Tag Archives: Charlie Fletcher

The Edinburgh author photos

Nicola Morgan by Chris Close

At last! I have a gap for the photos from the EdBookFest I so craved. I have already inserted Nicola Morgan into Sunday’s post where she belongs, but in case you don’t feel like going back to look for her, I give you Nicola once more.

My faithful photographer actually sent me over a hundred pictures. You don’t get to see all of them. Certainly not today, but obviously not even later. I will cherrypick and serve you the best. And like a true miser I shall eke them out over an awfully long time…

She did manage to cover almost my whole witchlist, pardon me, wishlist, and the ones she missed was because it is so hard to be in two places at once. And you know, a few of these authors I didn’t recognise. They are people I haven’t met, and somehow they didn’t look quite like they do in other pictures, or the way I’d imagined them.

But I’m sure they were really them. Maybe.

Jon Mayhew

Definitely Jon Mayhew. I know him. And I know the tree. It’s ‘our’ photo tree.

Elen Caldecott

And I recognise Elen Caldecott, even though we’ve never met.

Charlie Fletcher

This picture of Charlie Fletcher surprised me. I realised I had no idea at all what he looked like. Like this, I’d say, unless some perfect stranger started signing copies of Far Rockaway.

Not the EIBF – for me

I was so sure I’d be able to fit in a little EdBookFest this year as well. On top of everything else, I mean. But I’m not.

I have enthused about the programme. I have gone through it in detail. I finally picked my dates, allowing me four days in the middle. Yes! It was the mid-weekenders who would have won. Until common sense kicked in and I told myself very sternly that something had to give, and it would be really useful if it wasn’t me.

So, that’s one book festival less for me, and maybe for you, if you were counting on me doing it on your behalf. I spent the other evening undoing what I’d so far arranged to do, hoping that not too many people would be overjoyed by the witch-free aspect.

So that’s no tea with Theresa Breslin and Julia Jarman. Big sob. No meeting with Badger the lovely dog in person. No Jon Mayhew, or Elen Caldecott (finally, as it was to be…) or Charlie Fletcher. Similar fate for Prentice & Weil (who I hope are not solicitors, despite their names), Melvin Burgess and Keith Gray. There will be no Keiths at all for me.

I was going to hear all about Jonathan Stroud’s new book, and even get close to Arne Dahl.

The list could go on. I have it here, right next to me, colour coded and with indecipherable comments, that once meant something.

I would have had to miss Julie Bertagna and Teri Terry. Again. But these ladies at least have something exciting going. You can win their books, if you go here.

As for me, I’m looking ahead to the next thing, thinking if I plan properly – and early – I will not have to cancel more events. But things always look very doable when looked at in advance.

Edinburgh International Book Festival

For all others – and the crouching tigers – Edinburgh International Book Festival starts today. Mind the mud. And the puddles.

And have fun!

The EIBF 2013 programme

It’s not exactly a bad programme this year. It’s not exactly short on authors, either. I’ve probably missed a few, seeing as I have only browsed the pdf  in a hasty fashion, but even so, were it not for the fact that I actually know I am unable to cover the full two and a half weeks of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, I’d sign up for the complete works. Again.

I’d been thinking a weekend. Maybe a longish weekend, but no more than four days. But which longish weekend? And what about the fantastic midweek offerings?

This is going to be an easy post to write! I could simply list authors, one after the other. But that would be boring.

For the time being I will not cover the adult writers, although I noticed Salman Rushdie is coming. Roddy Doyle. And Patrick Ness is an adult this time.

So, first weekend ‘as usual’ we have Meg Rosoff, as well as her stable (yeah, right…) mates Eoin Colfer and Cathy Cassidy. Anne Fine, Tommy Donbavand, Helena Pielichaty, Linda Strachan, Andy Mulligan. Carnegie winner Sally Gardner. Obvious choice. First weekend it will be.

Meg Rosoff

On the other hand, during the week when it grows a little quieter we have Elizabeth Wein. Hmm. Debi Gliori with Tobermory Cat. Nicola Morgan. Lari Don and Vivian French. Damien M Love. Well, that would be good!

But Elen Caldecott is someone I’ve always missed. She’s there the second weekend. It will have to be the middle weekend. Charlie Fletcher, Teresa Breslin and Eleanor Updale, Jon Mayhew and Darren Shan. Need I say more? OK, Tom Palmer, Chae Strathie. Melvin Burgess. Keith Gray.

