Tag Archives: David Lloyd

More Bloody Horowitz

I’m with David Lloyd, head of Walker Books, on this. More Bloody Horowitz is a vile book, and it should never have been published. Less bloody Horowitz would be an excellent solution, but I gather David chickened out and published when Mr Horowitz provided him with incentive to do so. Weakling.

It’s horrible! Mr Horowitz’s name sounds rather like the contents of his collection of short stories. Well, they are not short enough for me. The trouble is, they were rather well written, which caused me to read them. But I felt sick throughout. I want you to know that. Perhaps not at the beginning when he killed off Darren Shan. I didn’t feel too bad then.

But as he moved on to kill and maim innocent children, television competition contestants, elderly relatives, and hooligans (well, perhaps that was OK), I wondered what had possessed the man. Selling your child on eBay is not acceptable parental behaviour. Finding you’ve gone on a French exchange and are sleeping next to a vampire will do nothing for learning foreign languages. Snakes. Ew.

I have never trusted our satnav, and now I know why. When we get close to home, driving through the less reputable parts of town, it always demands we turn right where we need to go left. As for New York, I’m never going there. Ever. And from now on, the iPod stays out of my ears.

Minutes after reading the last page I happened upon an ad for a massage chair. No doubt placed by Mr Horowitz for his comfort. In fact, if he availed himself of the chair, we really could ask Charlie Higson to take over writing the Alex Rider books. They might improve.

The – real –  literary people mentioned in this book made for a little light entertainment, but that was all. Quite cunning to get David Lloyd to explain his reasons for publishing. At least it kept him alive. (I know, because I saw him after the book had been published.)

On the other hand, when the Resident IT Consultant saw the book, he begged to read it. I pointed out that whereas he could, it was the same book he read last year, only in a smaller format. ‘Oh,’ he said. ‘It was such a nice book I wanted to read some more.’ (The title is misleading, seeing as it says ‘more’. And it’s just the same…) This mild mannered person I’ve known for so long is clearly not who I thought he was, if he calls this ‘nice.’

More Bloody Horowitz

When I showed it to Daughter, to get her opinion on whether the cover (which I actually liked) would put her off buying or reading the book, she said it definitely would. The girl has got taste.

In the author blurb it mentions that Mr and Mrs Horowitz have been abandoned by both sons. Hardly surprising. The (I assume) dog has gone for a long walk, which I find somewhat sinister.

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Dame in a nebula outfit

The weirdest thing was running into Andy Mulligan at Euston. Not that he knows me, but there he was. Probably going towards ‘Up North’ like Formby (for tomorrow’s event), whereas we (trusted photographer and witch) were heading for Branford Boase, which is an award and it’s in London. (There is a point to that which you will not get.) And then there was Jodi Picoult in the tube station, but she was merely a poster, if a life size one.

Walker Books employee

I’d have got lost at Vauxhall tube station. I have been before. Once. Thankfully Daughter, who has never been, put us on the right path. So we were not lost after all.

Sarah McIntyre and Candy Gourlay, Branford Boase

So, there they all were, the shortlisted authors, apart from Gregory Hughes (I deduced he was not the winner). Candy Gourlay seemed to have brought Sarah McIntyre along, which was wise, and one of the men in the Fickling basement was present. That’s Simon Mason of Moon Pie fame. So we had met before, which the clever-clogs Daughter remembered and I didn’t. You can’t memorise all men kept in basements everywhere.

Keren David, Branford Boase

Keren David was surrounded by admirers at all times so was hard to get close to. But her shoes were marvellous. And her glasses. (Sorry, is this a book blog?)

J P Buxton, Branford Boase

Had no idea what Jason Wallace looks like, but the photographer identified him with her eagle eye. There was something about her wanting his shirt for her bedroom…

J P Buxton was someone I didn’t know at all, but he turned out to be the tall guy with the impressive hair.

Pat Walsh, Branford Boase 2011

And Pat Walsh had a crutch with her that I very nearly stole. Being kind, I only held it for her during the photocall. Pat was what you have to call the experts’ favourite, so I am very interested in her book (which is another one published by someone I’m not managing to establish a – professional – relationship with).

