Tag Archives: National Theatre

The illustrated War Horse

Just in time for the opening performance of War Horse at the Lowry, comes Michael Morpurgo’s story as a new and rather large picture book, wonderfully illustrated by Rae Smith, who was the stage designer for the National Theatre production.

It’s just over six years since Daughter and I saw War Horse in London, and I’ve taken every opportunity to tell people to go and see it if they possibly can. Not that they believe me, but there you are. (Due to lack of time, and the public’s level of enthusiasm for seeing the show at the Lowry, I have decided not to go. It is practically sold out, and will be returning to Salford in the summer. And I am certain it won’t have deteriorated since we saw it.)

Michael Morpurgo and Rae Smith, War Horse

War Horse is a fairly short story, but with the addition of Rae’s pictures, it’s grown into a beautiful volume that you could give to absolutely anyone. The story is still very sad. You will require a hanky, so as not to drip on the horses.

For anyone wanting a beautiful memento of the play, I’d say this new book version should be perfect. For small hands to hold the book to read* themselves, it might be a little on the large and heavy side. So, why don’t you read it together?

*Yes, I know hands don’t read.

I touched Terry Pratchett’s hat

‘I’m going to need to interview him,’ is what I thought that day about a year ago. It was just after Terry Pratchett had received his Knighthood, when it dawned on me that he was high up on my interview wish list. Very high up.

A witch can but ask, so that’s what I did and I wasn’t laughed at. Or not so I noticed, anyway. And a mere one year and thirteen days later I achieved what I’d set out to do, so it wasn’t long at all. (I wasn’t counting. But I can access old emails to see when I did what.) Not that I’m big on patience, but it is possible to gag yourself and to tie your email fingers behind your back once in a while.

I always claim that it’s possible to do a good interview in very little time, but as you can see it would have been less confusing for Terry had we not been interrupted to be told how much longer we had. (I know when my time is up as well as the next person. Or maybe even better.) For anyone who is wondering, I’d say that Terry seems perfectly clear in his mind and as full of mischief as his fans would want him to be. On the other hand, I would guess that his answers to my – possibly weird and unexpected – questions needed some thinking about. Hence a few erms and uhmms and … in our chat.

So, for Terry’s thoughts on everything from librarians to sex, read about it here

My Random day

I’d like to claim that the dog ate my ‘homework’ and that there will be no blog, but that would be cheating. So here is brief summary of Tuesday at Random, and I’m hoping to be able to get in lots of Random puns in this, I can tell you.

The coffee ice cream on Monday night kept me alert a little too long, but I was up and sufficiently awake by the time Random’s Catherine (thank you!) arrived to walk me to the office. They walk fast, those Random ladies. Or is it the witch who walks slowly? Didn’t think of that.

Breezed into the acquisitions meeting on the dot, except MD Philippa Dickinson had already begun. Oh, well. It is so embarrassing being introduced to seventeen people staring at me. Limelight is not for me. At the covers meeting next, it was all I could do to refrain from offering up my opinions all the time. The smokey blue with orange looked fantastic, I thought.

Then it was Georgia and a look into the future. There will be books. Next came Lauren’s ABC – or more like A to Z – of life in publicity. B is for bloggers, but I couldn’t help feeling it should be amended to B for bookwitch.

At lunchtime editors Sarah and another Clare had drawn the short straw, so marched me off for some pizza and book chatter. Very nice. They even tried to edit away ten minutes of the fifteen we were late back for me to see the head mistress. Sorry, I mean boss Philippa. Just imagine, a simple bookwitch and the boss lady herself. I was quite impressed to find that she had located an ADHD book for me, which hopefully has added itself to the ginormous pile with my name on it. They decided that my arms didn’t need to get any longer, so it will be the end of my postman instead.

Digital marketing is the future. Take my word for it. After admiring trailers and websites and fiercebook (they can’t spell, obviously), I was actually given a quarter of an hour in which to do nothing. After which Clare (‘Mum’) and I set off at that Random speed again to catch a train to the National Theatre, where we snuck in through the stage door.

We were whisked north in a green carpeted elevator (padded cell?). On arrival your witch met up with the real witch specialist Terry Pratchett, who ‘just happened’ to be there for a platform appearance somewhat later.

The DiscWorld King had spent so long being interviewed by important and real people, that when he got to me, all he wanted was a Mars bar. Or something. Which he didn’t get, I’m sorry to say. I’d have come equipped myself if I’d had the slightest inkling. Instead he got the bookwitch interview experience, which is an entirely different kettle of fish from chocolates.

The Random day finished with Terry’s platform, in the company of Philippa and other important people, like Terry’s PA Rob, as previously seen on television. It was meant to be a Q&A session on Nation at the National, but not surprisingly it turned into more of a DiscWorld fan convention. The short version.

Post-platform I made my way to another platform. The kind with the train home. Quick detour to Drummond Street for a pakora or two.

Thank you to all! (I still don’t know why you wanted me to come. By now you will be asking yourselves that, too.) And as I mentioned towards the end of my day; I had intended to take photos of everyone, but that good intention vanished as my brain scrambled.

And There Is No Dog.