Category Archives: Events

T S Eliot Prize Shadowing Scheme Launches Today

The T S Eliot Prize Shadowing Scheme provides an excellent opportunity for students to engage with the best new poetry by shadowing the judges of the T S Eliot Prize for Poetry. Two poems from ten collections shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize will be available to download from from 1 November.

The Shadowing Scheme is run by the Poetry Book Society in collaboration with the English and Media Centre. Students are encouraged to read the poems and to take part in a poll to vote for their choice of winner.There will also be a competition for individual ‘A’ level (or equivalent) students to write the best 500 word rationale for their choice of poet.

Prizes for the winning student include tickets to the T S Eliot Readings and the award ceremony in January 2012, with the chance to meet the winning poet, and a complete set of the 10 shortlisted titles.

For further details, please visit the Poetry Book Society website at The Scheme will start on 1st November and a teachers’ guide will be available on the emagazine website at

Halloweek: Halloween Cosplay

For the manga and anime fans that use the library (and particularly if you have an established manga group) run a Halloween cosplay.

There are a number of gothicy, scary manga series including Rozen Maiden, Rosario Vampire, Hellsing, Reiko the Zombie Shop, Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, Cat-Eyed Boy, Hell Girl, Zombie Loan.

You can also encourage your manga fans to dress up as Sadako Yamamura the ghostly girl from The Ring movie. “within seven days of watching a normal videotape, you receive a phone call, saying you will die in a horrible and painful way” you could play pass the parcel with the “prize” being a video tape cassette.

Encourage the artistic members of the group to design and create their own manga horror characters. Almost anything that you can do during a standard manga meeting can be adapted for a Halloween special…

Halloweek: BOO!k Discussion

If your space and budget is limited you can fall back on a BOO!k discussion. You can put a Halloween theme on the proceedings by putting whatever snacks you provide for the group into trick or treat bags. You can also put a personalised joke into each of the bags, there are many websites that specialise in Halloween humour.
As a related-craft activity you could show off some Halloween origami skills.

Halloweek: All Hallow's Read

All Hallow’s Read is a Hallowe’en tradition. It’s simply that in the week of Hallowe’en, or on the night itself, you give someone a scary book.

Rather than read about it you can watch Mr Gaiman explain it below

This one can be done on a day or over the week, produce horror reading lists, see if you can get signed copies of scary books to give away as prizes – this is easier than you may think with the number of authors on twitter. It may be easier to stick signed book-plates into books as they are easier to post. Ask publishers if they can donate a copy or two or buy them and get them signed.

Anyway All Hallow’s Read is an idea that was dreamt up by Neil Gaiman, his written material can be used for a Hallowe’en event all on its own. Sandman (create your own Merv Pumpkinhead), Neverwhere, American Gods, The Graveyard Book – there is so much creepy goodness is his back list you can go wild.

Halloweek: Día de los Muertos Tuesday 1st & Wednesday 2nd November

The Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where it attains the quality of a National Holiday. The celebration takes place on November 1st and 2nd, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day (November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honouring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favourite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts.

You can run calaveras de azúcar (sugar skulls) design competitions. You can follow the example of Jonathan Koshi and update the idea to pop culture items: & or print out a skull picture and have the young people create their own designs.

To keep the theme spooky you can also read Mexican Folktales to them while they work.

Halloweek: Monday 31st October Hallowe'en

Monday is Halloween so if you run a Teen Group or Chatterbooks group on this day it may be possible to run a pumpkin carving workshop or even a spooky story event – maybe combine the two. Think about running a creative writing event – spooky stories created by the group, or each attendee can suggest the scariest story they know and argue about which one is the scariest.

As I have suggested in previous years making a librarian mask is as simple as taking a photo of your face and printing it out on a sheets of cardboard for the attendees to cut out and wear. The October 2009 edition of Teen Librarian Monthly has a step by step process on how you can make the mask.

Becca Fitzpatrick October Tour of the UK

Tues 18th

LONDON 6:30pm
Talk & Signing at Foyles Bookshop
The Gallery space
Charing Cross Road

Talk & signing.
FREE. Reserve a place online at Foyles or phone the store on 020 7437 5660

Weds 19th


Talk & Signing with Waterstones Boston
Blackfriars Theatre
Spain Lane
PE21 6HP

Entry by ticket only. Tickets £3, available in-store or tel:
01205 360002

Thurs 20th

Talk & Signing: Eason
40 Lower O’Connell Street

To reserve a place tel: 00 353 (0) 1 858 3800

Sat 22nd



Signing at Eternal Twilight 6
Hilton Metropole, Birmingham NEC

Full details and tickets available from

Signing at Waterstones Birmingham24-26 High Street
B4 7SL

To reserve a signed copy (subject to availability. Reserved copies may not carry a dedication) phone the store on 0843 290 8149

Sun 23rd



Signing at Eternal Twilight 6
Hilton Metropole, Birmingham NEC

Full details and tickets available from

Mon 24th


Talk & signing at Waterstones Windsor Windsor Library
Memorial Hall
Straight Road
Old Windsor

Entry by ticket only. Tickets available from Waterstones, 20-21 Peascod Street, Windsor, SL4 1DU, tel: 01753 856456

