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!
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.
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.
I was given so much beautiful artwork, including this cat, which I really love!
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.
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!
Lots more photos of amazing artwork will be up soon on the pics page!