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1. ireland: mountains to sea book festival 2015

I used to think Dun Laoghaire in Ireland was pronounced 'dun leg hair', but in fact, you say it 'dun leery'. And that's where I went this weekend for Mountains to Sea Book Festival, along with a gorgeous gaggle of other writers, illustrators and book people, including this gang here: Oxford Story Museum's Tom Donegan, writer Judi Curtin, fellow space cadet and co-author Philip Reeve and writer Steve Cole:

But I'm so madly busy working on Pugs of the Frozen North right now (my upcoming book with Philip Reeve), that Philip kindly offered to do the blogging for me! So pop over to his blog for ALL OF THE NEWS:

***Keep reading Philip's blog here!***

Huge thanks to organiser and writer Sarah Webb for making everything go so smoothly! Also, big thanks to Oxfordshire Book Awards for making There's a Shark in the Bath your runner-up winner in the Picture Book category. Fab!

One more thing, journalist Fiona Noble in The Bookseller magazine just featured Pugs of the Frozen North as one of her top books to watch out for. Thanks, Fiona!

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2. comic capers at essex book festival!

So yesterday Nikki Gamble was tweeting this from the dressing rooms at Chelmsford's Cramphorn Theatre... who could these people be? (Ha ha, we were half hoping someone would draw the top part of the photo.)

And, of course, it was excellent and energetic writer Steve Cole and me, talking comics for Essex Book Festival!

Whenever I do stage events, I'm always a bit sorry that I don't get photos that I can use on my blog. But this great audience tweeted us a great selection! Here's one from @LynneWheater:

We invited people to dress up for the event and, hurrah! Some people did! Check out these great comics characters. Photo tweeted by @sarahyewman!

Steve brought a suitcase of costumes and two excellent volunteers - Heidi and Kit - came up and were transformed into superheroes, on stage and in drawings. Then Steve and I got the audience to help us turn them - Leopard Lady and Monkey Boy - into a comic strip! Photo tweeted by @DianaMayoillo:

Then we led everyone in drawing Superhamster, from Superkid, and people customised them with their own costumes and superpowers. Here's a fab one, tweeted by @LordSiBorg:

And the grand artwork finale!

Steve and I both love comics, but he gets much more excited about the superhero side of things than I do. I don't like many superhero comics, but there are so many other kinds of comics out there that I have no lack of choice! So I was particularly pleased to see Lucy dressed up as Hilda, from Luke Pearson's Hilda comics. Isn't this a great costume? We had a costume competition, and the judge picked the Doctor Who (who DID have an excellent costume, big congrats to him!), but this one was pretty awesome. Look at the hair! Check out the Hilda books if you haven't already. (He's @thatlukeperson on Twitter.) Sarah Yewman has written an excellent blog post about the day, do go have a look at it!

Check out this fab Hamster Man comic one of the kids in the audience made! So awesome to see kids making comics on the spot. I sometimes get festival people sighing when we ask for pencil and paper for everyone in the audience (it's one more thing they need to organise), but there's something really special about adults and kids not just hearing about drawing, but actually DOING it. I mean, that's really what it's all about! (So a big thanks to all the festivals who have humoured me so far with this one.) :D

Yay, Lucy and her friend brought along a couple frisky Sea Monkeys, knitted by their granny! The pattern was created by my studio mate Deadly Knitshade and you can download it free from my website if you want to make one.

Another cool thing: I got to meet the writer of our book Superkid, Claire Freedman, for the VERY FIRST TIME! She had a morning Aliens Love Underpants event, and we were able to have lunch together and talk about Superkid, being on stage, tricky-to-manage hair, all that kind of stuff. I usually work closely with my writers, so it always felt a bit odd that I hadn't met Claire, and I'm glad that it's happened at last. (Great to meet you, Claire!) She's @clairefreedman on Twitter.

Huge thanks to Steve, who was awesome to perform with. And to the fabulous Georgia Snelgrove, who organised our event for the Just Imagine story centre and Essex Book Festival! Thanks to its owner Nikki Gamble, who came to our event despite having just flown in from events in Qatar. And thanks to the Cramphorn Theatre for the use of your lovely venue, that was a fabulous afternoon!

I just had to show you the Berger & Wyse comic strip late that evening that made me spit up my tea. (Joe Berger makes children's books and comics, too; you can follow him at @_JoeBerger.)

One more thing: If you're getting today's copy of The Sunday Times, be sure to look out in The Funday Times for my Shark & Unicorn comic strip!

