As co-chair of the South East Scotland network in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and an active member of its British Isles community, I have been very lucky to have been a part of many literary opportunities that have come my way. From book tours to chairing programmed events at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, I count my lucky stars when I think of the experiences and memories I have had and made. Here are some highlights from the past year or so:
August 2016 – I was delighted to be selected for Story Shop, an event held every year at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. I read out my story ‘Blood on my Apollos’ to family, friends and some well-behaved strangers in the famous book festival Speigletent. An amazing experience I will never forget. Of course, the obligatory visit to the Author’s Yurt was required.
November 2016 – I became the co-chair of SCBWI South East Scotland. A friendly, vibrant community of like-minded souls. I help organise events, teach-ins, write-ins and literary socials for all of our members based across Scotland.
March 2017 – I was honoured to chair the last stop of the YA Lost and Found tour. Five debut novelists touring British cities with their stories, banter and infectious love of books. Glasgow Waterstones was the venue and it was a pleasure to be in their company and get the chance to interview them in front of an adoring crowd. Patrice Lawrence, Olivia Levez, Kathyrn Evans, Eugene Lambert and Sue Wallman – I salute you. I also provided them with something to ensure they never got lost ever again.
August 2017 was a month full of surprises in my literary life.
First event of the month came in the format of my first ever chair of a book launch. Thankfully I had the impressive Moira McPartlin to talk to about the second book in her Sun Song trilogy ‘Wants of the Silent’. Having already read the first book ‘Ways of the Doomed’ and her debut novel, one of my favourites, ‘The Incomers’, I knew I was in safe hands.
August just kept on giving and the Edinburgh International Book Festival gave me the opportunity to chair an event on an even bigger scale -The Great Gender Debate. It turned out to be a sold out event and I think this has to be one of those moments in my life that I will always keep pinching myself to see if it was real. Being on stage and leading the questions with my SCBWI co-chair at the time, Anita Gallo, I was in awe of the panel I was lucky to share the stage with. It’s certainly not every day you get to chat with David Levithan, Jonathan Stroud and Kathryn Evans about gender in the publishing world and beyond.
The day after that event, I was back at the EIBF once more to chair one of the First Book Award nominees – the wonderful Penny Joelson, along with Kathryn (who won the award the previous year for her debut ‘More of Me’). I found myself in fantastic company once again discussing Penny’s amazing debut novel ‘I Have No Secrets’.