Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Oxfordshire Book Award 2012 - cake and five questions with Patrick Ness and Nadia Shireen

This year's Oxfordshire Book Award ceremony took place on October 4 at Abingdon School, and we were once again very honoured to be running the bookshop on the day. Here are the covers of the books from the three winners: Patrick Ness for 'A Monster Calls', Tony Ross illustrator of Gangsta Granny, and Nadia Shireen, author and illustrator of 'Good Little Wolf':
 
Hold on a second, those aren't books - that's CAKE! 

Yes, one of the great traditions of the Oxfordshire Book Award (as well as the Carnegie Shadowing Forum) is the most fantastic cakes produced - and eaten by children from the ten schools attending.

As usual, we set up whilst the ceremony was going on - and then authors and children piled into the hall, signing tables were hastily set up - and children got to meet the authors that attended.

Below you can see all the authors that attended - from the top, Patrick Ness, Nadia Shireen, Tony Ross, Katherine Langrish lurking behind Sally Nicholls and finally Jo Cotterill at the bottom:

Pupils pose with Patrick Ness...
...whilst students from Henry Box School show off their signed copies...
We grabbed a few minutes with two authors at the event - and in time-honoured tradition asked them five questions about their writing life...


Five questions with...Patrick Ness' Writing Life


1.    What are you working on at the moment?
A bunch of short stories.

2.    What is the best writing tip you’ve ever been given?
Write a book that you, yourself would like to read. You’ll be surprised that a lot of people don’t.

3.    What’s the best thing and the worst thing about being a children’s writer?
Best – as a children’s writer, you have the best readers in the world. The worst thing is not being to go to every school that requests you come.

4.    Do you have a writer’s survival kit, eg a place, thing or snack essential before you can start work?
I write a lot in the London library. I take my laptop and write there.

5.    What was your biggest breakthrough?
'The Knife of Never Letting Go'. It was really when that book took off, which was a delightful surprise!

Next we talked with author and illustrator Nadia Shireen...


Five questions with...Nadia Shireen's Writing Life


1.    What are you working on at the moment?
My third picture book which is due out next year.

2.    What is the best writing tip you’ve ever been given?
Keep plugging away, and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. You should please yourself first, because if you are not enjoying it, you can tell in the drawings. But it can be hard!

3.    What’s the best thing and the worst thing about being a children’s writer?
Best: being paid to do what you love. Worst: there isn’t really a worst. I used to commute to a job, and now this is so much more enjoyable. I guess loneliness can be a problem, but you could work in a studio with other artists if that was a problem.

4.    Do you have a writer’s survival kit, eg a place, thing or snack essential before you can start work?
I always have music. Music is hugely important to me. It helps me relax, gets me in a drawing frame of mind.

5.    What was your biggest breakthrough?
Pure luck. I was spotted at a graduation show, people liked my work.

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