Jonathan Stroud has a new book coming, which I like the look of. And he’s there the second week. So are Julie Bertagna and Teri Terry, and Daniel Hahn is talking translation. That is interesting.

Having said that, the last, extra long weekend looks by far the best. Doesn’t it? Judit Kerr. Neil Gaiman. Our new children’s laureate, Malorie Blackman. Our own Liz Kessler, and Tim Bowler. Philip Caveney from ‘home’ and Derek Landy, whom I’ve not seen for a long time… Jo Nadin and Spideyman himself, Steve Cole.

Yes. No competition there. Except maybe all the other days.

What do the rest of you think?

(Sorry. I see I have done a list after all.)

Old men with sticks

Patterns are odd things. When reading a totally random list of books, you discover things that go together in the most unexpected fashion. I suppose you could plan to read lots of novels featuring yetis, should you be so inclined. But it’s more fun when the yetis simply happen to you. (You end up feeling that maybe there is a reason for all those hairy creatures.)

Sorry, but this isn’t going to be about yetis.

All that’s happened here is a week featuring two grandfathers with sticks. Brave ones, and interesting sounding ones. The kind of grandfather I would have loved to have had. (I did know one grandfather, and he most definitely walked with a stick, but I don’t reckon he was adventure novel material. Although, you just never know these things, do you?)

The first one was in Far Rockaway. In order to avoid spoilers, I’ve not said as much about Victor Manno as he deserves. He reads books and is fun company for his grandchildren. He is brave. He attacks a fire truck with his stick, to save his granddaughter. He appears in her delirious thoughts/dreams as she fights for survival. He’s a real hero.

Then there’s Alex in Like Clockwork, who also has a grandfather of the more unusual sort. With a stick, which he handles in un-grandfatherly ways. He’s an odd man, but sounds like fun. Alex certainly didn’t know him as well as he had thought. Not once the robots began to…

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you much more. This ‘book’ Like Clockwork, by Damien M Love, is being published in six parts for Kindle. So far I’ve read the first part, which also exists in some kind of old style newspaper format. And you know me; I am cynical enough to expect the worst of gimmicky things.

But, this is pretty good. In fact, I’d say, very exciting. A person could easily be forgiven for feeling that it would be nice if these parts could appear quicker. Like now. What’s worse is that the first part is only published in mid March, and the rest will appear weekly after that.

They had better! I want to know what this weirdo grandfather is going to do with the robots, and those men he… And whether he and Alex..?

Like Clockwork is rather like Clockwork. Philip Pullman’s Clockwork. Not so much the plot, as the feeling of general creepiness. It’s continental, and it’s got machines that seem to think. Nicely menacing.

I think it might be possible to find out more here.

And, you know, I am sure time will go faster soon.

Tried to google me an illustration to go with this. Like Clockwork didn’t appear. At all. Spooky.

Far Rockaway

Oh wow! This really is the perfect way to write a book. You pick characters from your favourite books and put them in a new story. Simple. Or perhaps not.

At first I was quite cynical both about Charlie Fletcher using classic characters in his book Far Rockaway, but also having his heroine Cat exist in two ‘realities.’ The book begins with Cat being hit by a fire truck, and the rest of the book is about her fight to survive.

Most of Cat’s fight for survival is done in the settings of old classics, with some very well known characters showing up. And to be frank, I thought that seemed a bit over the top. But I changed my mind, very quickly.

It would have helped to have read Last of the Mohicans, which to my shame I have to admit I haven’t. And now I feel I might need to. So that is clever. Not only do you want to read Far Rockaway, but it will make you interested in reading in general, and in the ‘featured’ classics in particular.

Charlie Fletcher, Far Rockaway

What happens to Cat in her adventures with these borrowed people, is mirrored in what happens to her in the hospital, where she is being operated on, and where it is touch and go for a long time.

It was her beloved grandfather Victor who tried to push her out of the way of the truck, and he too was injured. She meets him in her dream-like adventure, because he’s the one who has always encouraged Cat to read. Now she needs to work out what to do, to try and get them both out of there and safely home.

And quite possibly to Far Rockaway.

There can be no better way to revisit old favourites. I’ve been back to childhood again. (And it goes without saying that I borrowed my classics from the library.)