Friday 20 October 2017

Meet the Author

"Did you really write this book?"
I love it when children ask me that, not because it makes me feel good about myself (well, OK, maybe that's a little bit of the reason) but mainly because it means that they're learning to appreciate books. They're realising that books don't just appear as if by magic and that writing can be fun, extremely satisfying and done by ordinary people like myself.

This week I went along to Leicester Cathedral for a Meet the Author session. For those who are not familiar with Leicester Cathedral, it's where Richard III has been finally laid to rest. Directly opposite the Cathedral is the Richard III Visitors' Centre. This is Leicester's half term holiday week. (I know! The rest of country are about to have theirs but Leicester's holidays have been different for many years.) Anyway, during this half term week the area has seen a steady stream of visitors, young, old and all ages in-between.

On Wednesday, I spent a most enjoyable morning chatting with visitors, signing books and helping the Cathedral staff cut out coloured paper shapes so that visiting children could make a Tudor Rose. The children made some amazing Tudor Roses and I had some fascinating discussions with parents, grandparents and, in one case, great-grandparents whose great granddaughter knew the route round the Visitors Centre and Cathedral so well she was leading them.
"Is it lunchtime yet?" asked a weary great granddad.

A big thanks to Andy Heafford from the Leicester Cathedral for organising the morning and I have a momento of the occasion, a lovely photograph taken by a member of staff showing me signing a book for the Richard III Visitors' Centre.

Saturday 7 October 2017

A 'Beyond Busy' Week

Sometimes weeks are beyond busy. Those kinds of weeks slay me and have me grabbing a duvet day before I can face any more. Today is that duvet day. I’m sneezing and coughing and the activities of the week are rolling round in my head so I thought it might help to share them with you now.

On Monday it was the first day of my second year at University studying for my MA in Creative Writing. The first year was very much theory based. This year is all about work-shopping our writing. I hit the ground running. We had to post up a poem onto Blackboard, the dedicated website, by Thursday teatime. No problem, you might think but…

Leicester is celebrating an Everybody’s Reading Festival this week so I was part of a poetry-reading group with the Soundswrite Poetry Group one evening and I was on a panel of writers at The Leicester Writers’ Club talking about using social media to reach readers on another evening. Still no problem, you might be thinking but…

This week we are celebrating the Jewish Festival of Succot. It’s a bit like a harvest festival. Outdoor booths or huts, called Succahs, are built with rough frames and lots of greenery and branches covering them. You’re meant to eat out there. It’s been rather a wet week but at least I managed some Kiddush wine and honey cake in the one at the Synagogue.

I then settled down to finish my poem and post it up but remember this has been a week that I describe above as ‘beyond busy’ so you won’t be surprised to hear that Blackboard denied me access, refused to accept my password, told me I was illegal. I know that I’m not illegal and I told the technical support desk as much over the phone.

It’s all sorted now and I’m tucked up on the settee, reading a book called ‘You Can’t Make This Stuff Up’ by Lee Gutkind. It’s all about creative non-fiction and it’s going to help me with my dissertation about which you will definitely be hearing more during the year and that’s a promise.