November Roundup

November has been a little quieter in terms of Cogheart events, as I have got a massive pile of editing on Book 2 – Moonlocket – to get through. In fact I should be doing those edits right NOW, but instead I am writing this blogpost. So anyway, I shall make it a quick one! Although there weren’t many Cogheart specific events, there were quite a few other thing going on in November…

On Saturday the Fifth of November, I joined some awesome authors, librarians and teachers organised by Lucy Ivision, who were taking part in the March to Save Libraries and Culture. The austerity cuts in this country have seen the closure of hundreds of libraries and the axing of funding for many public arts bodies, which is a travesty. Art is a necessity not a luxury, libraries especially are a gateway to imagination, learning and creativity. To have a public space that’s free to visit, where you can browse books, do you homework, use the internet, join groups, get reading recommendations. It’s an essential public service for the future of education and creativity, and worth fighting for.

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In fact, John Bird, who spoke at the rally, expertly sums up the value of libraries to our society in his letter to the Guardian the same week…

The following Saturday I was at a very different event: Steampunks in Space, at the National Space Museum in Leicster. In the morning I did a children’s zoetrope animation workshop and after that there was a Q and A and reading from Cogheart and in the afternoon we did a signing and sold a few books. It was the first steampunk festival I have been to, and a fantastic day out. A great opportunity to meet Steampunk aficionados, all in amazing home-made outfits, and each with a story about the outfit and character that they’d created. They were such an amazing creative bunch, so I am hoping to do a couple more Steampunk events next year. Here are a few of my favourite pictures from the day…

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Then, near the end of the month, there was the SCBWI conference weekend. SCBWI, is the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and every year they put on a conference weekend filled with amazing workshops and keynote speakers. This year I got to hear talks by David Almond, Leigh Hodgkinson – an old friend – and Sarah Davies from the Greenhouse agency. I also went to a workshop on Writing Series Fiction, How to put together content around your book for schools.

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The stand out event of the weekend for me a fantabulously fun hands-on picture book workshop with Viv Schwarz, where we created characters and picture books using a method similar to a big group version of consequences. I wish I had a bit more time to write about the conference, the keynotes and Viv’s talk in particular, but that’s a whole other post!

On the Saturday evening there’s the mass book launch where everyone dresses up as a book character, and if you have a book published you get to go onstage with the rest of the published SCBWI authors, This year – my third in attendance – I went as Harry Potter, and got to do this with Cogheart. It even appeared with all the other SCBWI authors on the mass book launch cake, which looked amazing and tasted rather sugary. Anyway here are some Potter pictures from the party…

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