Cressida Cowell in Abingdon

At 10 o’clock on a grey day in May, over 250 children from four schools filed into a hall at Chandlings school brimming with excitement about what was about to happen.

After a brief introduction from Christine Cook, the Chandlings head teacher, multi award-winning author Cressida Cowell took to the floor.

Cressida immediately captured the children’s attention with stories of childhood holidays spent on an uninhabited island off the coast of Scotland.  Her father was an environmentalist who worked with the likes of David Attenborough.  Although he loved his work, he missed the outdoors, so the family spent weeks at a time on the island with no electricity.  As time passed, they built a house which meant that they could spend summers at a time roaming the island.

Cressida talked about how the surroundings inspired her creativity as she began life as a writer and how characters from her book were inspired by sea creatures.  She talked about giants and fairies inspiring locations in her books and how illustrations from other books and fashion prints helped her develop ideas for the drawings.  

She taught the children how to speak Dragonese whilst the adults in the room were told to put their hands over their ears so they couldn’t hear what was going on. Needless to say, the children fell about laughing at what they were taught. 

The event closed with Cressida talking about ‘Free Writing Friday’ which she launched at the end of April.  It’s a new schools campaign designed to encourage primary school children to write for pleasure.  You can read more about the initiative here.

The event closed with Cressida answering questions from the audience before a queue formed for the  children to get their books signed.

The event was repeated in the afternoon at Thomas Reade School with pupils from OLA Juniors in attendance.  The response about Free Writing Friday was excellent and the excited children were thrown imaginary feathers to help inspire their creativity.

Both events were brilliant, and Cressida was outstanding.  The children hung onto every word and left the halls buzzing with ideas.

After the school events were finished, Cressida headed to Mostly Books where the team had re-arranged the shop in preparation for her in-shop signing.  A queue had begun to form well before the event started with excited children clutching their books in anticipation of meeting the author.

Cressida didn’t disappoint!!  She chatted to every child, signed their books and posed for photos.  After their books were signed, each child was offered a dragon stamp on their arm and in their books to remind them of meeting Cressida.  After over an hour of chatting and book signing, the last guest left the shop happy and inspired after meeting such a world class author. 

More photos of the event can be found on our Facebook page here.  

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