Lovely day at the Children's Books Ireland Summer School in Dublin yesterday. I had a discussion slot with the lovely Orla Melling (Chronicles of Faerie) where we had a wonderful time grumbling about publishers and bemoaning their marketing methods. We turned up nicely colour-coordinated in matching suits, which I thought was coincidence until Orla told me it really resulted from the fairies whispering in our ears during the run-up to the event. Hardback copies of Orla's latest book, The Summer King, had just arrived displaying an absolutely stunning cover. Can't wait to read it.
A hugely pleasing bonus was that immediately after our event we got to be present at the surprise presentation of a CBI Special Award to Robert Dunbar, the doyen of children's literature in Ireland. I'd been chatting to Robert beforehand and he told me he'd been out of circulation for nearly a year because of illness, but was now fully recovered and due back on Rattlebag shortly. The look on his face when the award was announced was worth the trip on its own.
This is the first time I've been to the Summer School and I was hugely impressed. They moved the venue from Pearse Street Library to Belvedere College because of the high volume of bookings, but the place was still packed. Better yet, the enthusiasm level was through the roof.