It was great to be entertaining children this weekend. Exhausting (felt that afterwards) but really, really enjoyable. Our next event is in July in London. It promises to be bigger and better, but it will have a hard time toping this one! We had Sarwat Chadda and Zena Edwards, Julia Golding, Ed Vere with a Jazz band, Sylvia Cohen, Manja Stojic, Chris Mould and his Emporium, Jane Ray, James Mayhew, Sarah Dyer, Storyteller Rich Sylvester, Kayo Chingonyi and Usifu Jalloh. In short there was something for all age groups. Plus we had fantastic sets built by the Royal opera hOuse and its amazing team of local volunteers.
The Carnegie Greenaway award winners were announced on the same morning I was doing a workshop in front of around 100 children, where they showed what their picks were for the Winner. This took place at Platform in North London which is quite near where I live. The event was well organised by Islington Library Services. A full list of winners, including this year’s can be seen here. The Greenaway winner can be seen here, along with a list of previous winners. Teams of children stepped up and made presentations about their favourite books in what was a very enjoyable morning. Before we started, Sylvia Cohen warmed the children up with a few exercises to sharpen the mind and build confidence. She’s good at that.
I had to comment on each team’s work, and then run a workshop on creativity. During the workshop we discussed where ideas come from and how to hold onto and then make something of them before setting them free. I read an unfinished text for a book idea as an example (the Bear above is part of that).
At the end we handed out One page books on the creativity workshop which the children could take away. That part of the event was made possible by the sponsoring of the print run, something I hadn’t considered doing until recently. It worked fantastically well; the children went away with something they could use later, the sponsors, Singer Financial Trust and Spot On Print were able to play their parts in giving schools a little more than usual and of course for us, it marks the beginning of a collaboration that will bring literature and drama in new and enjoyable ways.
I am working on a digital version of the one page book which can be downloaded from this site
I’m still waiting for some images of the event that I can post.
I have two important events this summer. One is Pop Up 2013 and the other, running parallel to the announcing of the Carnegie Greenaway 2013 Medal Winner, is happening tomorrow, June 19 at Platform on Hornsey Road in North london. Schools have had the chance to look over the shortlist and will be making their own choices for the winners. They will announce them at the same time as the formal announcements are made.
Preparations for both events are underway and they are connected. I have always done events as part of my ‘job’- I’ve treated them like an add-on and not paid too much attention to their importance. Last year at the Pop up Festival, I did a short (20 minute) event for young children which ended up with me becoming one of this year’s festival creators/curators. I have finally realised how good my events can be, without blowing my trumpet too loudly. How many times to we creators miss out on self publicity because we’re just not thinking of the potential business? I will be writing a post about the business of creating very soon. Anyway, these two events mark a change in attitude for me since I realised that events are a big part of what I do as a creator.
I am working with a drama professional, Sylvia Cohen and we have devised a workshop (hopefully the first of many) on finding ideas that will excite, educate and entertain. The brainstorming and teamwork is energising. So, I guess the third event of the summer is the one where we get to plan and launch this refreshed approach.
Would anyone like to know how to present better? Or to run a workshop? Keep watching the Illustrationist.
ps. Here’s a sample of the workshop content. We’re making an e-book which should be ready in the next two weeks. We’re also printing a One Page Book for kinds to take a way.