Mountains to Seas and Pupil Librarians

I have got sooo behind with my blog posts – and there’s so much to report, too! First off, the Pupil Library Assistant of the Year Award, which was held at the House of Commons two weeks ago. A really lovely, uplifting experience, reminding us just how many young people are dedicated, enthusiastic and encouraging readers. There were five finalists, and each had proven themselves imaginative and committed to their school libraries. The eventual winner was Vicky Langford, but the judging committee said it was very, very hard to choose, so congratulations were due to all the finalists.

Group photo with all the finalists, their school librarians and a host of authors who turned up to support!
Caught in the act of taking a selfie!
Lydia Syson and I talked to Kevin Crossley-Holland
After the ceremony, the authors signed copies of their books, which were given to each of the finalists – what a goody bag to take away!!

Then last week, I flew off to the wonderful Mountains to Sea Festival in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland. I had two panel events on the same day, both focusing on mystery and adventure, and I loved every minute of my visit.

On the evening I arrived, I took a bracing walk to the end of the East Pier
It has a little stubby lighthouse on the end
L-R Robin Stevens, Katherine Woodfine and me, first evening dinner
The next morning was blowing a gale and so we all piled in to help with the books! L-R me, Sarah Webb, Katherine Woodfine and Eoin Colfer
Line up for first panel event: Katherine, Robin, me, Dave Rudden
I was probably saying something here about the need for the protagonist of any story to change along the way – that they need to be different in some way by the end than they were in the beginning. Otherwise, what’s the point of the story?
At the end of the first panel, we challenged Dave to fit as many pens into his beard as possible. He managed six!
The stunning third floor (children’s) of the new Dun Laoghaire library, with huge picture window looking out over the harbour.
Second panel, with Jonathan Stroud replacing Dave. Grainne Clear chaired both events beautifully.
At dinner on the second evening, I sat next to our lovely Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell, and admired his gold Blue Peter badge.
Great camaraderie, and we were so well looked after by Sarah Webb and the festival people. I didn’t want to come home!

On the way home, still brimming with joy, I got an email from one of my editors saying the sample and synopsis I’d sent the previous week (for a book that’s under contract already) wasn’t appealing to them, and could I either rework it or write something else entirely?

So that brought me back down to earth with a bump 😉 One must never forget, in creative work, that one can be up and then down very quickly. So much of what succeeds is dependent on other people, it can sting a bit (or quite a lot) when our creative efforts are rejected.

Still, after a very productive phone call with the editor a few days later, I think I have a new direction for the book, and so I feel more positive about it again now. Onwards!

Many thanks to all those people whose photos I have used above! I did ask at the time but now can’t remember who took which ones! That’ll teach me to get behind on my blogging 😉

(PS. Dun Laoghaire, for those of you who were wondering, is pronounced Dun Leary.)

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