Belfast YLG Wendy Drewett Ireland Book Day

The unicorn’s excuse for a long gap in blog posts this time? The CILIP YLG Wendy Drewett Ireland Book Day in Belfast, at which my author was very kindly invited to talk about her new Pendragon Legacy series.

The book display

She flew out to Belfast via Manchester on Tuesday morning, taking not one but two planes. This meant I had to gallop very fast to keep up!

Finally landing at the George Best Airport with its view of the famous cranes, we then took a scenic drive through the city with friendly school librarian Tara Corcoran to the Belfast Royal Academy, where (revived from her early morning start by chocolate croissants and hot tomato soup), Katherine spoke to Form 1 in a magnificent if rather chilly hall, since a frozen pipe had knocked out half their heating system. After the talk, the children crowded around the signing table to keep warm, while the drillers got to work searching out the leak 25 feet under the playground. Amazingly, everyone kept smiling. (Katherine apologises for spelling some of the Irish names wrong... it's a well-known fact authors cannot spell, and that's why they need editors so much.)

After the school, we took a taxi ride to the Dunsilly Hotel in Ballymena, where a gala dinner with librarians and other authors soon warmed everyone up!

Wednesday morning kicked off (I didn’t kick anyone, honest!) at the Antrim Board Centre just down the road, where Katherine did a panel event with authors Diana Hendry (The Seeing) and Paul Howard (Bugville), chaired by Joy Court.

Katherine, Diana and Paul

This was followed by a packed day of talks, including an interesting session on digital reading and social networking with Bev Humphrey.

Winner of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, Liz Pichon (Tom Gates books) rounded off the morning with an entertaining talk on how she became an author, and demonstrated how she draws her characters:

After lunch we were treated to an interesting account by Professor Joan Swann of the shadowing process  for the Carnegie and Greenaway medals, a passionate case for graphic novels with Lucy Forrester from Peters Bookselling services, and another author panel with newer (and somewhat younger) authors Jane McLoughlin (At Yellow Lake), Dave Cousins (15 Days Without a Head), and Sarah Hammond (The Night Sky in My Head), chaired by Rachel Levy. The unicorn sees a head theme emerging here…

Jane, Dave, Sarah and Rachel

Then it was back to the hotel for another dinner with librarians and authors staying on to do school visits the next day. I was highly tempted to follow Sarah Hammond on her visit to the Giant's Causeway, but early next morning my author squeezed me into another taxi back to the airport, shared with the lovely Professor Swann, for the flight home.

More galloping for me - but thankfully not via Manchester this time!

The unicorn very much enjoyed his first visit to Belfast, and would like to thank all the lovely librarians who looked after Katherine so well. Authors are not easy to look after, and I should know.

Razz X.


Jane McLoughlin said…
A great post,but you got the "younger writer" comment wrong in one case! It was such a happy and inspiring two days. PS Propellors--yikes!
Dave Cousins said…
It was great to meet you both, Razz. Next time, we must definitely take a trip to the Giant's Causeway.
madwippitt said…
How exciting! Hope your author managed to fit in time for a 'full Ulster' ... and are there still hares all over the place at the airport? Or were you galloping too fast to notice? :-)
Hello again, Jane and Dave! Thanks for commenting - yes, an author outing to the Giant Causeway would be cool... do they have a book festival???

Madwippitt, I didn't see any hares at the airport, but that might be why our landing was so "hairy" (sorry, couldn't resist that!) But if there were hares, surely there would be wippitts chasing them?