Authors don’t just write. There are any number of peripheral activities essential to success. And I’m not talking about research or reappointing the writing ‘shed’ (invariably nothing of the sort).
I’m referring to the round of events which many of us are asked to attend and which we would be insane to pass up. I’ve done a lot recently – which is why this blog has suffered from neglect – and enjoyed every minute.
I know there are authors out there who hate the very idea of meeting their readers. Solitary creatures by nature, they would rather impale themselves upon their pens than have to deal with the public. Me – I love it. But that’s because I come from an acting background and positively thrive on interaction. OK, I admit it. I’m a sucker for applause.
Some of the most genuine comes from the kids I encounter when out and about. After all, if kids hate you, you soon know about it. They tend to give you that dead-eyed stare. My most recent event bears that out – I had the pleasure for the second year running of attending the Kids Lit Quiz London heat at Broxbourne School. The appreciation we received from young readers was brilliant. (And hello Herts & Essex High – it was lovely meeting you). You can read more about it here and next week I’ll be at the national final in Oxford.
At a time when the media loves to moan on about kids abandoning books for electronic devices and the internet, I am buoyed up by the breadth of literary knowledge displayed by the participating teams. These are not just a bunch of questions about Harry Potter. The quiz covers everything from obscure Russian folk tales to the nuances of Alex Rider.
Well done to City of London School for Girls 2 for winning and congratulations also to Herts & Essex High 1 and Blackheath High 1 for coming second and third respectively. The KLQ is a testament to the lasting impact of the good, old-fashioned book on yet another generation. While others shake their heads in despair at the encroaching ebook, I believe there is hope for all book lovers yet. A big thumbs up to Wayne Mills, who masterminded and runs the entire worldwide event.