I’m running a full-day workshop in the beautiful Newport Wetlands nature reserve on the 18th June. It will focus on writing setting, and we will use the spectacular reserve for inspiration. This is the nature reserve where I once worked as a field guide, and the reserve that inspired much of my book FLYAWAY.
Details are here, and poster attached.
It would be GRAND to see you there. And possibly the best thing of all – half of the fee goes directly to the RSPB reserve for conservation of its special creatures and habitats.
‘Writing the Wild’ Creative Writing Workshop
Saturday 18 June
10am – 4pm
Price: RSPB members £36 / non members £45
Join award-winning author Lucy Christopher to discover the ways in which writing the wild and using setting can be important and inspiring for fiction. In a fun and interactive day of writing exercises and exploration, Lucy will guide you through the methods she uses to research and develop her novels. No need to come with fiction already written but be prepared to explore, develop and have some serious play in this special, inspiring location!
RSPB Newport Wetlands
Where is it?
- Postcode: NP18 2BZ
- County: Newport
I know, I know…I should have written in this thing MONTHS ago. But I tell you…I have just been too busy! This year has been so crazy busy, unlike anything I’ve ever experienced…EVER! Imagine a Merry-go-round sped up about one billion times, complete with super sonic flashing lights and cheering faces whizzing past … and that’s how it’s felt. I’ve already been to Germany twice, Australia twice, America once, and round the bend several times …
I think I should give you the ten-plot-point summary of the past few months :
1). In March I launched STOLEN in Germany. I went to the Leipzig book fair (cool manga characters wandering round!), Hamburg (sat in my hotel room and worked on my PhD) and Cologne (met some super nice Lit festival people!). This was all great fun, even though the crowds I seemed to attract to watch me seemed very SERIOUS. I guess that might have something to do with the fact that my German cover is uber scary….it’s black and menacing and with a man’s face lurking behind. The German title is quite scary too. It’s called ‘Ich Wuenschte Ich Koennte Dich Hassen (which in English means ‘I wished I could hate you’). Apparently it’s doing quite well in Germany. I hope so. I learnt German all the way through school and even went on exchange to Germany for two months before my final year of school. I adore this country and I adore its’ language too – I love the way its’ sounds seem to erupt from the back of one’s throat. It feels like such a privilege to have my words translated into it.
2). End March, I did some great school visits in Sydney and Melbourne … including the most amazing school in Sydney called Newington who runs their own Literature Festival over three days. Gorgeous place, very inspiring too. I even went back to my old school in Melbourne to do a visit – get this, some of the pictures on the walls are still the same from when I was there YEARS ago … (some of the teachers are still the same too!)
3). End May – back to Melbourne for the wonderful Reading Matters Conference. Imagine this – a whole conference dedicated to YA fiction. Blissful stuff. I sat next to one of my childhood heroes – Melina Marchetta. I also signed a copy of Stolen for Markus Zusak … yes, you did read that correctly, author of THE BOOK THIEF! I think this might rank as a career highlight. However, I did have to ask him how to spell his name – how EMBARRASSING is that?!
4). I returned to Germany in May once again for the Saarbrueken Book Festival – gorgeous little town, and gorgeous little festival. My delightful German editor joined me for this one – sie ist sehr nett.
5). In June I was on a panel to decide the winner of this year’s Branford Boase Award, and the winner is …. HA! I’m not going to tell you this YET….you need to wait a couple more days at least. But I will tell you that it’s a book that I absolutely think is one of the best books I’ve read for a very long time ….but I would do, wouldn’t I?! It’s the winner after all. But it’s a good winner, a very, very good winner indeed…. It’s so good I wish I’d written it!
6). End June I jetted off to the steamy armpit of New Orleans to pick up my PRINTZ HONOR AWARD for STOLEN (yes, you read that correctly too! Yay!). I spoke in front of 500 librarians (eek!) and then I carried my lovely award home in my hand luggage all the way. I also got to present FLYAWAY to hundreds of librarians too (which is very exciting as FLYAWAY isn’t out in USA until October – they all got advance, uncorrected proof copies to take away…I’d love to know what they thought….hmmm…). New Orleans was one of the most amazing cities also…I rode in a mule-drawn cart as well as on a paddle-steamer. I came over all-Huck-Finn. Plus, I got to spend time with my fantastic American publishing team.
