First you have weeks of no authors at all on the horizon (perhaps I just wasn’t looking?) and then there are three at once. I am just never satisfied. Although, It was quite handy being able to ‘kill’ all three with the one stone, or more specifically, in a single outing.
Curtis Jobling came to Waterstones Arndale as part of a busy week of taking his Wereworld show round the schools of middle England. (That’s geographical, rather than any comment on what the fans are.) This was his only public event and with me feeling more public than school, I went along, taking my photographer with me. I think Curtis’s Bob the Builder background stood him in good stead and made him sound attractive.
Which he is, and this time Curtis was all pink and red. I pointed him out across the shop, as we’d come in early to case the joint. We take our author chasing seriously. There was a good display of all three Wereworld novels, although the tiddly table provided wasn’t ideal for a serious doodler like Curtis.
He did well though, providing Bob the Builder style princesses on pink paper as and when required, along with wolfy doodles in the Werebooks. I have to admit that the photographer wouldn’t leave before she had a Curtis special, which in this case is a more complex wolf doodle than he normally does, and we had to steal a plastic cover to protect wolfy on the way home.
I didn’t ask any awkward questions. At least, I don’t think I did. Curtis hinted at the developing romances among the were creatures, but I wouldn’t let him say too much in case he said the wrong thing. One young fan asked what is a good age to begin writing, and the answer is ‘early.’ Curtis’s earliest work can be found in his Mum’s loft. He thinks it might be best if it stays there.
The favourite question of the day was whether there are any subliminal messages in Bob the Builder. 12-year-olds are getting older and wiser. Not sure that the subliminalness of Bob was fully addressed, however.
When enough doodling had been done, and there were enough photos of pink checked shirts, we took our leave, and went in search of a tram.
It’s book award time in Salford today, and Candy Gourlay and Pat Walsh checked in early and were looking for dinner companions on Thursday evening. Michael Morpurgo wasn’t there, and Jon Mayhew lives near enough to drive over this morning, and someone had to make up the numbers. So we did.
It’s beautiful in Salford Quays at night, with the lights along the canals and the lit up blocks of flats and the BBC and the Lowry and all that. At least if it doesn’t rain. It didn’t.
We dined and we gossiped. If your ears burned, that will be because we mentioned you, but only in the nicest way. We are nice people. The food was good and as you can see we didn’t leave anything. No mention here of who had three…, no she didn’t. I just remembered that none of us ate too much.
I don’t know who has won, but some time today the Lowry will fill up with Salford school children, and the shortlisted authors will be given one child each (!), but not to take home. The children will take their author onto the stage and say nice things about them, before the winner is announced.
I hope they all win.