The Wokingham Children's Book Festival

I met a boy and a bear while signing books at the Wokingham Children's Book Fest.
Thanks to Let Them Eat Books for the photo!

I presented Is It a Mermaid session at last weekend's Wokingham Children's Book Festival.

Sadly, I don't usually get to run into author friends appearing at the same festivals and this one had quite a few of on the programme – Fiona Barker, Cath Howe, Tony Bradman, Chitra Soundar, Layn Marlow and others. But they were performing at other times. We were like ships that passed in the night.

I did run into this lot though as I was leaving in my big red coat:

Louie Stowell (The Dragon in the Library), Jenny MacLachlan (The Land of Roar), Lane Marlow (You Make Me Smile) and me!

Pleased to meet organizer Elizabeth McDonald. Festivals take a lot of emailing back and forth, and Elizabeth was a saint.

All authors were greeted with custom cupcakes skillfully created by Claire Groves.


... here are mine!

Cupcakes by Claire Groves

I was lucky enough to arrive on time to attend Blast Off Into the Big Beyond with poet and picture book author James Carter, whose easy delivery, with a bit of  had the smiling audience spouting lines of poetry. What a delight!
Thanks to Let Them Eat Books for this photo catching James playing his uke to a young fan.

I also got to meet bearded A. F. Harrold for the first time – A is for Ashley. Known for his novels like The Imaginary, illustrated by Emily Gravett. At this festival, he was featuring on the younger stream of events, talking about his poetry rather than his novels. I realised very quickly that his poetry readings would make brilliant videos – here's a sample from my Instagram feed:


I love doing my Mermaid act because it's a chance for me to draw and I love drawing! The festival provided the children with clipboards and paper so the children could draw as I performed. At the end, a wee girl came up to me with this picture!


Photo: Wokingham Children's Book Festival

Photo: Wokingham Children's Book Festival

Huge congratulations to the Wokingham Festival team who made everything ran like clockwork, at the same time making sure we authors had a great time!



It was my last festival of the author season and I have to confess, I am looking forward to some downtime. Except of course I'm speaking at the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators conference on the first weekend of November. It's what it says on the tin, for writers and illustrators of children's books. Indeed, Wokingham's Elizabeth McDonald will be there to talk about what librarians want from school visits!  I'm doing a day of demonstrating online tools, gadgets and promotion and platform-building techniques for authors.

See you there?

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