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3. pulling on those space boots

When the Society of Authors asked me to organise an event and let me choose Science Fiction as the theme (my last theme was comics), I had such fun pulling together this fabulous group of writers for our Worlds of Tomorrow panel. It's the first time the Society of Authors has hosted an SF event and they were very excited! And other bloggers have beat me to the write-up: check out fab blogs by writers Jeff Norton, here, and Jonathan Green, here, and if you're on Facebook, Candy Gourlay has posted a bunch of photos (many of which I have nicked for this post). To be honest, I was so caught up in hosting the event that it's all a bit of a blur now and I've forgotten most of what we said, but these bloggers took good notes.

So last Tuesday, I zipped up my space boots and joined the panel in front of a big crowd at Foyles bookshop on Charing Cross Road. Oo, I was not the only one in interesting footwear! Who could these belong to?

Photos by Candy Gourlay

...Yes, Queen of curious gadgetry and small press Kim Lakin-Smith and this year's Costa Award winner, post-apocalyptic-western writer Moira Young! Kim and Moira both have fascinating histories if you look around the Internet; here's Moira on BBC News, talking about her beginnings in comedy, tap dancing and opera, and how breaking both wrists turned her into a writer.

Photo by Candy Gourlay

Thanks to Philip Reeve for being a fabulous event host! Here you can see him lobbing good questions at the panel.

Photo by Candy Gourlay

And here I am with good chum Steve Cole, who's written a zillion books, taught me lots about doing events, and really understands how kids' minds work. (He's wearing the Jamie Smart t-shirt I gave him for his 40th birthday.)

Photo by Candy Gourlay

And some of our lovely books! It made me laugh, thinking that I could be part of an SF panel because I have a book about a princess going into space. And we pretty much stuck to talking about books for young adults, or 'Ya' books, as Philip called them. But I was chuffed to have someone come up to me later and say that she'd been hoping we'd also talk about SF in picture books, so perhaps that is a good subject for another event.

Jared Shurin and his partner Anne Perry run The Kitschies awards, and Jared was able t

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4. the pop up festival site is popping up!

So I know you've already written this weekend's Pop Up Festival into your diaries...

...and I thought you'd like a peek at how the site is coming along! Here's a map of the location, Granary Square, next to Central Saint Martins art college, and about a five-minute walk across the new build area from Kings Cross and St Pancras stations. Granary Square is a huge covered area, so rain or shine, the festival will be AWESOME.

Find out details of the day's events and our comics line-up here!
And while I'm at it, here's a peek at some of the Pop Up curators, past and present. We met up last night at a social for the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators. This is a great organisation to join if you make books, comics, do school events, etc, and want to meet other like-minded people and find out more about the industry. The events are always very serious, as I'm demonstrating here with Astrosaurs creator Steve Cole and last year's Pop Up curator (the Upside-Down House!) writer Philip Ardagh. I've just spotted a meteor falling straight toward the Young Vic bar, where we met. Run, everyone!

We like to examine our work through lots of different lenses.

Writer Candy Gourlay did such an awesome job with Pop Up last year that the team have asked her to do it again! I can't wait to see her Beanbag Cinema and Filipino-style FIESTA! Here she is, chronicling the SCBWI proceedings.

That's Jackie Marchant on the left, who's just about to launch her first book with Macmillan, I'm Dougal Trump and it's Not My Fault. We all took photos with the book looking absolutely thrilled, as I'm sure we will be when we've read it. Looks good, Jackie!

Photo by Candy Gourlay

Of course, Philip can't give a straight compliment, oh no. It pains him so.

And Candy with writer, illustrator and puppeteer extraordinaire Sue Eves (who, sadly, didn't bring along her puppet dog that evening, even though lots of people were asking).

Elissa Elwick had a very dodgy photo of her with the Ardagh beard as a wig. You can find a slightly more subdued version of the photo if you trawl her lovely blog.

Writer Steve Hartley had come down from Manchester for events and came for the drinks. We aren't quite as close as this photo might suggest...

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5. extreme modesty and a couple birthdays

A couple things: here's a new interview on Bookengine with the fab writer of our books You Can't Scare a Princess! and You Can't Eat a Princess! Gillian Rogerson!

And a couple birthday doodles, one for the legendary, high-jumping, web-throwing Steve Cole.

And the other for the exaltedly elevated and profoundly hirsute Philip Ardagh. (Just like Gillian, Ardagh is well known for his extreme modesty and he keeps very quiet about his birthdays. ...Ha ha, not: the Facebook reminders have been rolling in for at least a week.)

Oh, and since we're going for black and white here, this just made me smile:

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6. The Nat “King” Cole Show: pioneer of music television

By Ron Rodman

In this blog last month, I wrote about Dr. Billy Taylor and his pioneering work on television as an advocate for jazz. To celebrate Black History Month, it is appropriate to mention another African American musician who was a pioneer on American television: Nat King Cole, jazz pianist and vocalist, was the first African American musician to host a nationally-broadcast musical variety show in the history of television.

Publicity photo from the premiere of The Nat King Cole Show.

Nathanial Adams Coles was born in 1919 in Montgomery, Alabama. He first learned to play piano around the age of four with help from his mother, a church choir director, and by his early teens, was studying classical piano. He was drawn to the music of jazz pianist Earl “Fatha” Hines, and eventually abandoned classical for jazz, which became his lifelong passion. At 15, he dropped out of school to become a jazz pianist full-time, and developed an act with his brother Eddie for a time, which led to his first professional recordings in 1936. He later joined a national tour for the musical revue Shuffle Along, performing as a pianist.

In 1937, Cole started to put together what would become the “King Cole Trio,” the name being a play on the children’s nursery rhyme. As part of the trio, Cole expanded his own role in the group, both playing jazz piano and singing with his rich, velvety baritone voice. The trio toured extensively and finally landed on the charts in 1943 with Cole’s song, “That Ain’t Right.” His first big hit the following year was “Straighten Up and Fly Right,” a song reportedly inspired by one of his father’s sermons. The trio continued its rise to the top with such pop hits as the holiday classic “The Christmas Song” and the ballad “(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons.”         

By the 1950s, Nat King Cole emerged as a popular solo performer. He scored numerous hits, with such songs as “Nature Boy,” “Mona Lisa,” “Too Young, ” and “Unforgettable.” He worked with many of the greatest jazz artists in the country, like Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, arranger Nelson Riddle, and others.

However, the 1950s was a difficult decade for African American entertainers. In his performances around the country, Cole had encountered racism firsthand, especially while touring in the South. He had been attacked by white supremacists during a mixed race performance in Alabama. Yet, he was also criticized by other African Americans for his less-than-supportive comments about racial integration, and for performances for segregated audiences. Cole considered himself an entertainer and not an activist, and often sought to assimilate with white audiences.

1956 proved to be a pivotal year for Nat King Cole, and he was to become not just an entertainer, but also a pioneer for equal rights. By the mid-1950s, he had achieved status as a mainstream performer and sought to pursue this career as other stars had done — to produce and star in his own television show. His bid for a TV show brought with it a sense of mission. “It could be a turning point,” he realized, “so that Negroes may be featured regularly on television.” Cole realized the stakes were high, and said, “If I try to make a big thing out of being the first and stir up a lot of talk, it might work adversely.” Cole and his agents negotiated with CBS for a show, but his own program never materialized. Cole’s manager then tried NBC, and they successfully reached an agreement for The Nat “King” Cole Show.

The Nat “King” Cole Show debuted on 5 November 1956. The show aired without a sponsor, but NBC agreed to pay for initial production costs; the network assumed that once the show actually aired and advertisers were able to see its sophistication, a national sponsor would emerge. Cole exuded his benign, soft-spoken persona on the set, chatting with the TV audience and singing Broadway and Tin Pan Alley tunes. But the show was innovative in that it also featured Cole in his original role as a jazz pianist, playing and singing with jazz notables such as Oscar Peterson and Ella Fitzgerald. Cole also used his connections to bring other high caliber musicians to the show, many of whom voluntarily appeared with minimal compensation. Some of these included Harry Belafonte, Mel Tormé, Frankie Laine, and Peggy Lee (shown below).

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Despite the high musical quality of the show, the race barrier seemed too much for the predominantly white TV audience of the 1950s to overcome. Many national companies balked at sponsorship, as they did not want to upset their white customers in the South who did not want to see a black man on TV shown in anything other than a subservient position. Although NBC agreed to fund the show until a sponsor could be found, Cole decided to cancel the show himself in its second season, disappointed with ratings and lack of sponsorship. Cole was quoted as saying of the doomed series, “Madison Avenue is afraid of the dark.” The last show was aired on 17 December 1957. After he cancelled his show, Nat King Cole continued to appear on other TV shows like The Ed Sullivan Show, The Garry Moore Show, and others.

