Most invitations these days (to launches, awards and other events) are sent via email attachments. But there remain a few special ones for which an invitation through the post is still de rigueur and one of those is the annual PenguinRandomHouse Summer Party.
The venue had been chosen to tie in with Puffin’s new emphasis on non-fiction. Francesca Dow dwelt on this in her speech…
and guests were sent away with a copy of the recently published On The Origin Of The Species as retold and illustrated by Sabina Radeva.
Not only was the venue thematically apt, it was also a wonderful open-air setting for a summer evening party, and one in which it was always easy to hear conversations.
As ever there were lots of people there I would have liked to speak with but didn’t manage to… not least of whom was Nicholas Allan, whose recently announced The Queen’s Knickers Award has attracted much debate on Twitter. As the award is being introduced under the auspices of the Society of Authors I cannot imagine that there was not a good deal of discussion regarding its naming before the announcement was made, and the amusing spectacle of some illustrators declaring that they would not want to be associated with an award that has ‘knickers’ in its title was, I can imagine, entirely anticipated.
As ever it was a delight to catch up with the O’Hara sisters (check out Hortense and the Shadow and The Bandit Queen if you’re not already familiar with this special and very talented pair). I was privileged to be shown a hot-off-the-press smuggled-in copy of Madame Badobedah, which Lauren O’Hara has illustrated for Sophie Dahl, a picture book that will be a highlight of this coming Autumn. The book is coming from Walker Books not PRH, hence the sense of secrecy 🙂
It’s always a pleasure at these events to bump into people who have a special energy and creativity just buzzing out of their pores, and such was the case with Marta Kissi (an illustrator friend of Lauren’s) and her partner James Lancett.
Marta illustrates the Mummy Fairy and Me series (written by Sophie Kinsella) for Puffin, and James is an animator as well as an illustrator. Follow both Marta and James on Instagram:
And here is one of James Lancett’s animations:
For a flavour of the evening see the snaps gallery below (click an image to bring up slideshow):