Home > Uncategorized > For the last two weeks I have been mostly…

For the last two weeks I have been mostly…

…hanging about the Edinburgh Book Festival.  It was the best book festival ever for me, for a number of reasons.  I went to some fabulous sessions with inspiring and intelligent authors – and my own book, The Wishcatchers, was on sale in the bookshop!  It was quite fun to check the shelves and see how the stock was changing day to day.  I’ve no idea how many were actually sold, but I know there were definitely less on the last day than at the beginning.  Despite lurking, though, I never actually caught someone in the act of buying.

The events I’ve been to have made me do a lot of thinking, largely about writing and my head is whirling with ideas and questions.  It has been a hugely stimulating experience all round.

I’ve already said how much I enjoyed the Elen Caldecott session, but here are some more of my highlights.  Liz Kessler’s session, to quote Liz herself, was ” a bit bonkers”.  I found a friend and myself reassuring her in the signing queue that bonkers was good!  She had a great box of tricks, stuffed with items to stimulate anecdotes and advice.  I loved the poems by her eight year old self and her list of things which make you a writer – the statutory addictions to tea and chocolate made me sure that I fit the bill.  My daughter was very taken with the school reports which were full of comments about the teenage Liz not paying attention and being disruptive.  (I hope this hasn’t given her any ideas.)

Lari Don was brilliant as ever, engaging the audience in a masterful storytelling session and then making them think up their own goodies and baddies.  I wonder if she’ll steal any of the quite wonderful ideas for one of her books…  She even managed to make us all feel knowledgeable as we collectively had an impressive recall of myths and legends.  I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who left the session inspired to write my own adventure featuring goodies and baddies.

I could have listened to David Almond forever.  His love for and constant astonishment at the world around us was infectious.  And it was fascinating to hear him talking again and again about “finding” – at various points he mentioned finding characters, finding language, finding images, finding stories – as if all we have to do is look.  And perhaps it is.  Although to produce books as beautiful as his, the “finding” stage has to be followed by a lot of careful crafting.

I feel quite sad and even a little bereft now that the Book Festival is over.  I’m so lucky to have it on my doorstep and be able to pop in and out on an almost daily basis.  Now, I need to get my feet back on the ground (or rather my posterior in my chair) and get writing again.

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  1. September 1, 2011 at 9:19 am

    Thanks so much for your kind words about my session! I really enjoyed it too, especially as it was the first time I’d told that myth about the Hindu demon and the ten-armed goddess. I wonder if you could all see how relieved I was when I remembered all ten of the weapons she carried! I had a fun book festival too – my top authors were Malorie Blackman, Eoin Colfer and the wonderful Neil Gaiman. And don’t worry, Carol, if you don’t catch people in the act of buying your books. It can be quite awkward if you do. I saw an elderly lady with a copy of my Tam O’Shanter in her hand, and I blurted out “oh, do you want me to sign that?” and I think I gave her a bit of a fright. Now let’s both go and write books to tell readers about in Charlotte Square next year!

  2. September 1, 2011 at 10:39 am

    I have to confess that I was relieved when you got to ten! Still thinking about the conch shell and the lotus flower and what they could be used for…blowing the shell to summon help? some kind of lotus flower poisoning?

  3. September 1, 2011 at 10:45 am

    How to defeat a monster with a conch shell and a lotus flower? It’s an idea for a book! Which of us should write it? Or should we take one each? Mind you, I know a way to defeat a dragon with a sheepskin, and a way to defeat a sea monster with a glowing peat, so it’s possible to use anything, if you build the plot right!

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