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jinks & o'hare: cheltenham lit fest 2017

Just back from Cheltenham Literature Festival! They didn't actually distribute pug balloons, but a creative kid fixed that:

Philip and I did lots of events this time, starting on Friday with talking to about 400 children from several different schools about writing and illustrating Jinks & O'Hare Funfair Repair.

Some schools had to rush their kids off to catch buses, but it was great to get a chance to meet others individually in the bookshop tent, look at their drawings and sign and dedicate their books.

Everyone drew a tiny portrait of themselves with Jinks & O'Hare on a roller coaster:

Thanks to the lit fest's Director of Education Ali Mawle for introducing us!

Our next stop was Cheltenham Ladies College, which is ... rather grand, to put it mildly.

Check out this hall where they hold morning assemblies!

We had a great time talking with the girls there, who had lots of good questions and enthusiasm.

There was a prize draw for copies of Philip's Mortal Engines books.

While I waited for Philip to sign those, I got busy drawing lightning-fast portraits of some of the girls (which is actually great practice for me!).

That was fun. The girls come from all over the world, and I'm glad I got a chance to meet some of them individually.

Thanks to the team who took us around and gave us a little tour of the college!

Here's Philip being suave back in the festival's VIP Lounge.

And preparing for our next event (which did indeed involve ducks).

We were very lucky with theatres on this trip! Here's the gorgeous Parabola Theatre, and Philip there on the left, inflating one of our dice for the Jinks & O'Hare show.

Thanks to the team at the Family Event who made everything run so smoothly!

Here I'm teaching them how to draw the roller coaster:

Big thanks to everyone who came along and drew with us!

After the family event, Philip went off to do his Young Adult books event, chaired by author Philip Womack, including Alice Broadway and Melinda Salisbury.

I had a workshop to lead, and I was gutted not to be able to go along to it, but I felt a little better when I got to meet the fabulous Nadiya Hussain, children's author and winner of the 2015 Great British Bake Off.

Here's lovely Cerrie Burnell (with Philip and Scholastic publicist Katrina Smedley), who had chaired an event with Nadiya and introduced me to her when I was a bit too shy and was nervous about intruding. (I know she meets a LOT of people!) Thank you, Cerrie!

And then it was on to the Pug-a-Doodle-Do! session!

The workshop was a bit mad: about 500 people came through and it was kind of exhausting teaching people how to draw pugs, over and over again. I'm not sure they all actually realised I was an illustrator and not a children's entertainer or something, and I'm not quite sure I would do it again. But the kids and families made some lovely pugs pulling a sleigh and it was great to see it all laid out in poster form.

A lot of the kids drew themselves into the sleigh, and some of them even cut out snowflakes:

Thanks to the fab team who helped out and added more paper when a surprisingly large number of people came along!

I love going to other people's events at festivals, but I don't always get a chance. So I was thrilled to be able to attend Jim Field and Rachel Bright's picture book event. Jim taught us all how to draw a koala and I drew a picture of all three of them.

The real Jim and Rachel are a bit blurry in the last picture so here's a better one!

Here are a few more snapshots of fellow authors at the festival. Here's poet Joseph Coelho:

CN Lester and Juno Dawson:

Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris, who just did a nature book together:

With excellent illustrator Yuval Zommer (check out his 'Sad-Looking Supermarket Fruit & Veg' series on Twitter):

A pic with Andrew Marr (mostly to impress my husband Stuart):

And Jim Field again with another one of his collaborators, writer Kes Gray:

And what writers and illustrators always like to see: a healthy stock of books in the bookshop! Thanks so much to the festival for being awesome and making everything run so well! I loved meeting everyone and was rather sad when I had to run off! You can follow the festival on Twitter at @CheltLitFest and see more photos on its hashtag, #CheltLitFest.


Sarah McIntyre

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