Sunday, October 24, 2010

Crystal Palace Children's Festival - 23rd October

It was pure fluke that I got to go to this event yesterday.  I was meant to be around town with a good friend of mine but she rang me and cried off with the dreaded lurgy.  So Mark and I flung on some clothes and headed up the road (literally 2 minute drive) to hang out with a bunch of utterly amazing guys and girls who brought the whole festival together.

The books I took with to get signed
Naturally I took all the books I could find by attending authors and got them all signed.  I also bought a truckload more - mostly picture books for me and my god-daughters.   Well, mostly for me, to be honest!

The books I bought and had signed

The one display of books for older readers. 

Sarah McIntyre looking very pleased after her talk 

The Stripey Horse and his friends are drawn by creator Karen Wall whilst Jim Helmore chatted to the kids about their books.

Loot bag! I now own one!

The smalls in the audience utterly captivated by the storytellers. 

Guy Bass chatting about Secret Santa - Agent of XMAS

Mark and I sat in on Guy Bass's talk about Christmas and his new book I received from Stripes to review.  I am so glad we did - I was rocking with laughter at his antics.  Incredibly funny, Guy instantly struck a rapport with his young audience.  Now, when I read Secret Santa for review, I know exactly how the voices are supposed to sound so I'll be able to read it in the exact tone.

After Guy's talk, there was a lunch break.  Mark and I had a quick bite to eat and also hung around the nearly Pet Shop and checked out some lovely reptiles. 

So pretty!
Albino reptile whose long name I completely forget but who is exceedingly expensive but very pretty.

We next headed for the library to sit in on the Horror Talk hosted by some members of the Chainsaw Gang: Sarwat Chadda, Alex Bell, Sam Enthoven, Steve Feasey, Jon Mayhew& Alexander Gordon Smith.  

The talk was very informal - everyone introduced themselves and the books they had written, also mentioning the long / short road to their eventual publication.  There was an interesting mix of adults / kids / teens in the audience.  Because things were so informal, it was really like sitting in on a long rambling chat about writing and getting published with some of your mates.  Questions came spontaneously from the audience and the conversation flowed easily.  I think this may have been the first time some of the Chainsaw Gang actually appeared together and I have to say, they all really ran with each other's comments, filling it on and expanding on it with their own insights and things.  The core topics really were: know what you want to write - fill the book with stuff that interests you and remember everything comes back to the characters, but also do your research when you want to send your writing out.  Find out who represents (agents) the books you write and what publishing house accepts unsolicited manuscripts for the genre you're writing in.   It was great seeing some of the coolest people in the industry chatting about something they love so much.  It made a big impact on quite a few of the audience. 

Alexander Gordon Smith showing off some props from his Lockdown novels. 

Sam Enthoven chatting about his novels Crawlers, The Black Tattoo and Tim: Defender of the Earth. 

Jon Mayhew giving us some lip about Mortlock, his debut novel from Bloomsbury

Steve Feasey striking a thoughtful post during the proceedings. 

Sarwat Chadda contemplating how to make the Chainsaw Gang even scarier.  

Final picture - Alex Millway signing one of his Yeti books whilst his daughter looks on.

This is my second Crystal Palace Children's Festival I attended and I have to say that the event has grown.  Alex Millway, the owners of Bookseller Crow on the Hill, and all the other authors and attendees and helpers, including South Norwood Public Library, deserve a massive thank you for hosting these fantastic events.  There were comic book workshops and Manga workshops which I didn't get the chance to attend but all I can say is, from the attendance and the enthusiasm of those taking part, the day was a great success.  I am incredibly proud of this small festival as it has so many legs it will no doubt grow into a larger festival quite soon.  I had a wonderful time, getting to listen to some great storytellers read from their books.  It was also so much fun watching the smalls get involved with the storytelling.  The parents too, seemed to have a great time.  Their patience was commendable and I really do hope that yesterday created a whole new batch of eager readers and storytellers.

A big thank you to all the organisers and I can't wait for the 2011 event.  Or is that too soon to talk about it?


Nikki - Notes of Life said...

Sounds like quite a day and look at all those books!

I really must try to make it to an event like this... The problem is that living in Mid Wales means I have to plan ahead and travel!

Ynysawdre Elderly Residents Association said...

Sounds like a fantastic day.

Hi Nikki-ann I too am from Wales we should get together :D