Turning Point

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Congratulations to David Belbin, for having organised such a successful and well-attended one-day conference on Young Adult fiction, held at Nottingham Trent University yesterday. The large lecture theatre that was the venue for the various panel discussions throughout the day was full nearly to capacity, with editors, school librarians, agents, reviewers and others voluntarily giving up half of the weekend to attend.

Melvin Burgess, giving the closing keynote speech, was in fine, freeflowing form, talking about the variously barmy and barking mad objections to his work, but the prize for the most entertaining speaker of the day has to go to Keith Gray, who, with an anecdotalist's mastery of timing, told a tale about the 18 numbered instructions attached to a stepladder - a tale which, as the story unfolded, became, amongst other things, an oblique moral fable about the dangers of patronising an audience.

A resume of the day will follow (after I have met a Scotsman deadline, which will also delay dispatch of this week's Mailing List update). The worst part of the roundtrip (which involved leaving home before 5am and arriving back after 10pm) was having to use the new St Pancras station - not the inconvenience of the building works and the 10 minute walk to and from Kings Cross Thamselink, but the sheer brutal ghastliness of the new station itself. Waiting for the outward train in the morning, I sat on a hard bench looking up at the steely hangar, while an electric buggy marked 'Mobility Assistance' (or some such ridiculous phrase) beeb-beeped by, and felt as if I was in some futuristic East German film, made in the Cold War.

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This page contains a single entry by achuka published on November 28, 2004 8:03 PM.

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