Yesterday I went to the Random House Christmas party, and it was amazing to see so many of the illustrators and writers I admire so much. But it was almost too much of a good thing seeing them all at once and it made my head spin a little, not to mention the free-flowing drink. It was great to talk with my publisher, David Fickling, and my picture book editor, Hannah Featherstone, and our book's designer, Ness Wood. The highlight of the afternoon was finding Satoshi Kitamura, one of the first people I ever contacted, years ago, because I liked his work so much. I'd met up with him and his wife and seen him a few times since, so he felt more like a real friend. We hunkered down in the corner, joined a bit later by Joel Stewart, and had a good chat and it made me feel better about the whole event. It was great to see Chris Wormell, too, the other person with whom I had a real sort of conversation, even though I'd only met him once before. And a bit of a nice chat with Posy Simmonds, and Anthony Browne and Jane Ray told me a bit about the exciting-sounding projects they're working on at the moment.
I got to see Shirley Hughes, as well as Ian Beck, Joyce Dunbar, Nicholas Allan, Peter & Sian Bailey, Ted Dewan, Joanna Harris, Klaus Flugge, Steve Augarde, Aidan Potts, and overheard Chris Riddell and Dave McKean in the corner having a very intense business conversation. I only took a few photos in the pub afterward, which turned out very badly, but this one of John Vernon Lord and Mini Grey looked slightly better. I was very glad to meet Mini Grey, as I've admired her work for so long, and my tutor at college had referred me several times to John Vernon Lord's work, so it was great to put a face to the name and even better, to spend a little while browsing the small but marvellous sketchbook he produced from his pocket.
Since I was in town, I lined up two more meetings with people, including a new illustrator at United Agents, Rachel Bright, who was in town for another party. We'd both signed on about the same time with our agent, along with Sally Nicholls, so we felt a bit of happy camaraderie and had fun catching up about what we both have been doing for the last few years, although I was starting to flag at that point.
Then I met up with Simone Lia, whom I really like and whose work I hugely admire (including her work in the DFC). But by that time I was a jibbering wreck, and poor Simone had to put up with me not being able to string together a sentence and eventually having to give up and go home. I'd stopped drinking after the Random House party, but meeting so many people just turned my brain to fudge. An exciting day, but all a bit much. Back to work now.
Oh, and my DFC editor, Ben Sharpe, wants me to clarify that he actually said 'parky' means 'chilly', not 'soggy', so I was reading my e-mails too fast and thus I've hugely maligned him in my last post. Sorry, Ben!