October 12th, 2009

cheltenham literature festival

Stuart and I decided to make a holiday weekend of our trip to the Cheltenham Literature Festival, and our friend Garen Ewing was on the same panel with me, and brought along his wife Ellie, so we had a great time. On the panel, I got to meet writer of the graphic novel Salem Brownstone, John Dunning and the slightly shy but very lovely and funny host, Kieren Phelps (who'd just a couple nights previously been presenting the annual Cheltenham Illustration Awards, where Simone Lia and Tom Gauld had given the keynote speech.) Here's a link to Garen's write-up of the event.

I felt a little funny plugging a picture book when the panel was about graphic novels, but I showed a lot of my comics work, including my Vern and Lettuce strip for The DFC. Most of the audience questions were about making their own comics: how to get their comics published, Photoshop techniques, whether it's possible to make a career of making comics, etc. I briefly mentioned my studio and when I said I shared with Gary Northfield, the guy who creates Derek the Sheep for the the Beano, I saw a kid in the front row jump about a foot and suddenly he was all ears, heh heh.

The great thing about literary festivals is that you never know who you're going to run into. I got to meet the usually elusive Lucy Cousins, creator of the beautiful and boldly graphic Maisie books:

Lucy Cousins & me with our books; Maisie in the kids storytelling tent

I had a couple of my own Morris the Mankiest Monster books in my handbag, and I ended up giving one to Lucy and one to Cherie Blair, who was waiting with me in the Writer's Room before our talks. Cherie said, 'oh yes, Giles is the Purple Ronnie guy!' and went through the whole book, laughing, then blanching at the page where Morris looks at the potatoes growing out of his pants. She was really nice, I hope her talk went well.

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