Friday, 22 May 2009

On Retreat with SCBWI

It's been an eventful last few days and I thought I'd blog about it before it was too late as my life is currently feeling like a 33 rpm record running on 45 or was it a 45 running on 33 (remember those? LPs? Record players? If not, then I'm pleased to meet you ... I'm rather keen on younger readers.)

I attended the launch of Devil's Kiss, the goth-lit teenage novel by my fellow SCBWIite Sarwat Chadda. I felt rather underdressed when he greeted us with his spear and shield.

Sarwat Chadda

The Dulwich Picture Gallery was a fab place to hold the launch, the weather held for most of the evening and the food was delicious! People queued to say nice things to Sarwat but I thought the greatest compliment was paid by this teenager sitting outside the crowd of wellwishers, totally glued to the Devil's Kiss.

Devil's Kiss

There were several Undiscovered Voices authors there - Steve Hartley, whose Danny Baker Record Breaker, is due to be published by Macmillan, me, Margaret Carey, and Briony Pearce - who after winning UV, wrote another novel and had another baby (good news about this very soon ... ). Which reminds me, the deadline for the 2009 Undiscovered Voices competition is the 1st of June!

Here is Bryony and family (the baby came in chain mail and her little girl came in a princess gown ... all made by Briony with one hand while typing up her novel with the other.

Bryony Pearce

Immediately after the launch, a small convoy (well, two cars) of SCBWI people drove up the motorway to Pendrell Hall in Wolverhampton to join SCBWI's weekend retreat. Our author in residence was Mary Hoffman, who I think has pretty much reached the status of national treasure. When she began to read from the latest Amazing Grace book Princess Grace, I wanted to climb onto her lap and suck my thumb.

Mary Hoffman

We had two editors spend time with us, Jasmine from Oxford University Press and Non from Catnip. Here's a nice photo of Jasmine:

Jasmine Richards

There's lots to report of course - we learned so much from Mary and the editors, we ate a lot, laughed nonstop, and despite it being a retreat, I was so happy to be writing without any hindrance (and without having to stop to cook for the family!) that I barely slept, pounding away at the laptop into the wee hours! I hope to find the time to blog about the nuts and bolts but for now I just want to share these piccies!

Till next year!


  1. I think I recognise that teenager...

  2. You are so right - that is a great picture of Sarwat. Great to meet you today. I wish I could have stayed longer.


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