Thursday, 5 March 2020

Happy World Book Day!

Now in its 23rd year, World Book Day’s aim is to give each child and young person a book of their own so they can develop a love of reading.

All across the land millions of book tokens will be distributed by the charity to exchange for one of ten exclusive, new and completely free books. Schools that participate have resource packs full of ideas and activities for the day, and children are encouraged to dress up as a favourite book character. See how many Harry Potters or Katniss Everdeens you spot walking to their schools today!

Happy World Book Day!

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

WriteOnCon kidlit writing conference – 21st-23rd February 2020

This weekend, I’m attending a kidlit writing conference, and the beauty of it is that I don’t even need to leave the comfort of my own home! WriteOnCon is an annual online conference split over an event-packed three days. There are a mix of blog posts, Q&A sessions, workshops, discussions and pitch events all geared towards kidlit writers (anyone can attend, though, as a lot of advice will be universal). There’s still time to register, and there are different tiers of attendance, depending on your requirements. This year, I’ve gone for Extended Admission, which gives me access to the full material for a month after the conference has ended – plenty of time to catch up on events I may have missed during the conference itself (there are only so many hours in the weekend, after all!)

The forums are up and running, and you can polish your Twitter pitches, queries and the first 500 words of your manuscript with the aid of fellow writers. There’s even a ‘Supers’ district where agents, editors and professional writers might drop by to give feedback. I’ve earmarked several events in the schedule I definitely want to attend, and I’ve also thrown my hat into the ring for feedback on my query in one of the live pitching events.

It’s going to be a helpful (but intense!) weekend – hope to ‘see’ you there!

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

How many books did I read in 2019?

Bude Library
Happy New Year, and Happy New Decade!

You know what this means? Yup, it's time for my annual round-up.

I didn't read as many books in 2019 as in previous years, but once again I've concentrated on clearing my TBR pile. Several books in this pile were huge door stoppers - which easily count as three books each, right?! I also added a new library to my collection - Bude Library in Cornwall.

So, how many books did I read in 2019? I read 1 library book, did 4 beta reads, read 36 e-books, and 39 physical books, bringing my total to a respectable 80. I'm hoping I'll hit the dizzying heights of triple figures this coming year.

How about you? How many books did you read in 2019?

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Quest to visit Tintagel Castle

Towards the end of this summer, I had the great delight of going to Cornwall on holiday. I wasn't staying that far from Tintagel Castle, so I made it a quest one day to visit the picturesque site associated with the legendary King Arthur.

Friday, 4 October 2019

Bath Children's Literature Festival 2019 - Lucy Strange

Lucy Strange
Writing Middle Grade with Lucy Strange

I spent a very enjoyable afternoon earlier this week getting tips on writing from author Lucy Strange at the Guildhouse, Bath as part of the Bath Children's Literature Festival 2019.

The masterclass session gave our group of twenty plus writers (at varying stages on their writing journeys) a chance to experiment with a mood board, listen to some mood music and chat with Lucy when she visited our tables during the breaks between topics.

Lucy's informative PowerPoint presentation gave advice on synopses, chapters, characters, editing and titles, amongst other things.

Useful things I learned: a synopsis doesn't have to be in chronological order; you can get grants for writing; don't let other people read your writing whilst it is trying to grow; you'll probably experience the five stages of grief (denial, anger, etc) when you receive feedback on your writing, so let it sit for a few days before you go back to it; it's not about us, the writers, but about the readers; if you can't come to the writing, let the writing come to you.

Afterwards, Lucy signed copies of her books, but there were no more copies of the one I wanted at the event, so I made a mad dash to Waterstones to buy Our Castle By The Sea and returned in time for Lucy to sign my copy (so my niece and nephews aren't the only ones to get autographed books at this festival!).

Mood board


Thursday, 3 October 2019

Meeting Bristol City Poet Vanessa Kisuule

Vanessa Kisuule
Today, I had the great pleasure of meeting poet Vanessa Kisuule when she held a pop up residency at Fishponds Library for the day. We chatted about poetry and writing, and Vanessa very kindly gave me a poem from one of several she had on her table.

I discovered that Vanessa is only the second person to have been given the role of Bristol City Poet, which she will hold until summer 2020, and she'll be holding more pop up residencies at other Bristol libraries over the next few months. Check out her website to see if she'll be coming to your area soon!

Begin by Brendan Kennelly