Bag, that is. It’s different – I’ll give Puffin that. I thought it might be a very thin book, when in actual fact the nice ladies at Puffin wanted to include the witch in their media book presentation for 2008. So, it being too wet to broom, I got my favourite morning train to London, which isn’t too full, and where the price of the ticket doesn’t force you to re-mortgage your house.
On arrival I shared a lift up with an author. Only I didn’t know it then, as picture book authors are not my strength. It was Jeanne Willis, and even I have had a book of hers read to me (though I do know how to read) before.
It was like Christmas come early, or maybe late, considering it’s mid January. Tables groaning under the weight of books, where you help yourself until you feel ashamed, or thereabouts. Puffin also did party bags, but seemed not to have cottoned on to the fact that you use them to get rid of people at the end. Never mind.
Very important people presented the new books for the year ahead. So I won’t tell you about those now.
Lots of people there. I didn’t quite have the nerve to introduce myself to Nicholas Tucker. Maybe I should have? I consider his voice an old friend. Talked to nice people from radio’s Go4It, and to equally nice people from book magazine Carousel.
Threw myself at Nicolette Jones to talk about her Pancakes for Findus review, and introduced myself to Julia Eccleshare, to apologise for all my “anonymous” emails. She took it well. Jellyellie from Spinebreakers was there, and not only is she one of these clever teen editors, but she’s writing a book. I sat next to someone from the Guardian, who had actually heard of me! (Fame must be round the corner.)
Ed Vere does picture books and he can talk and draw at the same time. Nearly. Something about piano playing gorillas.
Charlie Higson had been forcibly dragged to the presentation. He has a book to finish, but now we know who to blame that delay on. I’d started reading his Hurricane Gold on the train, which didn’t make me much of an expert. But he favours avoiding too much kissing for the young James Bond by having immediate and nearby explosions. And something to do with the Royal family that he couldn’t possibly talk about.
Meg Rosoff also has a book that wants finishing, but she did a good job going round kissing and hugging people, and tucking into the tasty food, and making dates for interviews and radio programmes and anything else.
To prevent myself from being the last person there, I took my leave and departed at an almost decent time. Could have done with help in the lift, though, as the buttons were totally un-intelligible. I’ve since worked out that E stands for Embankment and ST for Strand. And I only went wrong once. Bit of a challenge for a “country” witch.