books i've been reading, kids' books i've been reading, other writers

Dining with Dinosaurs

Most of the time, being a writer involves coming up with rubbish excuses to avoid doing any actual writing. Making tea. Making some more tea. Attempting to excavate peanut butter from inside one’s laptop after an ill-advised toast/facebook interface. Going to Co-Op to buy more tea, even though you already have tea, and then making tea with it. It’s a rollercoaster ride.

Occasionally, the distractions are a bit more jolly.

Yes, that is a dinosaur’s bottom, and those are the beautiful people of the book trade. The Bookseller Retail Awards took place in the Natural History Museum, which turns out to be a rather smashing place for a party – not least because you half expect a burly security guard to flick on the lights and yell ‘What the bloody hell are you lot doing in here?’

In the absence of Scooby-Doo-esque shenanigans, we concentrated on looking enthusiastic about learning who had won Supply Chain Initiative of the Year, and not talking about the McCann case. I met the completely lovely M.G. Harris, a fellow children’s writer whose Joshua Files will be out in February (a sort of 13-year-old Indiana Jones, blogging and not-quite-snogging his way to Mayan gold: sounds like larks), and who not only lives about ten minutes from my house, but is also gloriously nerdy about Blake’s 7 (anyone who will namecheck Chris Boucher in casual conversation is all right by me). As for the resident slebs, it turns out that Antony Horowitz is surprisingly orange, Tony Parsons is unsurprisingly oleaginous, and Dara O’Briain is unflappable as well as very funny, compering away despite the twin distractions of a malfunctioning microphone and Tiny there in the middle of his audience.

As befitted the location, it was an educational experience too: apparently one never leaves a publishing do empty-handed. I’m not sure whether eating a free chocolate bar declaring that Cathy Kelly’s new novel is like ‘Chocolate Therapy’ will make me read it: it definitely makes me wonder if people will not read mine (or, more to the point, booksellers won’t put it on shelves) if they aren’t bombarded with gratis confectionary first. Perhaps I should ensconce myself outside the nearest Waterstone’s on publication day, and thrust Jaffa Cakes at unsuspecting passers-by…

In any case, the food was great, the company greater, and ‘I was eating some fishcakes with a bronotosaurus’ is the best excuse for not having written anything all day I’ve yet come up with. Can I do it again next week, please?

the three Rs:

Margaret Mahy’s The Changeover. Again.

Synonyms for ‘Joey Deacon’. God, children were horrible in the 80s.

Laundry, Toblerone, reversing the hinge on my new fridge door.


3 thoughts on “Dining with Dinosaurs”

  1. Hellllloo there sweetie! I thought we were going for coffee down Summertown? I thought Anthony Horowitz looked positively dishy but then I’m a sucker for NJBs. I’ll post a photo of you on my blog if I may, I have rather a nice one.

  2. Hurrah! Singularly failed to hook up with you properly on facebook (you are being sneaky and have your profile set to ‘Bugger Off’ or some such), and then have just been continuously at bloody work since getting back. Am knee deep in deadline despair right now, but should be a bit less hopeless next week, so will nab you for coffee then if that’s ok.Horowitz had the advantage of black tie: everyone looks dishy in a dinner jacket.Photo? Go ahead, would love to see it. And you must link me up to your daughter’s blog so I can observe the teen in its natural habitat…

  3. I just found you and sent a friend request for Facebook. Next week works well for me too, good luck for your deadline depair.

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