room and turned it into a magical space, filled not only with books, but cushions and chairs, toadstools and fur coats, a lion and a faun, and a magnificent mural crammed with characters and scenes from the Narnia books.

Among all these delights, my particular favourite was the door.

It’s the door to a wardrobe. The door to a magical kingdom. The door to a refuge. The door to a room full of stories.

I wish every school could have a library as loved as this.

Dragonsitter events in London and Winchester

I’ll be doing a couple of public events over half-term, both of them with Garry Parsons, the illustrator of the Dragonsitter.

I’ll be reading from the books and Garry will be drawing dragons, eggs and all kinds of other stuff too.

On Wednesday 30 October, we’ll be at the Wessex Children’s Book Festival in Winchester. It’s at the Discovery Centre at 2.30. Full details here.

On Thursday 31 October, we’ll be in London – we’re at the Storystock Festival at the Bush Theatre. That event is at 2.30 too. Details here.

Please come along if you can – these events are great fun.

And here’s the cover of the new Dragonsitter book, which is published this month: