writing

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Last week was a pretty special. It was one of those magical weeks where two of the best days of the year reside – Pancake Day and World Book Day.

Now, my knowledge of Pancake Day is rather sketchy, to be honest. I know its official churchy name is Shrove Tuesday and it started when Jesus made two eggs and a bit of flour feed a million people or something.

 

jesus

If thy want sugar and lemon, thy shall have to provide that thineself and stop thine whinging.

 

But World Book Day, I know all about. It’s the annual celebration of books, which are, as we all know, the best things in the world.

And, as Christmas is for department store Santas, World Book Day is for authors. This year, I had a pretty busy week. On Monday, I was at Meadowhall in Sheffield.

 

has

Handsome action shot.

This was an interesting one. My event took place in the Oasis food court. This was a first for me. It was the only time I’d talked about books with the smells from a nearby McDonalds wafting into my nostrils. It was all fine until a jazz band started playing upstairs at a Frankie and Benny’s. Luckily, a PA system was acquired and I was able to shout above it and occasionally join in with some Sinatra hits.

Luckily, I was a stand-up comic for about six years, so difficult conditions like that are nothing new to me. I remember when I played the Edinburgh Festival back in 2009, my spot every night coincided with a ‘punk rock musical’ in the room upstairs. It was like being the mum of a stroppy teen.

Anyway, all the staff at Meadowhall were super helpful and lovely and the kids (from Tinsley Meadows Primary and Abbeyfield Primary) were brilliant and full of amazing ideas and questions. Here is a photo of the embarrassing character we created.

 

khd

Yes, her name is Kelly Hell Death.

 

After the event, I headed up to WH Smith for a signing. I didn’t take a photo, but here is an artist’s impression.

 

virge

 

On Tuesday, it was a local visit, this time to Nethersole Primary in Polesworth, a mere three miles from my house. This was a full day visit with Years four to six. I had loads of fun reading from My Embarrassing Dad’s Gone Viral and Danny Dread and doing writing workshops. They created embarrassing family members who are allowed one super power to help make them extra cringey.

As fun as it was, I discovered that reading the ‘UNEXPECTED BEAR ATTACK’ bit from My Embarrassing Dad’s Gone Viral five times in two days is rather hard on the throat, and I spent most of Wednesday talking like a pubescent Vito Corleone. The cold I had very conveniently come down with didn’t help matters, either.

Wednesday afternoon was spent driving down to Kent for my visit on Thursday. A 170 mile trip is too much for a morning commute, so I stayed over in a hotel.

Thursday, of course, was the big day itself and the array of costumes I saw when I arrived at Solefield School in Sevenoaks was very impressive indeed – staff and students. In fact, I was the only person not dressed up. Well, unless there’s a book about a scruffy man in Toy Story Vans. If there is, I was him.

It was another incredibly fun day and the ideas the kids came up with ranged from genuinely brilliant to utterly bizarre (I enjoyed both equally).

As well as getting to meet loads of cool people in celebration of books, another great thing about last week was that it helped me figure out how to present My Embarrassing Dad’s Gone Viral in schools. The extract I read (the aforementioned ‘UNEXPECTED BEAR ATTACK’ bit) went down better than any extract I’ve read from any of my books and the writing exercises produced loads of great ideas.

To sum up, here are a couple of Top Fives.

 

Top Five Questions Asked During the Week

  1. What’s it like being rich and famous?
  2. What’s your favourite word you’ve ever written?
  3. What is the worst book you’ve ever read? (I could think of nothing but Fifty Shades of Grey, so my answer was kind of non-committal.)
  4. Where did you get those shoes?
  5. How many books have you read?

 

 

Top Five Costumes

  1. A tank. Like literally, a tank.
  2. A lad who must have been about seven feet tall dressed as the Mad Hatter.
  3. Boy in a Dress.
  4. Carl from the Walking Dead.
  5. A completely original character based in the Harry Potter universe.

 

Top Five Things I Hate About Motorway Driving

  1. Middle lane squatters.
  2. The M40. Just the whole thing.
  3. Lorries with static caravans on the back trying to overtake.
  4. Middle lane squatters.
  5. Middle lane squatters.

 

Thanks to everyone who invited me this year. I had a great time and I hope you did, too. And remember, books are for life, not just for World Book Day.

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