7), Maggie Stiefvater gave me 5 stars on Good Reads for FLYAWAY (I like this fact so much it deserves a point of its own!)
8). I’m just about to set off for a whirlwind tour of Oz….to attend the Prime Minister Awards, for which Flyaway is shortlisted (cross fingers everyone! Cross toes too please!) and to discuss Stolen the FILM (exciting, hey!? Even more exciting is the fact that I may or may not be meeting my ‘Ty’!)
9). I’m a good way into finishing this third book (after several misguided attempts in the wrong direction!). Easy peasy. Ha! Let’s hope so anyway!
10). End of July – I present my Creative Writing PhD to four examiners, including the very brainy Peter Hunt (Lit academic), the very adorable Steve Voake (YA author), the very lyrical Linda Newberry (YA author) and the very important Paul Davies (head of graduate school). Wish me luck for this one too. My PhD is pretty much all about the writing of Stolen, just in case you were interested.
So, that’s it for now chickens. Take care out there. Hopefully it won’t be forever again until I write once more…. I’ll try my best anyway. ;-) In the meantime keep those toes crossed for Flyaway at the PM Awards, and watch out as I hand my baton over to the new Branford Boase champion… it’s a big baton, wouldn’t want to hit you with it!
I’m going to leave you with my favourite quote of the moment – “Be kind. For everyone is fighting a hard battle.” (Plato)
Wishing you sunshine and salutations,
Well, I went to the Costa Book Awards last night. There’s something gloriously indulgent about going to a book award ceremony which you know you haven’t won. You get to take photos of silly things for one thing (see below), get to feast on the delightful morsels of food without fear of them exploding in your hands and ruining your outfit moments before you know you have to make a speech, and you get to star spot.
I brought my mum along to this night (she’s been asking…no, pleading…to go to somewhere with tasty awards morsels for months now) and we had fun. And reader, guess what, there were paparazzi present at this awards ceremony … although, when Mum and I left the event, there was a distinct lack of camera snapping going on. In fact, when they saw us coming, they decided to take their fag break. Nevermind, I rubbed a shoulder with Ian Hislop (on the way to reaching for another one of those delightful coffee mouse things), and Mum got a smile from Andrew Neil (which she’s still pleased about!), and I got to spend some time with the ever-lovely Tim Bowler and his equally delightful wife. I also had some fab chats with the other shortlisted children’s authors Sharon Dogar and Jonathan Stroud (what lovely people they both are!). In fact, my mum even invited Jonathan and his family for tea! And finally, of course, I congratulated Jason Wallace for his fabulous book, Out Of Shadows, which won the Children’s Category. I met Jason about a year and a half ago where we were sharing a panel on teenage fiction – it was his first event and Out Of Shadows was still only in proofs. I knew it would be a powerful book even then, and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. It lived up to all my expectations. So, reader, if you haven’t read Out of Shadows yet….get out there now to your friendly local bookshop and snaffle a copy quick. It’s going to be a strong contender for this year’s Branford Boase too, I’m sure.
Oh, and I almost forgot to tell you who won the overall Costa Book Award! Well, for the second year running the prize went to a poetry collection, this time to Jo Shapcott’s Of Mutibility. I read this on the long train home back to South Wales and rather enjoyed it. So, while you’re out there buying Out Of Shadows, perhaps pick this one up too.
Anyway, here’s some pics so you can pretend you were there too. Sorry they aren’t very brilliant – ‘fraid we had to make do with camera phones. I did try for you though!
Wishing you morsels and magic,
Me and the lovely Tim Bowler
Me, Tim, Tim's lovely wife, and the superb Jonathan Stroud!
The Children's Category shortlist, one judge, plus Mum!
