What can I say? After five months of planning and a frantic final week, the book festival came and went and was a resounding success.
The art and writing workshops in the library were fully booked, with children drawing some brilliant monsters and comics. One of the visitors has already posted their creations online here, and if you want to see what a Ninja Pie looks like, click that link now!
Fiona, Katie, Kathryn, Ben, Emily and all the staff at the library did a fantastic job of managing it all, so thanks goes out to them. And of course, all the artists and writers who ran the workshops deserve a special thank you. Tom Percival, Salvatore Rubbino, Sarah Horne, Alexander Gordon Smith, Emma Vieceli, Kate Brown, Viv Schwarz, Garen Ewing, David O’Connell, Gary Northfield, Paul Duffield and Sarah McIntyre. We’ve already received a lot of excellent feedback and it would seem that all the people taking part had a thoroughly great time.
Of course, we also had readings throughout the day in the Bookseller Crow, and it was lovely to see the effect that a writer reading aloud can have on a group. Everyone was uniformly excellent, and I learnt such a lot from watching these talented folk. Sue Eves started the day with her terrific puppet Woofy, who had us all laughing. She was followed by Viv Schwarz, Guy Bass and Sarah Horne.
The afternoon started off with me and a Dum Dum Mouse, and continued with the excellent Sam Enthoven, Alexander Gordon Smith and Sarwat Chadda, who closed the proceedings in fine form.
The best part of the day for me was seeing children watch a number of authors who they didn’t know, and ultimately buy their books at the end. I’d always hoped that people might hang around, see something new and like it, and they did. That was the atmosphere I’d always wanted to create, and with the help of Jon and Justine at the bookshop – and of course, James with his double deck of Gramophones – I think we pulled it off.
And last but not least, there was the exhibition in Smash Bang Wallop. Thanks to Andy and Liz for their help. The exhibition initially set me going on this festival adventure and without that I’d never have done a thing. It was a joy seeing such great artwork all together.
With all the support of the publishers – Faber & Faber, Walker Books, Puffin, and of course Stripes, who really got into the spirit of things – it was a truly great day to remember. Roll on next year!