Sunday, 14 September 2014


So Wednesday evening went well. Phew! Whenever I’ve been away from “Showtime!” a while, I get anxious. 

My own showtime is not Brucie’s bright lights and dancing with big teeth and lots of  twirls and "Ta-da!". Mine is much more modest - just dressing in presentable clothes, adding a bit of slap and going out smiling to give a talk. 

Even so, having collected my notes and various “exhibits”, there ‘s always the fizzy fear that things might not work this time. 

Last Wednesday was a different audience: it wasn't a school or library or "family" session but a talk booked by a local Ladies Group.  On the programme, my name was down as “Author and Storyteller” but beyond that my talk was a mystery. (Would I have turned out for so little information, especially on a “Bake Off” night?) Anyway, I was very glad to see the earliest ladies arriving.  Empty, that hall seemed quite large.

I always worry that the “children’s books” topic can seem a touch demeaning – of course it isn’t, at all -  but sometimes adults can feel bristly. I began by talking about “how I got into children’s  writing” – both my teaching career and other more personal issues as well as showing a couple of very old children’s books I’d owned when I was little.
After that I talked about where some of my ideas came from, some made more meaningful as the audience knew the local settings I’d used and a cute cat story. Then there was a quick run through some more amusing aspects of the book process, illustrated with a few “interesting” pencil roughs and short readings. 

Finally, there was a “popular children’s book characters” picture quiz to fill the gap while tea was brewing.

Afterwards – as ever – I wondered why I’d been anxious. As an audience, the Ladies Group were warm and friendly and interested. Best of all, it seemed, the evening gave them a chance to reflect on children’s books and remember books they’d read as children in the past, the pleasure of reading books with their own children and even the pleasure of sharing the same books with their own grand-children or other small friends. It felt a very happy talk.  
Thank you, Ladies!

Meanwhile, last Thursday was a quick trip to the West Yorkshire Playhouse to check the room and the details for a gathering of children’s writers on Saturday. 

Of which more - as some say - anon. When I recover.

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