Recently in Launches / Events Category

Launching Saturday 15 October 2011

"I'm so pleased and proud that Seven Stories are having a special exhibition all about me. It's been extraordinary delving into basements and garages and finding long forgotten childhood stories and old manuscripts and mementos. I've been writing all my life but it was only when I met my dear friend Nick that my career really took off. I'm so lucky to have Nick illustrate my books. The exhibition starts with a replica of my childhood bedroom where I read and wrote and daydreamed - and ends with a mock-up of my room now, where I still read and write and daydream." Jacqueline Wilson

This is an exclusive chance to find out about Jacqueline Wilson, in the first ever exhibition dedicated to the best selling author. Let Jacqueline guide you through a journey of her favourite stories, characters, daydreams and working process. We'll show you how your favourite characters began including Tracy Beaker, Hetty Feather and The Illustrated Mum, from ideas to text and working with illustrator Nick Sharratt to bring her stories to life. Be inspired to create your own stories, sit and daydream or join Jacky's HUGE fan base from all over the world.

Jacqueline Wilson with 10 young people from the North East who took part in a creative writing project at Seven Stories.

Jacqueline Wilson relaxes in a replication of her 1950's bedroom.

Jacqueline Wilson in front of The Dumping Ground from Tracy Beaker

Jacqueline Wilson and Nick Sharratt meet their fans in the set of Tracy Beaker at Seven Stories.

Puffin Party 2011

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This year's Puffin Summer Party was held in the grand setting of Banqueting House.

Lots more photos to follow (this evening).

Orion Summer Party

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A group photo provided for ACHUKA by Nina Douglas, Orion's Publicity Manager, from yesterday's summer party, which I was unable to attend this year:

Left to right are: Linda Newbery, Michelle Paver, Francesca Simon, Annabel Pitcher, Caroline Lawrence, Liz Kessler, Lauren St John, Sally Gardner, Joe Friedman, Jamie Rix, Joanne Owen and Marcus Sedgwick.

Walker Books 30th Birthday Party

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"That's effulgence. That's the story we're in. Brilliant!" DL June 2010

And a brilliant party it was...


Usborne 5 years Party

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Click hereFor more photos from Usborne's children's list's fifth birthday party, held at the Foundling Museum

Slideshow here

Brother William's Year Launch

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Frances Lincoln celebrated publication of Brother William's Year by Jan Pancheri in St. Catherine's Chapel Garden, Westminster Abbey...

[More photos from the event to follow]

Ultimate Book Guide Launch Gallery

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Guest Pass to the rest of the set...

As a search of this blog will reveal (if you scroll down after clicking the link), I was not an immediate fan of the Ultimate Book Guides. Coming to them from the point of view of someone who was used to contributing to works of reference such as Larousse Dictionary of Writers, H. W. Wilson's World Authors and the New DNB, I initially found the tone irritatingly enthusiastic and exclamatory and, in the worst instances, such as the entry (unrevised in the new edition) for The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer, vacuous.

But I was missing the point. These are not books for the reference shelf, but hands-on guides intended to encourage and help young readers to move on from one book to the next. In this context, the range of contributors and the pervasively jolly and upbeat tone are essential ingredients.

The first Guide for 8-12's is now five years old, so a revised and updated edition is timely. The first book had 288 pages. The new one has 416, but is more compact in its dimensions (a much better size for reading and carrying around) and only has room for two entries per page in comparison to three in the earlier edition.

Additions include recent titles by the likes of Frank Cottrell Boyce (a shame he is not one of the contributors), A Dog Called grk by Joshua Doder (a shame neither Chris Priestley the contibutor nor the Next? sidebar make reference to the fact that this is the first book in a sequence rather than a one-off title) and Fly By Night by Frances Hardynge. Caroline Lawrence who was only represented in the first book by The Thieves of Ostia, Book 1 in her Roman Mysteries series, now deservedly has her entry retitled to refer to the series as a whole. I was pleased to see Rodman Philbrick's Freak The Mighty in this new edition, and although losses from a book of this type are to be regretted and can be somewhat poignant, they are inevitable. I noted that there were no longer entries for The Ennead by Jan Mark or Farm Boy by Michael Morpurgo, though bouth authors remain sufficiently represented by other entries.

