If you were wondering why I haven’t updated recently, it’s not because I’ve been slacking off! I’ve been jetsetting (and train- and car-setting) around the place doing various events.
On Friday the 27th of March I was a guest at the Suffolk Schools Library Service Book Mastermind Competition where I watched local students compete to be chosen book mastermind. The winner was a 14-year-old named Leanne from Sudbury Upper School. In the afternoon I and Natalie Haynes (another author and comedian) both gave talks and workshops to the attendees.
While in Suffolk I visited my friends Mo and Tracy who kindly hosted me and gavce me a chance to relax before my next event…
Because on Sunday the 29th of March I set off for Italy and the Bologna Book Fair. Bologna really deserves a whole post of its own so for now I’ll concentrate on the highlights. I went with my mother, author Mary Hoffman, who has just started a new blog and posted about the event there. (Check out The Book Maven for her Bologna post.)
Together we had an excellent time prowling around the four halls dedicated to publishing companies from across the word, checking out new titles and popular themes. I also met my German editor Antje Keil (from Fischer Verlag) and my Japanese editor Kyoko Kiire (from Shogakukan) and said hello to other publishing folks at the stands for my other UK and oversees publishers. I was taken out to dinner by the people at Frances Lincoln and met up with others for drinks.
After the fair my father came to join us and we went by train to Florence where we spent three days in an apartment with a glorious view of classic florentine roofs and terraces. I visited the Uffizi, roamed the city and bought gifts for colleagues at the San Lorenzo market.
Then on Saturday the 28th of March I flew back to the UK and came racing back to Oxford to join in on the final plenary panel for the Place and Space conference with Philip Pullman, Claire Squires, Peter Hunt and Farah Mendlesohn. Our panel was on working in children’s fiction and was (at least to me) extremely interesting. Although we all had different approaches, we are more similar than we are different in our passion for books. I could say a lot more about the conference too so I will plan to say more once I can track down some pictures of the event. I know lots were taken but none with my camera.
So, now I’m back and writing away since the current book Ghost of a Chance is within a hairsbreath of completeing. The trouble is for every thousand words I write I throw half of them away! But even so I am nearing the end and able to say (cautiusly) that I think this will be a good book. I am (warily) pleased with how it’s worked out.