I have been very lucky to have been part of many creative opportunities. I count my lucky stars when I think of the experiences and memories I have had and continue to make, here’s what I’ve been up to, so far:
August 2019 – The Edinburgh International Book Festival has now been and gone. This year I was delighted to chair seven events! From picture books to the stage adaptation of Jeckyll & Hyde, I had a fantastic time and learned so much from this experience.
June 2019 – when my friend Ann Landmann came to me and said ‘I have an idea’, I knew immediately that I wanted to get involved. Not long after, the inaugural Cymera Sci-Fi, Horror & Fantasy Writing Festival was on its way. Held in the Pleasance Courtyard in Edinburgh, I was honoured to chair Philip Caveney, Moira McPartlin, Claire McFall, Rachel Burge and Helen Grant. From ghosts to zombies and everything in between, it was fantastic! Roll on Cymera 2020!
May 2019 – my friend and fellow SCBWI member Justin Davies launched his first MG novel ‘Help! I smell Monsters’. Shenanigans and fun were had at his launch as we played monster card games while wearing Medusa headgear and werewolf hands! It was such a great experience chairing his night at Blackwells Edinburgh.
February 2019 – my writing buddy PM Freestone launched her debut YA novel Shadowscent into the world and I was asked to chair her Edinburgh event. It was amazing being a part of her big day and I was so excited to see a packed house and the longest signing queue I have ever seen at Waterstones Princes Street, Edinburgh.
December 2018 – I was delighted to read out one of my stories at the All wrapped Up event, held every year in Edinburgh to raise awareness of the work that the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity do for the Royal Hospital for Sick Children. A proud moment indeed.
November 2018 – This event was very much a ‘I’ll submit to this competition but I have no hope of being selected to read out my pitch on stage’. Reader, I did! The best parts were pitching my story to four amazing literary gods/agents and being a part of the event with another five fantastic writers and illustrators.
November 2018 – My friend and SCBWI colleague Liz MacWhirter published her first book Black Snow Falling, I was delighted to chair the Edinburgh event as part of a UK tour she was embarking on with two other debut novelists. Rowena House, (author of The Goose Road) and Tracey Mathias (author of Night of the Party) were beside me as we discussed everything from favourite childhood books to being published in the modern world.
October 2018 – I was asked to run a Creative Writing workshop during the Portobello Book Festival. I’m not an expert by any means but I managed to enthuse everyone there to think about the characters in their stories and how different they can be. We used go-gos to help us distinguish between each one. Great fun AND I came away with an idea for another book.
August 2017 – First event of the month came in the format of my first ever chair of a book launch. Thankfully I had the impressive Moira McPartlin to talk to about the second book in her Sun Song trilogy ‘Wants of the Silent’. Having already read her first book in the series ‘Ways of the Doomed’ and her debut novel, one of my favourites, ‘The Incomers’, I knew I was in safe hands.
August just kept on giving and the Edinburgh International Book Festival gave me the opportunity to chair an event on an even bigger scale – The Great Gender Debate. It turned out to be a sold out event and I think this has to be one of those moments in my life that I will always keep pinching myself to see if it was real. Being on stage and leading the questions with my SCBWI co-chair at the time, Anita Gallo, I was in awe of the panel. It’s certainly not every day you get to chat with David Levithan, Jonathan Stroud and Kathryn Evans about gender in the publishing world and beyond.
The day after that event, I was back at the EIBF once more to chair one of the First Book Award nominees – the wonderful Penny Joelson, along with Kathryn (who won the award the previous year for her YA debut ‘More of Me’). I found myself in fantastic company once again discussing Penny’s amazing debut novel ‘I Have No Secrets’.
March 2017 – I was honoured to chair the last stop of the YA Lost and Found tour. Five debut novelists touring British cities with their stories, banter and infectious love of books. Glasgow Waterstones was the venue and it was a pleasure to be in their company and get the chance to interview them in front of an adoring crowd. Patrice Lawrence, Olivia Levez, Kathyrn Evans, Eugene Lambert and Sue Wallman – I salute you. I also provided them with a little something to ensure they never got lost ever again.
November 2016 – I became the co-chair of SCBWI South East Scotland. A friendly, vibrant community of like-minded literary souls. I helped organise events, teach-ins, write-ins and literary socials for all of our members based across Scotland. Although my two year tenure is now up (finished November 2018), I remain an active member of its British Isles community.
August 2016 – I was delighted to be selected for Story Shop, an event held at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. I read out my story ‘Blood on my Apollos’ to family, friends and some well-behaved strangers in the famous book festival Speigletent. An amazing experience I will never forget. Of course, the obligatory visit to the Author’s Yurt was required.