Entries receive one, two or three dots "as a rough indication of the relative difficulty of a title". This is a new feature and although much better than any attempt to give age advice, the allocation of the dots does appear to relate to age appropriateness rather than reading difficulty. Morris Gleitzman's Once, a very accessible and easy book to read from the point of view of vocabulary and simple sentence structure, is given three dots, presumably because of its subject matter. As the entry itself says, "it is a quick read and written in simple language, but the subject is not for young children." All credit to the editors for including the title in this book, rather than reserving it for the teen guide.

As important as the entries themselves, are the sidebars giving suggestions for what to read next. At the book's launch party, Leonie Flynn announced that the Ultimate Book Guide blog would henceforth be having a Book Of The Week entry (each Monday) with the all-important What To Read Next as an essential feature. Those present at the launch were encouraged to contribute. ACHUKA will blog the next few recommendations to help spread the word.

Follow achuka on Twitter:

Ultimate Book Guide 2nd edition launch

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A completely revised and updated edition of The Ultimate Book Guide for 8-12's has been published by A&C Black...
Full gallery of the launch event will be uploaded later on Tuesday.
In the meantime, a couple of shots of Justin Somper and Shoo Rayner returning camera fire:)

Authors and illustrators assembling in the courtyard of the Oktober gallery for a group photo, at Barrington Stoke's 10th birthday celebrations last night.
More photos to follow.

Barrington Stoke's mission is to help children enjoy reading.

For a decade Barrington Stoke has published accessible and unpatronising short books for children who are dyslexic, struggling to read, or simply reluctant to sit down with a book.

The stories are by some of the best children's authors working today. Each book is read before publication by struggling readers of the right age, so that the final book is both accessible and a good read. There's nothing on the stylish covers (especially in recent years) to suggest that the books are for less fluent readers.

So it isn't surprising that top authors and artists mingled with consultants (readers who had worked on their books) at the 10th birthday celebrations.

Sonia Raphael, Managing Director spoke about the many touching letters they received form parents, teachers and children telling them how finding Barrington Stoke had made a difference to their lives.

"From the mother who wrote in with such glee that she had just had to tell her son off for reading under the covers with a torch, she never thought she would ever see him reading a book let alone when he shouldn't have been .. . To the 15 year old who wrote 'this is the best book I have ever read - in fact it is the only book I have ever read by myself.'... We are so privileged to be able to make such a difference and whilst we know Barrington Stoke is special, we have only been successful because of all the people who have believed in and supported what we were trying to do."

Allan Ahlberg's 70th Birthday

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Allan Ahlberg opening one of his presents (an Eric Ravilious print) and blowing out the last candle on his cake at his 70th birthday party co-hosted by Puffin and Walker Books, and held on Puffin's 10th floor.

More pictures from the event viewable , at my Flickr account, or view a slideshow.

Ten Things In Common

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Orion's summer party took place last week, at its usual venue, the Oktober Gallery in Holborn with (contrary to the dire promise of canapes on the invitation) its usual splendid spread. The bad weather meant that the courtyard was out of bounds, and I only took a few photos. Actually the food was partly to blame. I kept returning to the full rounds of cheeses and juggling a large dslr with paper plate and wineglass proved a little trickier than with a point-and-shoot. As a consequence many of the authors who were present didn't get snapped by me on this occasion, including Francesca Simon and Caroline Lawrence. But scroll down to discover 10 things that these two authors have in common.

1. are the same age
2. are both Jewish
3. have dark frizzy hair
4. grew up in southern California surrounded by leggy blondes
5. came to England to study dead languages at Oxbridge*
6. married Englishmen
7. had one son
8. started writing after their sons' birth
9. are published by Orion
10. both had books adapted for televsion in the past 12 months

*Francesca studied Older Middle English at Oxford, Caroline studied Greek and Latin at Cambridge

Puffin Party Gallery Complete

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The gallery from last week's Puffin Party is now complete.

Access it via this Guest Pass link from Flickr, then view the slideshow.

There are 69 shots in the full set. If you can only see a far smaller number, the Guest Pass isn't working for you and you need to let me know.

Puffin Party 2007

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Keep checking this link - more images from Wednesday night's Puffin party have bee added...

Puffin Party 2007

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originally uploaded by achuka.
More images from Wednesday night's Puffin Party at Tate Modern - fresh upload & still some more to come

Two Events

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I attended two events last night. The launch of the Youth Festival at l' 'Institut Francais and Egmont's annual author party.

At the first, Michael Rosen and Carl Norac were in conversation with Quentin Blake in front of an audience consisting mainly of schoolchildren from Hackney. Rosen was on fine eye-popping form and finished with a reading of one of his best-known poems, concerning the difficulties of a teacher attempting to take the register.

Unfortunately, as I had another event to get to (see further down), I was unable to stay for the cocktail reception.

The Egmont party was held at The Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery. It was a fine venue, with so many of the world's best-loved paintings on show (see Shirley Hughes scrutinising Van Gogh's cut-ear painting) and views of the ice skating out of the window. ACHUKA achieved over a million pageviews during October (pageviews, not hits), so I know it's popular, but given the reluctance of ACHUKA's audience to engage in online discussion and feedback (notwithstanding the significant support over the recent issue of proofs), it's always good to meet authors and illustrators and hear how much they use and appreciate the site. Paul Howard told me that he has ACHUKA set as his home page. And Beverly Birch said that she was inundated with emails after we featured Egmont's microsite promoting her new novel.

Picture Gallery

Pan In Scarlet Gallery

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Peter Pan Launch

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Peter Pan Launch
Peter Pan Launch,
originally uploaded by achuka.
Geraldine McCaughrean was given a red-carpet, movie-style launch for her Peter Pan sequel, PETER PAN IN SCARLET tonight, at the Orangery, Kensington Palace. She is pictured here during a dramatised reading of an extract from the novel. The speeches included a powerful tribute to the care provided by Great Ormond Street Hospital from a young ex-patient from Glasgow.

More photos to follow.

Orphan Of The Sun Gallery

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Picture Gallery for Bloomsbury's Orphan Of The Sun launch - see below

Picture Gallery

Orphan Of The Sun

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Author, Gill Harvey, at the launch event for her historical adventure novel, Orphan Of The Sun.

This was an atmospherically themed launch, held last night at Souk Medina, a Moroccan restaurant in Soho, with many of the guests, like the author, in Egyptian costume. The invitation promised 'drinks and delicacies' - the latter included a belly dancer. The ACHUKA camera took over 100 shots (not all of the said delicacy) and the best of the bunch will appear shortly.

Re. ACHUKACHAT. Needless to say I am keeping a close eye on the forum comments and on the vote.

Evil Star Launch

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Anthony Horowitz, speaking at the launch of
Evil Star (held at the Residence of the Ambassador of Peru), revealed
some startling news about the next title in The Power
of Five.

The first soundfile (with dimly lit movie image) is the
author's opening address in Spanish.

Find out why Horwoitz is so excited about the book he is currently

AH getting his tongue round those Spanish words...



Who is paying for whom on the bus home? Click for larger image
to help identify...

Ultimate Teen Book Guide

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Melvin Burgess (seen here with Leonie Flynn) was one of a host of authors present for last night's launch party for The Ultimate Teen Book Guide.

Daniel Hahn, the book's co-editor with Leonie Flynn and Susan Reuben, included in his talk a special tribute to an absent contributor, Jan Mark.

