In mid-November I headed north for two days, to take part in the Northern Children’s Book Festival.
The Thursday was spent at Castleview Enterprise Academy. You can tell the building has been built recently, because it’s got that clean, shiny, new-building look, like unscuffed shoes. The main foyer has a zigzag path marked into the carpet, a bit like the Yellow Brick Road, which makes you want to follow it even though you don’t have to.
I talked to three different groups of students. (Some even sat through it twice, without yawning.) Lots of good questions.
On Friday morning, I visited St Joseph’s Highfield. After my talk I ran a workshop, in which the group of thirty-one students rose to the task of creating a setting with huge enthusiasm and inventiveness. Soon we had a volcanic island featuring a legendary firebird, a cave of zombies, pirates, Swedish-speaking hunters whose chief rode a Tyrannosaurus Rex, sacred bananas, miniature people living in treehouses, monkey-infested jungle, a giant parrot, a beach where the Statue of Liberty had washed up, and much more.
My last stop was at Heworth Grange, where I was placed on a very grand auditorium stage. While two hundred students filed into their seats, a loudspeaker played ‘Rolling in the Deep’ on high volume (which made me a feel a bit like a rockstar gearing up for a gig).
Fortunately I didn’t sing, so there were no riots. (Actually the audience treated me very well, and had lots of good questions.)