Jo Shapcott and Stars!
The Winner - Jo Shapcott!
The winner is... ME! Ummm... no... it was Jo Shapcott!
I wanted to write a blog post to wish you all a Merry Christmas. Whatever you’re doing, out there in the world, I hope it’s special and I hope you have someone special to share it with.
I’ve done many things at Christmas. I’ve had a BBQ on the beach, I’ve eaten crayfish from an iced bath, I’ve decorated a Christmas tree called Fritz in the depths of Southern Germany, I’ve eaten a six course meal with a load of strangers in the Lake District, I’ve been with family in an ancient cider mill in Herefordshire, and, many times, have I listened to the Queen’s speech while munching on Christmas pudding in Wales. Each year, Christmas for me is simultaneously different and familiar; made up of traditions old and new. Things change every year. The strangest things remain the same.
Some traditions remain wherever I am. There are always stockings filled with silly gifts, and they always contain a slightly squishy orange at the bottom. I am always on the phone for at least several hours, calling family and friends who live everywhere, all over the world. At some point over the Christmas meal, I always remember someone who I forgot to send a Christmas card to. My mum is ever present. Christmas is her favourite day of the year, so to imagine it without her involved is like imagining Santa without his sleigh. Christmas, for me, is my mum. I’m not sure one exists without the other.
But there are changes this year, too. This year I will be celebrating Christmas for the first time without my grandparents, a change that will feel very vivid indeed. This year is the first Christmas that I can remember being snowed in. Loss and seclusion, absence and isolation; things familiar to many at Christmas, and things I’m thinking about a lot this year. Looking around the little Welsh town I’m living in right now I can see that Christmas isn’t always a happy time for everyone; I’ve noticed the homeless person in the doorway of the supermarket, and I think about my great Aunt who is worried about leaving her house this year because of the ice. Perhaps, for the first time ever, this year feels more balanced. Joy merged with sadness; all mixed up in a Christmas pudding.
And I guess that’s probably important to remember. Laugh and smile and eat and eat and eat … but don’t be afraid to cry a bit too, if you want to. Christmas has got everything, and it’s all wrapped up there under the tree. Unwrap the good stuff, but don’t be afraid of the strangely shaped gift from great Aunty Nora that’s in there too.
I’ve got lots of gifts to be grateful for this year. Stolen won stacks of prizes, including the Branford Boase Award in the UK and the Gold Inky Award in Australia. Flyaway too has held it’s own, getting on the shortlist for the Waterstones Prize and the Costa Book Award (keep your eyes peeled for this…it gets announced in January!), and being on the longlist for the Carnegie Medal. I’ve met the most amazing readers and librarians and teachers and bookish sorts all over the world. I’ve had the privilege of working with some wonderful mentors and teaching some wonderful students, and I’ve thought lots about the world and life and all that sort of stuff. I’m now working on a third book, which is hard, but I’m told that anything worth anything is hard. Expect to see that in about a year or so.
In the meantime, stay happy and healthy and inquisitive. Enjoy your Christmas, even the pesky brussel sprouts.
Thank you so much for all your support this year.
Wishing you pudding and presents,
The news that Flyaway is on the shortlist for Children’s Section of the Costa Book Awards has just been announced. It’s tremendously exciting.
Flyaway is such a special book to me. It’s taken me years to get it right, and, more than anything I’ve ever done this book taught me how to write. I have written this book in third person, first person, present tense, past tense, from a boy’s perspective and from a girl’s perspective. It was even a fantasy novel at one point!
When I got the idea for the book I was sick in bed, and I was thinking about the similarity between the images of long term illness and the migration of wild swans. I kept thinking about images of whiteness and coldness, images of unease and hope. A migration is a little like a long term illness – in both you don’t know if you’re going to get to the other side, or how you’re going to make it….both of them require a large dose of hope (which Emily Dickinson once called ‘that thing with feathers’).
And Flyaway is about hope essentially … hope and love and finding your flock around you. Plus, it’s dedicated to my grandparents. My Grandfather is currently very sick with cancer, and it’s a blessing that he gets to hear this news before he flies off himself.
