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scbwi conference 2015

Here's my favourite photo from this year's conference of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators in Winchester: debut author Kathryn Evans modeling her Seawig in front of seafaring costume judges Philip Reeve and Jonny Duddle.

Photo by Teri Terry

And check out the party costumes of organisers Dom Conlon (fish bones in the beard!) and George Kirk (giant squid, with Seawig!).

Photos by Philip Reeve, George Kirk & Candy Gourlay

The SCBWI Conference is a great chance for long-time friends and total newbies to meet up, celebrate their books, learn how to make and pitch new ones and generally muck about.

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guardian children's fiction prize 2015

This was a busy weekend! I'll blog next about the pirate shenanigans at the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators Conference next, but first up, Thursday night's Guardian Children's Fiction Prize ceremony. Big congratulations to David Almond, who scooped this year's prize with A Song for Ella Grey! (Here he is with writer SF Said and me.)

David's books reworks the myth of Orpheus, whose wife Eurydice has died, about how he travels to the underworld to bring her back. (You can read a Guardian review by Marcus Sedgwick here.) I don't think anyone was surprised David had won, only that he hadn't won the prize earlier! (You can only win it once; Philip Reeve won it for the fourth book, A Darkling Plain, in his Mortal Engines quartet, so our books are disqualified.) I haven't yet read A Song for Ella Grey but I'm excited to dive in. (Click here to see the books on the prize longlist.)

Other highlights of the evening: Seeing illustrator and writer Michael Foreman and his hot-off-the-press new book spanning his career, A Life in Pictures. I think the last time I saw Michael was in 2008, one of the very early book events I went to, as a reviewer. He has an amazing career and he'd only just seen the first copy of this book; Philip and I felt honoured to get a peek. Seven Stories centre in Newcastle will be hosting a year-long exhibition of his work, tied in with the launch of the book, so if you're up there, do go along to see it! Here's a peek at some of his work on the Guardian website.

Second highlight, An Island of Our Own-shortlisted author Sally Nicholls brought along her new baby and I got to give it a cuddle. :) I've read An Island of Our Own and really enjoyed it, particularly the way she portrayed the Internet. So many stories I hear about kids and the Internet are about its dark side, but Sally focuses on the amazing power of the Internet for good, and how the young people in the story interact with it.

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creative pugs

Ha ha, fortunately this incessant 'follow me!!' thing in the comments isn't a problem on LiveJournal, as far as I can tell. Or Twitter or Instagram even, really. But on PopJam, it's definitely a Thing.

Went for a morning coffee today with Stuart and did a joint portrait drawing. :)

cakes, pop and jam

At least two fun things are happening today! First, Cecily Milway is going to school for book week dressed as Astra from Cakes in Space. (Big thanks to her writer-illustrator dad for tweeting the photo!)

The other thing is that I've joined PopJam and they're going to give me a shout out this afternoon! If you're on PopJam, come find me at 'SarahMcIntyre'. And my co-author Philip Reeve joined just last night, so you can look out for him at 'Philip_Reeve'.

I found out about PopJam at Zoom Rockman's party from PopJam Content Producer Melisa Hasan ('melisa'), who encouraged me to join. And my first friends there were Zoom ('Zoom_Rockman') and Jamie Smart ('FindChaffy')! The app is free to download, and it's very creative and drawing-based. I haven't had a lot of time yet to explore it, but it seems really exciting. Also, PopJam has an 11pm bedtime, which is actually rather healthy.

zoom rockman solo comics show

I've been watching Zoom Rockman make and publish his own comics for a long time - since he was about 11 - so I was keen to see his solo comics show, launching his Zoom Comic Issue No.11, which opened last night at lovely Westminster Reference Library, right next to London's Leicester Square.

Photo by Melisa Hasan, Content Producer at PopJam

Zoom doesn't just publish his own comics, he gets the whole idea of presentation and makes amazing props to go along with his comics. Check out this burger stand! His family are furniture designers, so they have good access to cardboard and Zoom makes the most of it.

If you're in central London, do drop by to see Zoom's work, right from his very first comic! It's helpfully labelled, and he can get away with all sorts of logo-related issues, at least until he turns 16. (He has an agent and there was at least one solicitor in the gathering, so possibly longer than that.) :)

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