It's been a beautiful weekend! The sun has been shining and we have been with lots of like-minded people who love books as much as we do! This is just a taster of the weekend- we will post in more detail about some of the events over the next few days!
On Friday, we arrived at The Oratory School near Reading for this year's FCBG Conference. We enjoyed an amazing programme of speakers and met lots of publishers who showed us many of the treats that will be coming out soon.
Andrew Beasley and Claire Barker opened conference by telling us about their books. Andrew was talking about his new series, S.C.R.E.A.M. Book one, 'The Mummy's Revenge', is very enjoyable and a review will be posted soon.
Claire is an old friend of our group having visited several of our schools to talk about her 'Knitbone Pepper' series. You can read a review of the first book here. We had a special delivery for her- which she was delighted about.
There was then some time to look at the publishers' exhibition, browse some of the treasures on their stands and talk about what's up and coming! We were delighted to meet up with faces we knew and to meet those we didn't. There are so many wonderful books out there- and it was such a pleasure to chat to those in the know!
After dinner, Lucy Worsley told us all about her fascinating career and what inspired her love of history. Both her books, 'Eliza Rose' and 'My Name is Victoria', draw on her knowledge and love of the historic palaces she works in and the amazing objects she gets to handle every day!
The evening concluded with the wit and wisdom of A.F Harrold, performing lots of poems and making everyone laugh.
Saturday dawned bright and beautiful and, after a hearty breakfast, we gathered once more to listen to Jon Walter, author of 'Close to the Wind' and 'My Name is Not Friday'. He gave us a fascinating insight into how he writes.
Daniel Hahn chaired the 'dazzling debuts' session with D J Brazier and Caighlan Smith. 'Alone' and 'Children of Icarus' are both exciting adventure stories and the authors discussed the viewpoints they had chosen, writing styles and the editing process.
The 'Books in Translation' panel spoke next, suggesting their top ten translated books for everyone to try, followed by G R Gemin, author of 'Cowgirl' and 'Sweet Pizza'.
In the afternoon, there was a choice of workshops. We had a fanatastic time with Margaret Bateson-Hill, storytelling and paper cutting!
The fabulous Martin Brown entertained us next with his 'lesser spotted animals'. We can now all identify the black hooded ferret- who has oodles of 'ahhhh' factor!
As if this wasn't enough excitement, Kes Gray and Rachel Bright led the last session of the day before the book group meeting.
Gathering for pre-dinner drinks in the library, everyone loved Jo Cotterill's strawberry themed quiz! There was much laughter and fun before we went for the Gala dinner. Here, Chris Riddell spoke about his term as Laureate and other things. Our table- 'The Island'- won the quiz- but weren't lucky in the raffle!
The sun still shone this morning as we woke to our last morning of book-related joy! Today, we have had the pleasure of listening to some of the smaller publishers- Alanna Books, Tiny Owl and Book Island.
We then watched as the very talented Emma Shoard as she painted some pictures from 'The Pavee and the Buffer Girl' by Siobhan Dowd and discussed her work with Georgina Hanratty.
Having had a 'Where's Wally?' cupcake, we enjoyed listening toCas Lester talk about her work with the BBC and the books she has written.
Conference ended with Petr Horacek and Nicola Davies. A wonderful ending to a most enjoyable weekend!
There will be more about this weekend to come!