Fun Family weekend at Chiplitfest 2015

My six-year-old and I binged on author events at the weekend. OK, so I had my own agenda – I was already friends with all three of the authors we went to see – but having your own child to take along is a really good excuse!

On the Saturday morning, we were treated to John Dougherty, of whom Jemima is already a fan. His Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face books have had us all giggling at many a bedtime – if you haven’t come across them yet, you’re in for a real treat!

John sang the Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face Theme Song (and told all the kids that every book has a theme song and that they should DEMAND other authors sing a song about their book at their own events – yeah, thanks for that, John!!):

John rocks it out
John rocks it out

and he read from the latest book, The Evilness of Pizza (in which Jemima has a ‘puff’ – a quote from her saying how much she liked the book – which has MADE HER YEAR):

Jemima actually fell off her chair laughing. She did it on purpose, of course, but his books really ARE that funny.
Jemima actually fell off her chair laughing. She did it on purpose, of course, but his books really ARE that funny.

And then after John we took part in a drawing workshop with Neill Cameron, who’s a fantastic artist and who works on the awesome Pirate of Pangaea comic strip with Dan Hartwell for the Phoenix Comic:

'What should we put on this pirate's shoulder?'  'A SQUIRREL!' 'A - what? A squirrel? Er...OK, then!'
‘What should we put on this pirate’s shoulder?’
‘A SQUIRREL!’
‘A – what? A squirrel? Er…OK, then!’

Neill taught us how to draw pirates and dinosaurs and then encouraged us to think of ways in which they could be combined: dinosaurs vs pirates? Dinosaurs team up with pirates to fight crime? Pirates travel back in time to meet dinosaurs? It was a really inspirational workshop and Jemima had a wonderful time:

Two-headed dinosaur
Two-headed dinosaur
Dinosaur and pirate in love!
Dinosaur and pirate in love!

On the Sunday, we went back for a Completely Cassidy Pyjama Party with Tamsyn Murray, which was LOTS of fun. Tamsyn’s first book in this brand new series is about Cassidy Bond who is desperate to find her ‘talent’. One of Tamsyn’s talents is that she can lick her own elbow. I kid you not! She warmed us all up to see if any of us could do it too:

You have to do lots of stretches before you attempt to lick your elbow
You have to do lots of stretches before you attempt to lick your elbow

I confess here and now that I cannot lick my own elbow (and nor could anyone else in the audience). However, had Tamsyn asked us to put our own toes in our mouths, I could have done that! Tamsyn’s event was really interactive, getting kids up on stage to try out new talents like plate-spinning and balloon modelling.

The Dismount. Don't try this at home, kids...
The Dismount. Don’t try this at home, kids…
Jemima gets to try her hand at balloon modelling
Jemima gets to try her hand at balloon modelling

And then we all had a go at singing ‘Let It Go’ from Frozen, and Tamsyn demonstrated her own impressive vocal range with an operatic scale that practically blew the front row over!

Jemima particularly appreciated the goody bag of sweets that was handed out at this event (note to self: bribe audience members with sweets) and came out chuffed to bits that she’d made a poodle from a balloon ALL BY HERSELF. A new career beckons, perhaps…

In between the children’s events, I went to a party to celebrate a photographic exhibition specially commissioned for the festival on the theme of ‘Writers, Not Writing’. I’d had my photo taken back in January, at my piano with a sheaf of music:

Photo by Jane Stillwell
Photo by Jane Stillwell

There were photos of writers with dogs, cats, playing golf, trying on hats or drinking gin and tonics (darn! Should have had my photo taken with a lot of chocolate!) and I loved Linda Newbery’s stone-carving photo. So interesting to see people’s other hobbies.

And this week I’m back at my computer, trying to pull a Brand New Shiny Idea into shape. I’m on the lookout for a new literary agent (after mine left the agency in February, sob!) and so I’m trying to put together some new work that I can submit to agents. I have an idea I absolutely love, but it needs to be in tip-top shape before I send it out. And I’m also working on something very unusual and special for the Wychwood Festival this year – it’s slightly scary and utterly bonkers and should be enormous fun! Watch this space!

Click on any of the book titles below to order from Amazon

stinkbomb3 completely cassidy

PiratesOfPangaea

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