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Last weekend I took The New Neighbours to the Cambridge Literary Festival and for the first time wore my BIG GOLD HAT. Sadly there were not many people in the festival lounge so I had to sit there looking Very Literary and admiring it myself.


Literary Review cover by Chris Riddell, of course it is

For the train ride up, I'd packed some top-notch lit by local Cambridge authors Dave Shelton and Chris Priestley:



(Spot glimpses of my new dress by Esther Marfo.) Spring was coming to Cambridge, look at the blossoms!



Here's the view from Festival Headquarters at the Cambridge Union:



For me, the highlight of the festival itself was getting to see terrific writer-illustrator Nadia Shireen! I hardly ever get to see her, but she's one of the funniest people on social media that I know. (@NadiaShireen on Twitter, if you're wondering.)



And here are some of the bunnies we drew at The New Neighbours event! They're a little hard to make out in this light, but they were super bunnies, and we had a lot of fun. Here are some of the kids who stuck around right to the end of the signing afterward.



Here's another local picture book author, Izabela Baker. She sent photos later of her daughter, who went away afterward and made a terrific bunny costume for herself.



If you missed the event, here's a quick tutorial about how to draw a bunny (which you can download and print from my website, along with other activity sheets).


Download here

Big thanks to the Cambridge team who organised my visit - Cathy Moore, Katie Edwards, Mo Soper, Greg Clowes and Llunae (left), who looked after me on the day.





The festival was SUCH a great excuse to get up to Cambridge to see these fine folk for dinner: Woodrow Phoenix, Pam Smy, Dave Shelton and Bridget Hannigan.



Pam and Dave have been working so hard on their books lately that almost no one has seen them, so I'm going to post another photo, just so we don't forget what they look like.



Extra bonus, when I stayed with Bridget and Woodrow, I got to try on Woodrow's specs... wahey!



Final stop was brunch with the excellent Chris Priestley, who is a terribly funny writer, brilliant painter and one of those all-around sensible people who keeps things sane for me when politics get too crazy. (But I mostly only get to talk with him on the Internet, so this was a very special treat.) I loved his first Maudlin Towers book and I can't wait to read the second.



A few more pics of blossoming Cambridge:







Oh! And one more thing: on the way back, in London, I stopped off at Cowlings & Wilcox art supply shop in Shoreditch and suddenly remembered Alejandro Ramiro, one of my ol' art-college chums, is the manager there. So of course we had to have a glorious golden hat-fitting session.

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Sarah McIntyre

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