Clare S

Klaus Flugge

David Lloyd

John McLay

Lots of other lovely book world types, including Andersen’s Clare, Nicky with the impressive memory, Philippa Dickinson, former winner Frances Hardinge and many more. Klaus Flugge, whose chair Goldilocks sat in. Super agent Hilary Delamere, Julia Eccleshare, Walker Books’ David Lloyd. And I have finally met and been introduced properly to John McLay of the Bath Festival of Children’s Literature.

And then there was Jacqueline Wilson (Dame, OBE, etc, etc) in a starry outfit that Daughter will have when Jacky is finished with it. Please.

Jason Wallace and Charlie Sheppard, Branford Boase winners 2011

Henrietta Branford winners 2011 with Jacqueline Wilson

Jason was not the only winner last night. There was a whole bunch of talented children who had won the Henrietta Branford Writing Competition. One girl was so keen to come that she’d travelled on the coach from Scotland since five that morning and going back overnight. Maybe the future of writing is safe, after all?

Anne Marley and Jacqueline Wilson

Julia Eccleshare

In her speech, Branford Boase organiser Anne Marley slipped in a Freudian Wife of Never Letting Go for Patrick Ness, son of the Walker house, which made us laugh. David Lloyd pointed out what a fun – and easy – job editing books is. Julia Eccleshare spoke about the history of the Branford Boase Award.

And then it should have been last year’s winner Lucy Christopher, but she was off on some very important business elsewhere, so had written a lovely speech to be delivered by Damien Kelleher who was one of the judges. The Branford Boase is awarded not only to authors like Jason, but to editors like Charlie Sheppard. What Lucy had to say about editors is that authors need them ‘like crazy people need therapists’. She can talk. According to Charlie, editors occasionally spend time polishing turds. I fully expect Out of Shadows not to have been anywhere near turd status.

Although, Jason did mention ‘gutted fish at feeding time’. Andersen Press is the nicest bunch of people. (I had noticed.) Jason also muttered something incomprehensible regarding cats, empty bottles and loneliness. And most importantly, he talked about Zimbabwe, where his novel is set. Things are still not good and people are still suffering. Let’s hope books like Jason’s will make a difference.

Branford Boase winning books

Anne Marley warned us off stealing the display of former winners’ books. Apparently Philip Ardagh tried it last year. (Could be why he wasn’t there?) The good thing about neither Candy nor Keren winning was – as they said – that now they don’t have to kill each other. Competing against friends is never fun.

Branford Boase 2011, authors and editors

As usual Paul Carter was taking photographs, and he is not above sharing the task with others. Which is why I brought my own picture person. As they do in real life sometimes, the photographers ended up taking pictures of each other.

We were chatting to Jacqueline Wilson just before leaving, when Candy sneaked up, wanting to be photographed with a star. One of these days she’ll realise that no sneaking is necessary. She too, is a star.

Jacqueline Wilson and Candy Gourlay

Picture Book on BBC4

Did anyone watch Picture Book on BBC4 over recent weeks? We recorded it and watched later, so this comment isn’t as fresh as it should be.

Very good programme, and quite informative, even if the choice of books was a little predictable. At times it seemed as if they had decided in advance who they wanted to interview, and they had to find something of theirs that actually counted as a picture book. As you know I love Philip Pullman a lot, but to count His Dark Materials as a picture book, is perhaps not strictly correct.

All the big names in children’s literature had been interviewed, and I was startled to realise how many of them I had actually met. I discovered I had even met one of the book characters mentioned, which is a little weird, having had afternoon tea with Hatty from Tom’s Midnight Garden.

It was nice to see Nicolette Jones and Nicholas Tucker, along with Davids Lloyd, Almond and Fickling, the laureates Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Rosen. Eoin Colfer was funny as usual, and it was good to get some background on Shirley Hughes’ books from Shirley herself.

Shirley Hughes illustration

If I haven’t mentioned all, and I know I haven’t, just complain. I’m used to it.