David Almond, who wrote the book's introduction, was one author unable to attend the event, as he was away in America. The bar, however, was serving a cocktail named after him, reputed to be very potent. ACHUKA stuck to red wine.

I was not an immediate fan of the first 'Ultimate' book (for 8-12s), although I warmed to it, and wrote in February 2004:

Hahn has several entries in the book and I am getting a feel for his style now - familiar, informal, conversational. "I laughed loads as I read this, and really, really wanted Nick to make it. And I readily confess to a big old lump in my throat at the end..." That's good. It makes me read the Tom Sawyer entry in a different light. That doesn't make it any better an entry, but I can hear Hahn's voice now, and it comes across as sincere and genuine - the voice of a warm-hearted advocate of children's books. I hope I haven't made an enemy of him.

Well, this new book is fantastic - infectiously enthusiastic for the books its multitude of contributors recommends. I'm hardpressed to think of any obvious omissions. There are one or two surprising inclusions (notably very recent novels of dubious durability), but the game of seeing what one's favourite authors recommend is endlessly fascinating and revealing.

Heartily recommended

Clay Launch

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David Almond, together with Marlene Johnson (MD Hachette Children's Books) and Wendy Cooling, pictured at the launch event for his new novel, Clay, held at the Globe Theatre earlier this week.

Orion Summer Party

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Caroline Lawrence, talking to Jon Appleton, who recently began editing for Orion Children's Books (as part of his freelance portfolio), at the publisher's annual summer party last night...

Jo Williamson, Orion Publicity Officer, with Lauren St John, whose first novel in a 5-figure 3-book deal, The White Giraffe, will be published in the Autumn. It is the story of a 9-year-old orphan who is sent from England to live with her grandmother on a game reserve in South Africa. With few friends and feeling an outsider, her adventures begin as she gradually learns the secrets of the reserve, including the story of the fabled white giraffe who is rumoured to live there.

It will be the first children's book by St John, up till now a writer of biographies of musicians and golfers.

Fiona Kennedy bought the books from Catherine Clarke at the Felicity Bryan Agency. The author told ACHUKA that the book came to be written out of a consciousness of how privileged she was to have grown up in Zimbabwe amongst the animals of Africa. In addition to the children's books set in her childhood home, she is also writing a memoir.

Last year I wrote "Orion has established a reputation for providing Real Food at its parties and last night's Summer Party, held at Westminster Abbey Hall, was no exception..." Photo galleries from previous Orion parties have always included a few pictures of the glorious spread of bread, cheese, fruits and dips. It is with mock-heavy-heart that I report the absence of food pictures in this year's gallery would appear to suggest the demise of Orion's commitment to Real Food.

The food may vave been better last year, but the venue was not, and a return to the Oktober Gallery (which Orion have used before), with its outside courtyard and seating, was welcome. Judith Elliot, retired, but still involved with Orion, was absent from the party this year, and Kevin Crossley-Holland, whom I always enjoy meeting, was another notable absentee. Marcus Sedgwick and Sally Gardner, whose new novels - The Foreshadowing and I, Coriander - are the highpoints of Orion's summer programme,

were both there and can be seen in the Gallery, as can be Michelle Paver, whose follow-up to Wolf Brother is published in September:

Caroline Lawrence was telling Jon Appleton (see above) that she is much more likely to apply the technicques of screenplay writing to her Roman Mysteries, than she is any theories of regular narrative structure.

One of ACHUKA's most interesting chats was with Tony West from the Lion & Unicorn Bookshop in Richmond.

Sorry about this shot ;-)

Here's the link to the Picture Gallery...

Puffin Party Gallery

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On reflection, there's not a lot to add to my earlier comments about the Puffin Party, other than to say that a quick look back at the 2004 gallery reminded me of the number of notables not at this year's event...

2005 Gallery

Francesca Dow talk snippet

2004 Gallery

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