Edinburgh International Book Festival

I’m home, back from the beautiful city of Edinburgh.
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I feel as if I’m repeating myself every year, but the truth is that I love Edinburgh and I love everything about the Edinburgh International Book Festival. The people who come to the events, the friendly atmosphere, the cosiness of the venue and mainly the fact that it is absolutely brilliantly and professionally run by people who are devoted to what they do. Everybody is so friendly and helpful. That’s why the festival is always such a success.DSC_0111

This year I did two talks and readings from my books. It all went very well and we had fun. DSC_0116 3My other event was with the amazing writer and author of our latest book Nicola Davies. Just look at this photo of us taken by Chris Close. Chris is is the photographer who’s funny and beautiful pictures are always hanging in the festival. He is also a very nice guy to talk to. Look at his work on his website!A First Book of Animals

It was the very first time that Nicola and I have done a talk together. Nicola knows so much about animals and nature.  I could listen to her for ever.

My part in our event was to show some sketches, talk briefly about the illustrations and draw some animals on stage as Nicola was talking. It was great fun, though quite  challenging.FrankThe pictures were not too bad considering that I had only a couple of minutes to do them. Frank won a chameleon.

Cp6tq3tWAAEDrDVThis little boy got an ostrich and an ice-cream, but the ice-cream was probably from his grandma.

It was a nice couple of days in Edinburgh. I’m looking forward to the next time!

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Lumb Bank Arvon

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The Ted Hughes Arvon Centre, Lumb Bank is an 18th-century mill-owner’s house in West Yorkshire, which once belonged to Ted Hughes.

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It’s almost impossible to spend week in this place and not get inspired.

When I was asked to be a tutor on a course for writers and illustrators of picture books I was honoured, but at the same time I was worried. Teaching and giving people advice …. on anything is a big responsibility. I needed somebody I could rely on. Somebody who has done similar projects before, has great experience in writing, is able to work with other people and is able to run such a  course.

And then I realised that Joyce Dunbar was going to be my fellow tutor! My decision was made. I couldn’t miss the chance to see Joyce teaching, talking about her work and about the world of picture books.
My hopes overcame my expectations. The blog would be far too long if I start praising Joyce about the way how she works with students and what a good friend she is. Joyce is not just an experienced, clever and brilliant writer, but she has the gift to teach, share her experience and ideas with others and make it all fun at the same time.IMG_5337

I can say that Joyce and I teamed up really well and the whole week was a great success.IMG_5290

Another real treat was  a short visit and a brilliant talk by Polly Dunbar, one of my favourite writers and illustrators of picture books. Her contribution to the course was appreciated by everybody. Thank you Polly.IMG_5316

And the biggest thanks goes to everybody who came on the course. The students were truly amazing. Lovely, kind and friendly people, who had one thing in common – they all sheared a love for picture books.IMG_5297We all worked very hard.IMG_5381

Before I went to Lumb Bank I was trying to prepare myself for any possible situation, because you never know what can happen when you are working with a group of people who have never met each other. What I didn’t expected was that I’d be leaving so inspired myself, tired, but happy with a feeling, that I’ve made a bunch of new friends.

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IMG_5365At this point in the blog I’ve realised that I could go on and on and I would love to show some of the students amazing work, but I won’t be able to fit everything in and besides, some of it may get published and I can’t give it away.

IMG_5304So perhaps just a couple of pages from one of the more visual exercises we did together.

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IMG_5306IMG_5394There is one very important thing I must mention and it’s all the hard work of everybody who runs the Arvon Centre in Lumb Bank. Rosie, Becky, Mark, Jean, Jill and Jack.IMG_5339This is him – Jack who is everywhere and always ready to help and do an extra work. Thank you to all of you!IMG_5310Over the five days of the course I had only one chance to explore the surrounding countryside, but I’ll remember the walk for a very long time.IMG_5355

IMG_5347How about this chimney in the middle of the valleyy?

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Walking by the river was magical.IMG_5354

Oh well, I’m on my way back sitting on the train and soon I’m off again. This time to my favourite event of the year – Edinburgh International Book Festival.

A First Book of AnimalsI’m going to meet Nicola Davies, the writer of  my latest book. I’m looking forward to our joint event very much!

Shakespeare, Arvon, Edinburgh

shakespeare-globe-I took part in Shakespeare’s Telling Tales Literary Festival last Sunday. I had a great time.

Coh0bCkVMAEFuZZI met some of my friends and fellow writers and whole bunch of clever children. We did a workshop loosely based on Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer’s Night Dream”.IMG_5278I was too busy to take photographs, but here are at least some of the masterpieces.IMG_5279Aren’t they great? The room and I were covered with  glitter. It was magical.CotFG20UMAIAqw4I also read from my favourite books and talked about my pictures.Coh0lFNUEAAG1of“Tales on Moon Lane”, a great independent bookshop was selling books Cot78EQUAAEqDqEand I signed some of them.mouse for AmandaIt was all fun.

I’m now getting ready for my next trip to Yorkshire to Lumb Bank to take part in  an Arvon course. I’ll be sharing my experiences as an author and illustrator with people who like writing and illustrating picture books.

It’s going to be very inspiring I’m sure and it’s going to be a very busy week (I’m sure of that too), but I’m looking forward to it.

I’ll be back home on Saturday just to change my socks and then I’m off to my favourite festival of the year “Edinburgh Literary Festival”.

I’m looking forward to it very much, because the festival is always full of lovely people who organise it and lovely people who come to the events. I’ll be  promoting two new books.The Gready Goat

“The Greedy Goat”

A First Book of Animals

and “A First Book of Animals” which is written by the amazing Nicola Davies and I did the illustrations.

Nicola’s events are always good fun and she is so enthusiastic about nature and the animal world. We are going to share an event together! It’s a big responsibility, because if I mess up my event I can only blame myself, but if I mess up somebody else’s event….I’m a bit scared, but excited at the same time.

So apart form this I’ll be doing another two talks at the festival, so if you are around, please come to see me.

I’m currently working on presentations for my next events and looking through my sketchbooks. Here are couple of my drawings I fnd interesting.197A cyclist and a toucan passing by.280A moose about to kiss a penguin.36And the last one is a beautifully smelling carnivorous plant.