Thanks Costa for shortlisting me! I’m delighted. :-)
The other (really really good!) books on the shortlist are:
Annexed by Sharon Dogar (an ex-Chicken House author whom I have shared many a Chicken House event with!)
Out of Shadows by Jason Wallace (Really can’t wait to read this one. It’s set in Zimbabwe for one thing, and Jason is lovely)
Bartimaeus: The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud (What an exciting book!)
Sending cheer and cheesecake,
Don’t forget – I’m speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival tomorrow (Sat 16th) at 4.15pm with the wonderful Barry Cunningham and talented CJ Skuse (my friend, fellow Chicken author and, believe it or not, ex-student!). Come along, why don’t you?!! There are still tickets available. We will be talking about the X Factor in teen fiction – how do you get it, what is it, and do we even have it! Ha!
It should be rad (now there’s a word I haven’t used in a long time…perhaps I’m going to bring it back…come along to the festival event tomorrow and I’ll try to slot the word ‘rad’ into my conversation!). Perhaps a prize if anyone spots it?!
Free smiles too for anyone who attends! Of course we’ll be signing too.
Hey, guess what Gang!?
Both of my books have recently been listed for brilliant book awards!
Firstly, FLYAWAY has been longlisted for the lovely and prestigious UK Literacy Award. This is a fab and important award, voted for by teachers and with the aim of picking a book that uses language in a particularly evocative or imaginative way. I loved playing with the writing and imagery of Flyaway…it was what I enjoyed most about this book! As I said over on my other insideadog.com.au blog post, I’m now crossing my fingers that my quiet, feathered book makes it to the next stage. There are wings inside this book, ones just itching to stretch and fly.
The other exciting news is that STOLEN has been shortlisted for the Inky Awards. This is brilliant news as these awards are absolutely wonderful. They are voted for by teens so are a really good indication of what you guys out there really like to read. I’m so honoured to have made it onto this shortlist (and with such other fab books for company too!) And I’m really very grateful. THANK YOU kind and lovely judges.
Now …. If YOU feel like voting for STOLEN to WIN this amazing award…you can!
Check out the voting on the insideadog website. There are great prizes to win if you vote too! You can vote for it here!
Anyway, I’m meant to be writing Book 3, instead of getting so excited about my other two books that I want to jump around my living room like a pogo stick. Must get back to the tappety-tap…
Wishing you delight and dancing,
Everyone is warmly invited to attend the Australian launch party for Lucy’s second novel, Flyaway. More details can be found on the events section of Lucy’s Facebook Fanpage (where you can RSVP, too). But just quickly, the Flyaway Launch Party will be held on 15th April from 5.30pm in Enchanted by Books in Williamstown (177 Ferguson Street, near Williamstown North train station).
Lucy will be talking about the book and her inspirations for it, as well as reading from the novel. She will be on hand to answer questions and sign copies of both Flyaway and Stolen. Please come on down for a fun, relaxed evening of talking, mingling and nibbling.
It would be great to see as many of you there as possible to help launch this book into the Southern Hemisphere! Free smiles for all who attend! If possible, please RSVP you attendance either on Lucy’s Facebook Fanpage or by calling the shop on 03 9397 1154 (this is just to help us confirm numbers for food).
Thank-you to all that attended the launch of Flyaway and made the night a wonderful success last week. During the launch, Lucy discussed Flyaway with Barry Cunningham from The Chicken House (picutred). Have a look at Lucy’s diary to see where she’ll be discussing Flyaway next!
Lucy will be officially launching her second book FLYAWAY on Thursday 28th Jan in Bath Waterstones at 6.30pm (Milsom Street).
Everyone and anyone is warmly invited to attend to help set this book out on its first flight into the world. Barry Cunningham from The Chicken House will also be there to ask Lucy lots of questions about the process of writing and publishing this novel.
There will be chance for questions from the floor too, and of course time for book signing! Come along for a feathery night to remember!