All the fun of the book fair

The Edinburgh International Book Fair started on Saturday. While the Royal Mile was packed with people on stilts, jugglers and Hamlet in mime (I’m making that last bit up, but it could have happened …), not too far away in Charlotte Square, a lot of booky people were gathering in tents to talk about … books.

I took my son Freddie again, because while I’m an enthusiastic reader, he’s a VORACIOUS reader, and he enjoys the whole thing even more than I do. This year, he got books signed by Philip Reeve and Andy Mulligan and, just as we were leaving, we got to have a little chat with Andy Stanton. I also got to witness the ineffable sight of Julia Donaldson (The Gruffalo) signing next to AC Grayling (The Good Book). And I had a fan photo (I was the fan) taken next to AC Grayling. It’s that kind of festival.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I wore The Shoes.

I’d been invited to do a ‘Catwalk to Jumble Sales’ thing with Sarra Manning, the author of the very wonderful Adorkable. Although we’ve both done this kind of thing before, we were a bit nervous. Would we pick the right readings? Would it pelt with rain? Would the fact that Cathy Cassidy was talking in the tent next door (a much bigger one) mean that nobody would come and see us?

I took lots of pictures. Here’s how the weekend unfolded …

The Olympic Park had Games Makers. Waverley Station in Edinburgh had an enormous, icing-covered chocolate cookie. Worked for me.

Charlotte Square, where it all happens. In the sunshine. Nobody could quite believe the sun was actually shining, but it really was.

My favourite booky deckchair.

The audience for Jacqueline Wilson’s talk the day before. She had a slightly bigger tent than us …

She was quite brilliant. I was a fan before, and I’m still a fan now. If she wasn’t already a Dame, I’d be arguing that she should be.

Edinburgh from my hotel room. Posh hotel room. Posh view. Happy writer.

We’d bought loads of books. Needless to say.

Back at the festival. You know you’ve made it as a writer when you get your own, dedicated loo.

It went fine! Sarra and I both really enjoyed ourselves, anyway. There were lots of fab readers in the audience, lots of questions, lots of encouragement from us both to go out, experiment and take on the world (and to read How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran in the process). We both brought outfits to show – including the actual dress that Sarra describes at the beginning of Adorkable. And afterwards, we got to meet the girls – and librarians – from the truly wonderful Glitz Lit programme to get girls reading in South West Edinburgh. It’s inspirational, and I’ll be telling everyone about it. And not only because it includes Sarra’s book and two of mine.

This was Katie’s bag. Katie didn’t have a book for us to sign, so we signed her bag. This is my signature next to Derek Landy’s from last year. Wooooooooooo! The illustration is Derek’s version of Harry Potter, apparently. (Actually, it looks more like Derek to me.)

So, all in all, it was good. Very good. Big thank you to Janet and Hannah and Lorna (who chaired our event) and everyone else who looked after us and made us welcome. Thank you, Edinburgh! I hope I’ll be seeing you again.


Girl Outside – Competition winners

In July, the competition was to design a book cover. And as always, you made it really tough for me. There were so many great entries. The prizes were a signed copy of The Look, and a copy of Adorkable, by Sarra Manning, who’s talking with me at the Edinburgh Festival next Sunday.

It took me ages to decide, but in the end, the winner of The Look was Amber, from The Mile Long Bookshelf. I love the colours in this picture, and the suggestion of adventure, and the truly great strapline. Straplines are really hard to do (as I know from bitter experience), so I was very impressed with this one. Congratulations, Amber!

The winner of Adorkable was Hannah Bowstead. I loved the simple graphics of this cover, and the style reminded me a bit of one of my favourites – A Necklace of Raindrops, by Joan Aiken, illustrated by the amazing Jan Pienkowski. Plus, the boots. Loving the boots. Well done, Hannah.

And finally, an honourable mention goes to Sara Coggin, whose blog, Box of Things, is also worth a look for its beautiful photographs. This drawing captures the spirit of my other books, I think. Loving the handbag, and the bowtie, and the fact that her head is missing. Intriguing! I’ll be sending Sara a signed postcard.

Thank you to all of you who entered. It was great fun to judge, and I hope you enjoyed it too. I’ll be putting these entries up on the Threadsthebook website, so look out for them there.