Turning Pages in Totnes

On Sunday, we headed to Totnes to enjoy a full day of events at the 'Turn the Page' festival. The sun was shining; the sky was blue; there were books to be bought; there were authors to listen to. In short, the perfect day beckoned!

The festival was being held at the Royal Seven Stars Hotel, a former coaching inn full of character. Any place that has wallpaper like this must be special!

Our first treat was to see Sarah McIntyre and Philip Reeve in action. Armed with Pug pictures from school, we caught them just before their event and were able to tell them just how much our children enjoy their books.

Dressed with their trademark flamboyance and individuality, they launched into a highly entertaining, enthusiastic performance which was greatly enjoyed by everyone! Their new book, 'Jinx and O'Hare Funfair Repair' is full of humour, both in the story and the illustrations. Having set the scene and given the audience a taste of the story, Philip and Sarah read a section of the story together, really bringing it to life!

We played the 'Ducks of Knowledge' game- 'edu-tainment'-, Sarah taught us to draw a roller coaster ride and we created a race game through a fun fair with lots of creative ideas from the audience! The session was really enjoyable- a real highlight!

Imagine my delight when I spotted a familiar face sitting in the row behind us- Nick Sharratt! His session had been on the Saturday, but he popped in to offer his support and to see Phlip and Sarah in action.

Author of the 'Atlas of Miniature Adventures', Lucy Letherland spoke next. Her new book is full of information about the little things to be found around the world. Having spent many happy hours here both as a child and as a parent, I was delighted to see Bekonscot Model Village and Railway features in the Europe section! Lucy told us how she creates her pictures before encouraging us all to draw!

Dragon sitting next! Josh Lacey read us some of the 'emails' from his books and had us laughing out loud at the antics of Eddie and Uncle Morton's dragon, Ziggy!

Josh answered lots of questions about dragons, being a writer and why he chose to write the 'Grk' series under a pseudonym. His advice to those wishing to become writes themselves was very clear- read as much as you can!

Always a pleasure to listen to, Katherine Woodfine shared the inspiration behind her fabulous 'Sinclairs' books. Having wanted to solve mysteries as a child, Katherine read a whole host of this type of book when young- Famous Five, Nancy Drew, the Lone Pine books. She loved stories about children 'who were brave enough and smart enough to piece together the clues'. This combined with her love of history led to the creation of the Edwardian department store, Sinclairs, where her stories are set. I am impatiently awaiting the third instalment!

To finish our wonderful day, Ross Montgomery ...and a glitter ball! Currently working as a teacher (Yay! He's one of us!), Ross has written three novels and a picture book. Having shared a brief synopsis of each, Ross read from the beginning of 'Perijee and Me'- complete with glitter ball lighting effects!

He encouraged the children to develop their writing skills by working on lanuage choices, using similes and visualising characters. It was a great session!

 The Totnes Bookshop was excellent, staffed by warm, friendly people who obviously love books! We had a great time at Turn the Page 2016 and are already looking forward to next year. A huge well done to Nikki Marsh and the other organisers of the event.