Entries in essex book festival (8)


Anyone for History?

The Stavoren in 1658. Detail from drawing by W. Van de Velde the Elder inNational Maritime Museum catalogueRather a long blog-post for my Authors Electric monthly slot but - well, I blame the children. I've been visiting primary schools in the Tendring Hundred under the auspices of the Essex Book Festival - and somehow this set me off ...

Anyone for History?

Also - it's the first chance I've had to write about my new book. Just wish I could decide on a TITLE!


Arcadia in the East

The month of March means the Essex Book Festival. Splendid choice of events across the county, mainly in libraries. I had a happy afternoon in a cosy corner of Epping Library last week talking about Fifty Years in the Fiction Factory. Such a good audience - I wanted to go on for ever!  Wrote my Authors Electric March blog after a trip to Jaywick where literary culture fights the good fight from a restored Martello Tower.



It's been impossible not to panic about the likely reception for A Ravelled Flag - the middle movement of the Strong Winds trilogy - a bit longer, structurally more complex, less charming perhaps, certainly darker. I wonder whether Louise Weir, founder and director of Love Reading, realises quite what her generous comments on this second volume have meant to me? (Or indeed, Seona Ford, Chairman of the Essex Book Festival, who wrote a personal letter saying how much she had enjoyed this sequel.)

The Lovereading comment:
The story of 14 year old Donny and his new found friends that began in The Salt-Stained Book continues in this gripping sequel.  Donny's long lost great Aunt has arrived from China on a boat and rescued him and his mother from the care system. Her gorgeous boat Strong Winds (a Chinese junk) becomes their home but it's not long before Donny and his friends and family are caught up in yet more dark, intense and suspense-filled action and adventure that is cleverly interspersed with Chinese tales from great aunt Ellen's life and a good dose of wit as well. It's a great read.  Volume three Ghosting Home will be published in Summer 2012.

And more than that, Louise called the SSB "a very special book"   Phew!


A private view

 Francis has had an operation for a slipped disc disc and I've no idea who allowed cartoonist Nick Newman into the recovery room to capture this unerringly accurate sketch.

The good news is that the 'agreeable red' appears to be working its wonted magic (who needs blood in their veins after all?) and Francis will be returning to the fray in good time for the Essex Book Festival and a trip to Glasgow next month. (Perhaps I'll need to replace the drip with some fine single malt a few days beforehand to help him acclimatise. You can keep your morphine and extra strength pain killers, he says.)

April 4th 2011. Depressingly, Francis isn't better. A disc in the lower back is now causing great discomfort. Standing and travelling no fun at all and any illicit morphine offers would be gratefully received.


new cover for Strange Days Indeed

I find myself at a loss for words ..

Monday March 8th 2010. Well, that's what I said (or didn't say) to start with but, now that I've seen the UK paperback in its strange new guise at both the Essex Book Festival launch and the Aldeburgh Literary Festival, I think it's rather brilliant.

(It also manages to match Francis's flashy new Essex Cricket Club Vice-President's tie!)