Doing a joint event at Hay festival on the 2nd of June with Kiran Millwood Hargrave, author of Girl of Ink and Stars was definitely one of the highlights of my year. The night I arrive, I went out for cocktails with Kiran and her husband and we talk about books. The next day we discover our event has sold out, and we have been moved to a bigger venue; the starlight tent with a star-studded ceiling! It seems appropriate for Kiran’s book and a little for mine.
Afterwards I get to hang out at the festival. I saw some inspirational talks, bumped into loads of lovely MG and YA writers I know, Jo Cotterill, Abi Longstaff, Sarah Crossan, Lisa Heathfield and Juno Dawson, and witnessed Patrice Lawrence winning the YA bookprize for the awesome Orangeboy. Then, the next day I wandered round the intriguing bookshops in town – there are at least 30, goodness knows how they all keep going – and I bought far too many books! It was a fabulous couple of days.
Here we are at the HAY30 sign before our event:
Hanging out in the green room with Jo Cotterill and Patrice with her award:
With Kiran and Jo Cotterill – a riot of book themed patterns!
Patrice Lawrence after winning the YA book prize for Orangeboy
The main event, Girl of Ink and Stars and Cogheart:
I’m delighted to announce that Cogheart has been nominated for the Waterstones Book Prize 2017 in the Children’s book prize category. It’s such an honour to be on the shortlist, along with these five other fabulous books. Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk, Beetle Boy by MG Leonard, Time Travelling With a Hamster by Ross Welford, The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Captain Pug by Laura James. I’m especially pleased to be on the list with my author-buddies M G Leonard and Kiran Millwood Hargrave. The awards ceremony takes place on the 30th of March, really looking forward to it and the chance to meet the rest of the nominees.
I loved this book and its beautiful poetic writing. It’s a fantastic island setting, where you can practically feel the muggy tropical heat, and where local folk tales and superstitions are bubbling to the surface once more. I loved the central friendship between the narrator Isabelle and her friend Lupe both come across as strong hearted individuals. I loved how they work together in so many scenes and in their own way both become the rescuers and heroes of the story. The book made me think of the Earthsea quartet in some parts but has a strong flavour of South American magic realist literature also and a classic fairytale feel. Overall an exciting and lyrical adventure with two strong girls at its centre.