Sunday, 2 October 2011

All About Our Authors

Angus Sinclair will be launching his The Moffalump at the children's story-telling session at Moffat Book Events Jeans or Genes? at Moffat House hotel on Sat Oct 15 9.30-11am. Angus was born in Edinburgh but came to Moffat when he was 10 days old. He went to Moffat Academy then on to secondary school in Edinburgh. He went to sea in the Royal Navy and then worked at the House of Commons in London until this time last year. He enjoys story-telling and learnt this when his own children were young. Moffat has always been his first home and he holds the countryside in huge respect. The story of The Moffalump is connected to sheep, the weather in this part of the Scottish Borders and a number of local stories, some true and some not. He hopes that the story of The Moffalump will be one that grows and that anyone with imagination, a big heart and an ability to laugh will look to contribute to it so that as the story gets longer the more it will be enjoyed.

Carolyn Yates As I am a biologist by training, my storytelling activities involve some science questions along the way. I was trained to use puppets as part of an education project run by Millgate House. The project involves using human-style puppets to engage pupils in thinking and talking about problems and questions related to the world around them and is called PUPPETS: talking science, engaging science. On Saturday I'll be bringing along Discovery Dog and Naughty Nora his niece to help me tell a story about who we are and how we inherit some things and develop others. A kind of genetic journey for little ones.

I was lucky enough to acquire two step sons when they were aged 5 and 3 and always read to them a lot. Mainly football annuals to the youngest! Of course they have long flown the nest but the eldest one now has two children, Henry 3 and Oliver seven months. The youngest son has a baby on the way. Henry already loves books and I have great fun choosing them for him. As the Literature Development Officer for Dumfries and Galloway I am in the ideal job for making sure I get hold of the best and most enjoyable books for young children. Meeting many of the authors recently at the Wigtown book festival give some an insight into why they write and illustrate particular stories. I managed to meet two of my favourite authors Debi Gliori and Emma Barnes and they are as lovely as their books! Perhaps you have to be if you write for children

When I was about ten or eleven my favourite book was The Wizard of Boland published in 1959 and written by Denys James Watkins-Pitchford MBE , a British naturalist, children's writer, and illustrator who wrote under the pseudonym "BB". I went on the net and found, to my delight, it's still in print. Though I don't approve of the picture on the cover now as that's not the wizard of my imagination.

In my job I have to read a lot and not always of my choosing but I have just been on holiday so I had freedom to choose and took A Calendar of Love by George Mackay Brown. I had tried a novel of his but didn't finish it - his short stories are wonderful though so I really enjoyed this book.

I live in Castle Douglas and have lived in Dumfries and Galloway now for twenty years, having come from the north of England. I have an adorable re-homed ex racer greyhound called Jimmy who makes sure i get some exercise though probably not as much as we should as he's inherently lazy. I know Moffat very well, I have good friends here. Last year my husband and I bought Jenny Wren the toy shop in Castle Douglas. The original Jenny Wren was in Moffat of course and we used to come over for toys for nephews and nieces before the Castle Douglas shop opened.

Julia Eccleshare: I'm planning to make this a personal look at reading which will introduce some great new books by way of sharing where my reading comes from/ how I became a reader and how that along with many contemporary things influences what kind of reader I am now and what I think about books and what they do for young readers.

Basically, what I am interested in is the 'sociology of reading' . I want the audience to think about what they remember about their own reading as children and what they think books do for you as a child as a way of understanding what kind of books children might like today.

ER: Do you have children? If so, did you read to them?

JE: I have 4 children and I read aloud to all of them but not as much as my husband. Mostly, I chose the books and he read them.

ER: What are you reading at the moment?

JE: I'm re-reading Louise Rennison's Georgia Nicholson diaries as I am interviewing her this week at the Bath literary Festival

ER: Where do you live?

JE: London very near to where I grew up

ER: What are your favourite leisure time occupations?

JE: Walking in Scotland

ER: Do you know Moffat/Scotland?

JE: Yes. I have been going on holiday on the West Coast since I was 6 and I am a frequent visitor to relatives who farm in Melrose.

Alistair Moffat will be talking about his new book on DNA The Scots: A Genetic Journey. He says:

'Being a Moffat I know Moffat well and used to come to the town with my parents. Delicious Moffat Toffee was always brought home to Kelso but it never lasted. In the days when it was possible to get an education without saddling students with huge debts, I was lucky to go from Kelso High School to St Andrews University, then Edinburgh and then to the Warburg Institute at London University to do my research degree. I ran the Festival Fringe in Edinburgh for 6 years before working in TV for 20. In 1999 I resigned as Director of Programme at STV and now work a small farm between Selkirk and Hawick with my wife. I am currently writing a book called Britain’s Last Frontier, a journey along the Highland Line from Inverness, round the Mounth and down to Glasgow and all my reading is currently focussed on that. I just finished JM Barrie’s Auld Licht Idylls, laugh-out-loud funny. With animals to feed and look after as well as the other things I do, we have no time for holidays or even any days off. – ever. That means we have to run a daily schedule that allows a breather and the time between 6pm and 8pm is sacred, usually spent with the dogs, some wine and leaning on the gate looking at this year’s foals. Having had the wettest and worst summer in living memory, there haven’t been too many sunny evenings and that ain’t good. But hey-ho, that’s the thing about the Scottish summer. It gives you the winter to look forward to'.

( Interview with Moira Cox, Moffat's specialist on making the most of yourself to follow)

The grand finale to the day is Moffat House hotel's exclusive *Moffat Book Event's* slap-up afternoon tea:

* Sandwiches: Smoked salmon & cucumber and cream cheese

* Scone with cream and home made raspberry jam

* Apple & cinnamon cake

* Almond macaroon

* Raspberry cream mille feuille

* Lemon meringue tart

Unlimited refills of best Scottish tea

The event will be compered by Alis Ballance of Moffat CAN, and books will be supplied by Katherine Clemmens of Moffat Books.

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