Puffin Party 2010

| No Comments

If Helen Grant was at Puffin's splendid, albeit slightly claustrophobic, 70th Anniversary bash I shall be very disappointed not to have spotted her name badge, since I am so enjoying The Glass Demon - just as much as I enjoyed her first novel. She is without question one of the most exciting new Puffin authors writing for an older audience.
It was a pleasure to bump into, perchance for the second time in a single day, a blue-jacketed Ed Vere, who I had seen much earlier at the official launch of a new East Sussex Mobile Library Van, which Vere's large-scale illustrations so effectively adorn.

Vere was guest of honour at a local primary school, where he guided a group of children (and a leading local councillor), sitting in the breezy June air inside an open marquee, in a drawing tutorial, showing them how to create his character Mr Big.

I had been so intent on having a full camera battery for the night's event that it was still sitting in its charger at home, so that all my photos of Ed Vere's event had to be taken on my phone.
I always feel a tremendous sense of privilege at being present at Puffin's annual party, especially when I look around and take mental note of faces apparently no longer on the guest list. As this was such a special anniversary it was noticeable how many faces from Puffin teams of earlier times were present. As for Francesca Dow herself, it is now more than half a decade since she took over from Philippa Milnes-Smith, and she seems so at home in and genuinely in love with the role one can imagine her staying at Puffin into old age and, at Puffin's first centenary in 2040, being as big a Puffin luminary as Kaye Webb. When she said, in her speech, that as a child she called all her books Puffins, you could believe her. It was a little bit harder to credit her assertion that Puffins are still the only books that matter.
I had bumped into Allan Ahlberg, checking though his speech prompt cards, in Sketch's sci-fi toilet complex, so I knew he was going to make a reference to the white-egg art-installment quality of them in his talk. I did not know that he would (accurately as it happens) say that the venue (at least the main room, a vast windowless square with projected Puffin imagery on all sides) made him feel as if "sex scenes" were about to appear on the walls. His talk was gently delivered, perfectly and wittily pitched.
Charlie Higson's reading from a printed out list of tweets sent to his Twitter account drew to a close just before the witless tedium of the contributions made the audience restless. Eoin Colfer delighted the crowd with a sequence of inhouse gags.
Each of the speeches had made generous references to the great Puffin titles of the past. It would have been good, in hindsight, given his presence at the occasion, to herald the great Morris Gleitzman, without doubt one of the major children's authors of the past twenty years and Puffin can deservedly congratulate themselves for publishing him continuously and enthusiastically throughout that period.
The venue was -- especially in comparison with the top floor of Tate Modern where the Puffin Party was held in 2007 and 2008 (there was no event last year) -- a beast of a place for photography. The professional photographer covering the event agreed with me. Not a single window letting in natural light, and disco-style lighting constantly brightening and dimming. Mostly dimming. It will be a while before I sift through the snaps and post the picture gallery, so bear with me.
Party-goers took away a goody-bag containing a copy of Puffin by Design by Phil Baines.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by achuka published on June 15, 2010 7:53 AM.

Why stability for kids is good for all of us | Life and style | The Guardian was the previous entry in this blog.

Puffin Slideshow & Gallery is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives

OpenID accepted here Learn more about OpenID
Powered by Movable Type 5.2.2