Monday, 30 March 2009

John Fardell: Lucky Friday the 13th

John Fardell was with us on Friday 13th March for the launch of his new book. Here he blogs about how it was for him:

I had a fun time at the Scottish Book Trust doing a launch event for my new book, The Secret of the Black Moon Moth, which was attended by groups from three different primary schools.

I talked a bit about my new book, and the old ones, and showed some of the illustrations projected on a screen. Mostly, though, I did what I generally do at my author events, and got the children to make up a story of their own through building up pictures on a flipchart (as you can see in the photo above).

The chidren all joined in and came up with a fantastic story, full of inventive ideas and great action pictures. And they had some interesting questions in the Q and A section at the end of the event. You can see more pictures in a slideshow here.

It was a good day to be at the Scottish Book Trust as, for Red Nose Day, they'd decided to do something yummy for money and had all brought in home baking. I don't think the visiting school children were actually let in on the secret that certain rooms in the building were piled high with cakes and biscuits, but I'm told that the Book Trust staff had managed to polish off the lot by the end of the day anyway without any outside help (apart from mine).

This came at the end of a busy two weeks for me, with various author visits to Montrose, Brechin, Arbroath, Leith, Ratho, Livingson, Mid Calder, Glasgow and Linlithgow, and a wee launch party that my publisher, Faber and Faber, kindly held for the new book in the West End Waterstones on Edinburgh's Princes Street. All a lot of fun.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Catherine Rayner: The Lesser Known Dragon Creator

To celebrate the launch of Catherine Rayner's beautiful new book, Sylvia and Bird, we invited her to come along to Scottish Book Trust HQ to talk to a few imaginative 5 year-olds. Here are Catherine's thoughts...

The most exciting thing for me about talking to children about my new book Sylvia and Bird (a story about a dragon and a bird!) is that you get to ask the audience about their own pet dragons (the audience was a highly imaginative bunch of 5 year olds). They have teacher eating dragons, dragons with long legs, some that blow purple smoke, pocket sized dragons and there was a dragon called Bernard who sleeps in ‘the living room and only eats soup’. Brilliant! They were a very inspiring bunch! It’s lovely to hear their imaginations whirring away!

After I read ‘Sylvia and bird’ to the children we created and I drew our very own dragon (just because one can!) we came up with a dragon that can be described as follows:
The lesser known Sharptoothedbigbelliedhugefootedlongclaweddangleyleggedredwingedscaley Dragon!

The children were brilliant – it was so lovely to see so many little smiles on a Monday morning!

If you would like to find out more about Catherine or her lovely artwork you can drop in on her website.
Thank you very much Catherine, we will have even more author blogs for you next week, so do keep checking in!

Friday, 13 March 2009

Oisin McGann: The Twisting Tour of Scotland

We were recently on tour with Ancient Appetites author Oisin McGann. Here, from the man himself, is how it went down...

Clinging to our seats in the Bookmobile, Jasmine, Chris and I began our twisting, weaving drive on our Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour. With the car as our pen nib, we drew a belt of Celtic knotwork through the roundabout jungle between Edinburgh and Glasgow. At times, we even dared to defy the inflexible, unadventurous sat-nav (to hell with its flashing question mark!).

Fuelled by apples and stovies, neeps and tatties, we scribbled paths through Blantyre, East Kilbride, Rutherglen, Falkirk, Bo’ness, Kilsyth, Wishaw and Motherwell. Wherever teenagers were educated within reach of an orbital bypass, they found the Bookmobile catapulting itself into their car parks.

Seeking food and shelter at SBT’s secret headquarters, we met under the cloak of darkness with teachers and librarians. We sought the favour of the Scottish publishing clans, the Florises, the Bright Reds, the Stridents, the Bookstarts and the Barrington Stokes. They gave their blessings to our mission.

Allowing ourselves to be caught briefly on GMTV (right) for World Book Day, and again for North Lanarkshire Radio, we kept moving, kept ducking and diving, kept finding those schools. Alarmed teachers spread word about an Irishman who shouted at their students, who hurled abuse at them and made clumsy attempts to mimic their speech. Like some Mao Tse MacTung, he waved a notebook at them. A snowball assault failed to shut him up.

On we went. No wind, nor rain, nor snow, nor dual carriageway pile-up could stop the Bookmobile’s twisting progress, until it came to a spinning, sprawling halt in Edinburgh, disgorging its dazed passengers.
The Bookmobile fell silent. The sat-nav went dark. And we looked back over the Scottish landscape at what we had achieved, and we saw that it was beast, nay, it was yaldy – some might even say . . . minted. Our work was done.

Friday, 6 March 2009

World Book Day: what did you do?

It was World Book Day this week, so we asked a few top authors to tell us what they got up to on the day...

My World Book Day began with a morning session in Holyrood Secondary, Glasgow - their first author visit in years. I spoke to some lovely S2s. The afternoon was spent in Knightswood Primary School, Glasgow on the invitation of Eileen from Lost in Fiction Bookshop, Byres Rd, Glasgow. The entire school was celebrating World Book Day on a massive scale, with pupils and all the teachers in fancy dress, free coffee from Starbucks, competitions, and a head teacher disguised as Captain Hook. The enthusiasm for books and reading was as delicious as the cup cakes on sale. I spoke to all the P6 and P7 pupils about about my favourite book and told them how my snake escaped. It was a BRAW WBD indeed!

Annemarie Allan
To Musselburgh Burgh Primary to talk to two classes about Breaker, my new book. The children were delighted to hear about a story that takes place in North Berwick, so close to where they live. Not only are writers real people, but they write about real places. World Book day is not only international – it is local too! Then a short question and answer session with another class about my previous book, Hox. What they most particularly wanted to know was when I was going to write the sequel, so we spent an interesting ten minutes talking about that. I left them with the suggestion that they might like to write the sequel themselves and I am looking forward immensely to finding out what happened to my characters after the last page of the book.

K. M. Grant
On World Book Day, I will be in Rome, presenting a book to the Vatican. Not one of mine! In 1550, a beautiful book was created for Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, grandson of Pope Paul III. Popes were quite naughty in those days, hence the grandchildren. The book was nine years in the making and illuminated with jewel-like pictures by a brilliant artist called Giulio Clovio. Eventually the book became known as the Towneley Lectionary, and before I married, I was a Towneley. A stunning new facsimile (a facsimile is an exact copy) edition has been produced and the publishers thought it would be nice if my father attended the Vatican presentation. He asked if I could go too. It is my most unusual World Book Day visit to date. Not sure if I'll see the present pope, but am hoping at least to catch a glimpse of his cat...

John and Sandra from Metaphrog
On World Book Day, we were hard at work on our graphic novel in progess, Louis - Night Salad, scripting, pencilling and painting, as well as cleaning up some pages of line art for a short story. Finally, we prepared material for conducting a visual storytelling and comic workshop at Perth High School the following day.

So that's a little bit about what some of our writerly friends got up to. Now we want to know what you did! Tell us about your World Book Day by adding a comment or drop us an email: