Marcia Williams at Bath Festival

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Today, I went to see Marcia Williams at the Bath Festival, talking about her wonderful book, ‘Three Cheers for Women’. She wrote the book to redress the balance as her book about inventors was mostly about men.

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She told us that one of her favourite characters in the book is Wangari Maathai and seemed delighted when a little girl in the audience was able to tell everyone all about this amazing peace activist. The audience then voted on which character we wanted to find out more about and Frida Kahlo won!

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Marcia challenged the children in the audience to think about how to create a comic book, reminding them not to repeat what is said in the illustrations with the words or vice versa. Excellent advice! With the help of the audience, she created a comic strip about bee, a young girl in the audience whose dream is to be a pop star.

It was lovely to see how she puts the ideas together to create her iconic comic book style.

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When asked which character she would like to meet, Marcia found it hard to choose, but Jane Austen was certainly one of them and Frida Kahlo another ‘because she’s terrific!’

Another question was which of her books is her favourite. Her answer was ‘Archie’s War’ and the follow up, ‘My Secret War Dairy’. The photographs are of Marcia’s relations, taken from family albums. She found she had to write the second book as her uncle whose photo became Archie, died on the first day of action he saw in the second world war, having grown up during the first. Marcia had to find out what happened to her Archie as he grew through the same experience.

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It was such a lovely session, combining the joy of storytelling in pictures and words, which did much to inspire the next generation of children’s author/ illustrators.

You can read our review of ‘Three Cheers for Women’ here.