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Kaliningrad

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Kaliningrad

I’ve just been on my third author visit to Russia! This time it was to St Petersburg and Kaliningrad. It was really great to visit such a different Russian city.

I did one event in St Petersburg, talking about all my different books, and the inspiration behind them, and then answering questions. I’ve been thinking about the cats at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg ever since Tatiana from Eksmo, my Russian publisher, told me about them. And at this event I was asked if I’d ever write about them. It’s definitely a sign that I should!

Kaliningrad is a plane journey away from St Petersburg, and it looks very different. It has a beautiful modern cathedral with huge windows.

It’s lovely at night too!

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Kaliningrad is really famous for producing amber, and I got to visit the amber museum, which is housed in part of the old city fortress walls.

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Amber is ancient fossilised tree sap, and the museum has a collection of the rarest sort of amber, which has leaves and insects from hundreds of thousands of years ago trapped inside. Sadly, this just proves that I’m still scared of spiders even if they’re hundreds of thousands of years old! But I loved the fir cone encased in amber.

This is one of the beautiful paintings I was given at my event in a wonderful children and families library in Kaliningrad – it has amber pieces decorating it! I love the swirly Van Gogh style of this tree too.

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I was given so much beautiful artwork, including this cat, which I really love!

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Maisie Hitchins is really popular in Russia at the moment, which is so exciting – it’s great that Russian children are reading about a girl detective racing around Edwardian London! This is just one of the drawings of Maisie.

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The main reason for the trip to Kaliningrad was to be part of the opening celebrations for a new bookshop – always the loveliest event for an author! The shop is part of the Bookvoet group, and they had invited lots of authors to take part – it was brilliant to meet them all. Bookvoet also commissioned cartoons of each author with a famous monument in Kaliningrad – this is mine!

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Lots more photos of amazing artwork will be up soon on the pics page!

Pangbourne Library Event

Pangbourne is a village really close to where I live, and around us a lot of libraries have been threatened with closure. My local library is about to have its hours slashed yet again, despite being busy and fabulous and full of great books and things to do. The staff and volunteers at Pangbourne asked me to talk about my Animal Stories series at the library during the Easter holidays – and they even let us cover the library in glitter.

I love meeting readers at events like this one – it was lovely that so many people brought books to be signed, and we even had a Maisie Hitchins in costume, with Eddie the dog! I also got to meet Addison, who brought me her own animal story to read, about a pug called Luna. Luna loves cupcakes – a dog after my own heart…

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You can read all of Addison’s story on the Your Stories page.

Moscow!

I am going to Moscow in a few days’ time! I’m so excited, as I haven’t been there since I was a student on a theatre tour – and that’s a scarily long time ago.

My lovely Russian publishers, Eksmo, have invited me to visit to celebrate ten years of the Moscow International Book Fair, VDNKH. http://mibf.info/english

So, I will be in Moscow on September 8th and 9th.

8th 2-3pm
Bookshop “Detski mir”
(ул. Воздвиженка, 10)

8th 5-6pm
Shopping Center “Evropeyski” (пл. Киевского вокзала, 2)

9th 11am-1pm at the Moscow International Book Fair.

I’m so excited – and hoping to meet some of the lovely Russian readers who have emailed me!

Lovely Event in Leeds

I had a lovely event in Leeds a few weeks ago at the CarriageWorks Theatre, showing off lots of different animals, and how they’ve ended up in my books. Here’s Bryony, showing off two of her books. She wrote me a brilliant letter after the event to say thank you!

Meadow Madness!

I’ll be reading from my books at Meadow Madness on Saturday 14th May, in Forbury Gardens, Reading. Meadow Madness is the opening event for Reading Children’s Festival, and it will be fabulous – with lots of briliant Roald Dahl events too! My events are at 11.30 and 12.15 in the Bandstand. There’ll be a chance to get your books signed afterwards too. Let’s hope it’s sunny!

Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival

I’ve just come back from visiting schools in Sharjah, part of the United Arab Emirates. It was a lovely trip – very different to my everyday writing life at home! It was great to spend some time with other authors and illustrators – Lydia Monks, Alex T Smith, Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, whose beautiful The Apple Tart of Hope I read while I was away, Nicola Morgan and Julia Johnson. But the best bit was getting to introduce my books and characters to a whole new audience of lovely, enthusiastic children. I even got to give the children at the Sharjah English School a sneak preview of my new picture book, The Snow Princess (which was very odd when the day was 35 degrees outside…)

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I’ve just come back from visiting schools in Sharjah, part of the United Arab Emirates. It was a lovely trip…

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