Though short lived, The Nat “King” Cole Show paved the way for other black entertainers to find their way to television in the next decade. 1967 witnessed the premier of The Sammy Davis, Jr. Show on NBC, as a mid-season replacement that ran for 15 episodes.

Click here to view the embedded video.

In 1969, singer Leslie Uggams, hosted The Leslie Uggams Show, a musical comedy variety series that aired on CBS for one season in 1969.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Unfortunately, American audiences still seemed uncomfortable with TV shows hosted by sophisticated black musicians, and it finally took a comedian — Flip Wilson — to host a successful show, The Flip Wilson Show, which ran for four seasons on NBC from 1970-1974.

Ron Rodman is Dye Family Professor of Music at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. He is the author of Tuning In: American Television Music, published by Oxford University Press in 2010. Read his previous blog posts on music and television. 

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Image credit: Publicity photo from the premiere of The Nat King Cole Show. NBC Television. Via Wikimedia Commons.

The post The Nat “King” Cole Show: pioneer of music television appeared first on OUPblog.

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7. The Bold and Beautiful Artwork of Veteran Artist Lo Cole

Lo Cole’s distinctive artwork first came to prominence in the mid-1980s when he was invited to produce the controversial album sleeve designs for Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s “Welcome To The Pleasuredome.” Voted ‘best dressed record sleeve of the year,’ by the NME reader’s poll, Lo’s work was launched on a market that has provided him with employment as an artist and illustrator over 25 years.

His work regularly features in national newspapers and magazines such as The Sunday Times, Vogue, Elle magazine, The Boston Globe and more, where his humorous and abstracted approach to imagery is highly identifiable.

As a poster artist, Lo has produced dynamic designs for clients including the Royal National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Londo

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8. why story centres? - the guardian books podcast

Hey, The Guardian recently mentioned the Make-your-own-Monster Mega-Challenge event that I did at the Just Imagine centre in Chelmsford, Essex with fab friend and writer Steve Cole! There's a good section in it about story centres and the rise of them, (particularly as so many libraries are getting the government axe.. and yes, dear, we're still angry about that). I've been working with two of the story centres lately, Just Imagine and Stratford's Discover centre, both amazing places with loads of opportunities for kids, writers, storytellers, illustrators and more.

Here's a little index, if you don't want to listen to the whole thing:
8:50 - The Ministry of Stories Monster Store
9:45 - Just Imagine story centre
10:33 - Interview with Just Imagine founder Nikki Gamble (who also heads the huge Write Away book and learning material database )
10:45 - a bit about our Sarah & Steve show, with an inventive kid talking about his monster
11:31 - Interview with Steve Cole

Click here for the Guardian Books podcast.

Steve was asked, 'Why do you think there's a particular demand for these story centres?' and his response was a good one. (Steve's often been a good spokesperson for getting kids reading and storytelling.)

We're living in a time where the media itself is changing, and the rise of e-books, and lots of bookshops are finding that sales are being channeled through websites rather than the traditional bookstores. I think people are realising that it's not just about selling books, it's about fostering a community of getting people into books, and into reading, into writing, and into improving those skills, and just encouraging them. I think it offers more of a way to reach out to a wider spectrum... Like, the smell of books! I mean, there's something so much more tangible about them in a place like this.

"I do quite a lot of school events, and you do get children who put their hands up and say, 'Can I go into a book shop wearing trainers? Do I have to wear smart shoes?' They have this idea that books are these dusty things and that all authors should be wearing dinner suits. I think just finding that actual writers are alive can be quite inspiring to children! I think a lot of them are sort of like, it seems a remote thing, they don't grasp it until you go along and talk to them about writing, and how EASY it is to come up with ideas for stories. And once you find the right story, that will hopefully start them off on a life-long love of reading and realising that it's not a chore, that it can be a lot of fun.

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9. dinosaur-sized frustration

Everything I've been doing today has been so bitsy that it's been making me very cross. I wanted to draw something simple and FINISH it. Then I slipped over to Steve Cole's blog and saw a fabulous Astrosaur drawing by one 7-year-old Tom. Sometimes you see a kid's drawing and thing, man, I wish I drew like that! So I drew a frustrated self-portrait, me in-the-style-of-Tom-drawing-Tegs.

Tom's original drawing (which is still cooler than mine):

Then I thought it looked kind of cool, in an Aztec pattern kind of way and thought a whole herd of them on the rampage would make nice giftwrap. Actually, I'd quite like an umbrella or a scarf with this pattern on it.

RAWR! I feel better now.

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10. making books with steve cole

Today the writer Steve Cole and I spent all day at Writtle College in Essex making Alice-in-Wonderland themed books with 50 nine- and ten-year olds, as a joint project between the Royal Opera House and Chelmsford's Just Imagine story centre. The idea was that it would accompany their Alice in Wonderland opera, but we went a bit wild creating Steve in Wonderland/Sarah in Wonderland/Insert-kid's-name in Wonderland stories. Here's my super-fast drawing of Steve in exploding pants, which somehow managed to fit the theme.

Here's the kids' reinterpretation of the Alice character. (I just drew what they told me.) Oh, and Steve stuck sparkly heart stickers all over his t-shirt... stylin'!

Doing a workshop with Steve is great; he's full of energy and keeps the kids on the edge of their seats, never knowing what outrageous thing he's going to bellow next. Half the time he had me jumping in surprise, and the other half, standing there open-mouthed wondering if he'd gone completely nuts. Good times. (Here's the link to the Monster Mega-Challenge workshop we did a few months ago.)

Other news: Last night, BBC Radio 4's programme All in the Mind featured my friend Darryl Cunningham's graphic novel Psychiatric Tales and did a great interview with him. You can listen to it for the next six days on its BBC Listen Again page. (Darryl's slot starts at the 7:35 mark.)

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11. just imagine's quiz night party

Last night a bunch of us trundled out to Chelmsford in Essex (which is not so very far from London) to have supper and a good laugh with Nikki Gamble, founder of Write Away children's book consultation company (with all its creator interviews, book reviews and book-based lesson plan ideas) and, as of late, owner of the marvelous Just Imagine storytelling centre and bookshop. Here's Nikki with illustrator Garry Parsons.

Here's the gang lined up outside the window display by illustrator Kate Slater.

Any event's a good laugh when writer Steve Cole comes along. (Steve is very relieved just to have finished his Astrosaurs book No. 20.)

And here's Just Imagine's event coordinator Georgia Snelgrove, who bared her tattoo just for the occasion. She bought her fabulous shark print dress (and the shoes she's wearing which you can't see) online from Iron Fist Clothing.

And have you ever wondered what ears look like when those big plugs are taken out? Well, now you know!

Thanks, Nikki and the Just Imagine team for a great night out! If you're on Facebook, do keep an eye on the Just Imagine Facebook page to get updates on the huge number of events that go on there. The place is a real explosion of creativity.

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12. birthday bash in buckinghamshire

Last night I got to feel very small, sitting in a very big chair. It was a bit like Alice in Wonderland.

I didn't actually do much sitting. My friend Steve Cole (author of Astrosaurs, Cows in Action, Slime Squad series, lots more books) sang with his band for his own 40th birthday party, including a lot of fab songs Steve had composed himself.

Stuart and I spent the whole evening making happy idiots of ourselves on the dance floor. He's exactly how we look when we dance:

(Video link thanks to Jamie Smart)

Here's a little picture I made (because the birthday boy's a big Spider-man fan).

Congratulations to Steve on his birthday, and also for launching his 50th book this week with Random House!

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13. pirate shenanigans at imagine children's festival!

Wow, yesterday was a BIG day! I'm still feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all, but in a good way. I led three storming pirate events for the IMAGINE Children's Festival at the Royal Festival Hall on the Southbank. It's running for another week, so if you're around London, do have a peek at their great line-up! Here's a picture I drew just before my first workshop event:

And then there was a huge stage event! It was PACKED! At least 500 kids and their families. It's one of those times when I think, wow, when I decided I wanted to make children's books, I never even dreamed this would be part of the job.

Photo by Lauren O'Farrell

And it was great having some familiar faces in the audience. Here are fellow tweeters, my studio mate @deadlyknitshade and @_MissLWS. Oh, and the festival hashtag is #ImagineFest.

When I do smaller events, I tend to let the kids direct me in what I draw, but since there were just so many people, I thought I'd try doing a step-by-step drawing with them, of Captain Waffle from You Can't Scare a Princess!. I was amazed how well even the youngest of the kids seemed to keep up with me, and I was thrilled at the end, when I had people hold up their drawings to show me, and there was a sea of pirates, all slightly different and funny and quirky, but all totally AWESOME.

Photo by Lauren O'Farrell

A lot of the kids came and showed me their pirates when I was doing the signing and I'm sad I didn't get photos of more of their drawings. But here are a couple (ooh, those two look familiar again!):

Here's our pirate from the first workshop, that the kids helped me draw before designing their own pirates. Meet Cap'n Fish-hat Pong! He's eating bogey-covered chicken on toast, and no, that wasn't my idea, the kids get full credit for that one.

Photo by Catherine Stokes

Just a note, if anyone wants more of the activity sheets from the event, I have free, downloadable, printable activity sheets for each of my books over on my website, just click on the book cover to find the sheets for each book.

Scholastic UK have this great way of mixing round publicists, editors, marketing people, etc at events. So it's not uncommon to get an editor coming along with me instead of a publicist, and it's gr

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14. worlds of tomorrow - 22 may at foyles

Look, Philip Reeve and I drew a picture together! He drew it and I inked it and coloured it.

And, rather excitingly, it announces an upcoming event, for anyone who loves science fiction (or SF as some people prefer to call it) or wishes they knew more about it. I'm a new member the Children's Writers & Illustrators Group at the Society of Authors, and they were looking for a fun and informative event, after the wildly successful Comics Evening, so I suggested SF, and Philip Reeve to co-chair ('cos he knows a lot more about it than I do), and they went for it. Apparently the Society has never hosted a SF event, so we are pleased to present its first! And Neil Jackson at Foyles loves SF and Philip's work, so he was totally up for letting us hold it at the bookshop. Everyone wants to know what they big deal is about SF; it's taking the children's literary world by storm. Do you love reading it and want to ask the authors questions? Are you interested in learning how to write it?

WORLDS OF TOMORROW: The Rise of Sci-Fi in Children's & YA

THE SOCIETY OF AUTHORS and FOYLES present an evening with your hosts PHILIP REEVE & SARAH MCINTYRE. Followed by a question time and book signing.

PLACE: The Gallery, Foyles Charing Cross
DATE: Tuesday, 22 May
TIME: 7pm
Book FREE tickets by e-mail: events@foyles.co.uk

Space is limited, please e-mail Foyles if you book and are unable to come.
The Society of Authors has reserved 40 places for society members


MOIRA YOUNG stunned readers last year with BLOOD RED ROAD, her YA debut novel about a girl searching for her kidnapped twin brother in a bleak, post-apocalyptic landscape. Her book scooped up the Costa book award and now that she's back from a whirlwind USA tour, she's working on the second book in the trilogy.
Favourite sci-fi book as a child: A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L'Engle

High-energy writer STEVE COLE invented a time machine that lets him write more books than anyone else, and they sell in the millions. His books include the wildly popular ASTROSAURS series, COWS IN ACTION, Z.REX, ASTROSAURS ACADEMY, THE SLIME SQUAD and several original DOCTOR WHO stories.
Favourite sci-fi book as a child: STORIES FROM THE TWILIGHT ZONE by Rod Serling

SF and dark fantasy writer KIM LAKIN-SMITH is obsessed with mechanics, dystopias, and all things punk. Her novel CYBER CIRCUS is shortlisted for this year's British Science Fiction Association Best Novel award. Kim's latest YA story is the steampunk action adventure, QUEEN RAT.
Favourite sci-fi book as a child: THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY by Douglas Adams

PHILIP REEVE teleports from the wilds of Dartmoor, where he's constructed the futuristic landscape of the MORTAL ENGINES quartet and the ongoing FEVER CRUMB books. His madcap LARKLIGHT trilogy begins in a Victorian house which orbits the moon. His latest book,

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15. McFig and McFly

A Tale of Jealousy, Revenge, and Death (with a Happy Ending) by Henrik Drescher Candlewick 2008 Blurb: Extremely satisfying in a very old-school sort of way, but what a strange planet it seems to have come from. McFig, a widower, shows up one day having purchased a plot of land next to another widower named McFly. Both men hit it off instantly, as do their children Anton and Rosie. McFig

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16. short, short poems

An Anthology of Short, Short PoemsEdited by William ColeMacmillan Company 1967Sometimes what you want from a poem is short. Brevity the soul of wit and all. This compact little book collects over 250 poems that fit the bill, collected thematically, each chapter heading a line pulled from one of the poems. You get chapter titles like "Here dead lie we..." and "...into the daily accident."All of

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17. Lo Cole Launches His New Website

Just published and online - Lo's new website highlighting his illustration work for all manner of clients as well as all sorts of other stuff. Your comments are more than welcome! Visit the new site...

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