I’ve just come back from a wonderful few days in St Petersburg, Russia. I was lucky enough to be invited to take part in the Cultural Forum there, and also to do several events with Bookvoet bookshops. It was so lovely to meet lots of Russian fans and talk to them about how I became a writer, and the animals behind my books! A huge thank you to Bookvoet and Eksmo for arranging all the events, and to Tatiana from Eksmo’s Rights department for translating like an absolute superstar.
I was staying right in the middle of St Petersburg, next to the beautiful St Isaac’s Cathedral, so this is the view from my bedroom window.
Tatiana persuaded me that it would be a good idea to climb to the top of the cathedral! Amazing views, but soooo cold!
This is the gorgeous inside of the cathedral.
It was so exciting doing bookshop events – lots of children wanting their books signed!
And Bookvoet had created gorgeous kitten and puppy standees – I have told my cats that if they’re naughty, I’m swapping them for the cardboard version…
I was so busy that I didn’t get to see that much of St Petersburg, but I did do a super-early-morning stop at the Cathedral of the Resurrection, which has the most beautiful roof. This was on the way to the station for our five-hour journey to Petrozavodsk in Karelia, near to the border with Finland.
The Petrozavodsk event was a first for me – I’ve never needed to have a security team at one of my events before!
I also got to visit part of the university in St Petersburg for the Cultural Forum event – it was held in a palace that belonged to the family of the two brothers who killed Rasputin. It was amazing to be surrounded by such a sense of history. The mirror behind us on these stairs has bullet holes in it from the Second World War.
I also got to try some gorgeous Russian tea – I don’t usually drink tea, I’m a big coffee fan, but this tea is made with orange, ginger and sea buckthorn berries, and it’s an amazing colour!
The best bit about the trip was meeting so many excited children, and lots of them had made amazing posters and artwork about the books. (I’ll add a post with pictures of these very soon!) I met lots of Maisie Hitchins fans – the Maisie books were published in Russia last year and they’re very popular. I love it that Russian children really like books about Victorian London!
Mikel had made this gorgeous cat which is now on my bookshelf.
Bookvoet held a competition inviting children to send in photos of their pets – and then turned them into this fantastic backdrop.
Lastly, a big thank you to Alice, who gave me a toy for my cats. Poppy got so excited about it that she practically got stuck in a chair, and Milly and Star are pretending they don’t care – but they both played with it later!