Signing at Waterstones Bromley 100 The Glades

To reserve a signed copy (subject to availability. Reserved copies may not carry a dedication) phone the store on 020 8460 6037

Talk & signing with Waterstones Crawley
Crawley Library
Southgate Avenue
RH10 6HG

Entry by ticket only. Tickets £3 available from the library tel: 01293 651751, or in-store at Waterstones, 83-84 County Mall, RH10 1FD, tel: 01293 533471

Tues 25th



Signing at Waterstones Bluewater
West Village

To reserve a signed copy (subject to availability. Reserved copies may not carry a dedication) phone the store on
0843 290 8159

Indigo Evening at Orion Publishers

I was fortunate enough to be one of the book bloggers invited to attend the Indigo preview evening at Orion Publishers. Indigo is the latest (and greatest?) Teen Fiction imprint that will be hitting the market in September.

We were given a glimpse of the titles that will be released from September. These included:

Soul Beach by Kate Harrison

Kate reading from Soul Beach

When Alice Forster receives an email from her dead sister she assumes it must be a sick practical joke. Then an invitation arrives to the virtual world of Soul Beach, an idyllic online paradise of sun, sea and sand where Alice can finally talk to her sister again – and discover a new world of friendships, secrets and maybe even love . . . . But why is Soul Beach only inhabited by the young, the beautiful and the dead? Who really murdered Megan Forster? And could Alice be next? The first book in an intriguing and compelling trilogy centred around the mystery of Megan Forster’s death.




Darkness Falls by Mia James

Shelter by Harlan Coben – starring the nephew of his best-selling hero Myron Bolitar

Dark Parties by Sara Grant
Neva keeps a list of The Missing – the people like her grandmother who were part of her life but who have now vanished. The people that everyone else pretends never existed. In a nation isolated beneath the dome of the Protectosphere – which is supposed to protect, but also imprisons – Neva and her friends dream of freedom. But life is becoming complicated for Neva. She’s falling for her best friend’s boyfriend – and she’s learning more than she ever wanted to know about what might be happening to The Missing…

The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick
Have you ever had the feeling that you’ve lived another life? Been somewhere that has felt totally familiar, even though you’ve never been there before, or felt that you know someone well, even though you are meeting them for the first time? It happens. In 2073 on the remote and secretive island of Blessed, where rumour has it that no one ages and no children are born, a visiting journalist, Eric Seven, and a young local woman known as Merle are ritually slain. Their deaths echo a moment ten centuries before, when, in the dark of the moon, a king was slain, tragically torn from his queen. Their souls search to be reunited, and as mother and son, artist and child, forbidden lovers, victims of a vampire they come close to finding what they’ve lost. In a novel comprising seven parts, each influenced by a moon – the flower moon, the harvest moon, the hunter’s moon, the blood moon – this is the story of Eric and Merle whose souls have been searching for each other since their untimely parting.

The Double Shadow by Sally Gardner

Arnold Ruben has created a memory machine, a utopia housed in a picture palace, where the happiest memories replay forever, a haven in which he and his precious daughter can shelter from the war-clouds gathering over 1937 Britain. But on the day of her seventeenth birthday Amaryllis leaves Warlock Hall and the world she has known and wakes to find herself in a desolate and disturbing place. Something has gone terribly wrong with her father’s plan. Against the tense backdrop of the second World War Sally Gardner explores families and what binds them.

The Dragon Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

In 2012 there is more to look forward to – which will almost make up for the end of the world (if the Mayans are to be believed)

The Hunting Ground by Cliff McNish
Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding
Crossing Over by Anna Kendal.
The Double Edged Sword by Sarah Silverwood
Hollow Pike by James Dawson
An Act of Love by Alan Gibbons
Dark Mist Rising by Anna Kendall
Firespell by Chloe Neill
Darkness Falls by Mia James
Raining Fire by Alan Gibbons
The Traitor’s Gate by Sarah Silverwood
My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher
A Bright and Terrible Sword by Anna Kendall

After the official presentations and author talks we were invited out onto the Orion patio where we ate snacks, drank our way through the wines and juices on offer and chatted to the authors and Orion’s Fierce Fiction team.

Sally Gardner is fantastic, very forthright about her views on children’s literature and a total pleasure to chat to. She is one of the (many) authors I think will go down a treat at my school. The cover to The Double Shadow is an image taken from a 1930’s German film, the premise sounds amazing and I am looking forward to reading it!

I met Sara Grant while waiting to be let in to the Orion Offices at the beginning of the evening, and afterwards we chatted for ages about the importance of good libraries, reading and networking. She is currently in my top 10 list of nicest authors I know, she was so lovely that I had to hug her. Dark Parties is her first novel.

This event is the first time I have had the opportunity to meet Marcus Sedgwick he looks the part of a rock star author and everything said about him by the people I know that have met him is true (very relaxed and easy to talk to).

I did not have much of a chance to chat to Kate Harrison except to get my proof copy of Soul Beach signed as she was surrounded constantly by a group of eager bloggers.

I would like to say a BIG thank you to Nina and Orion for the invitation (and ARCs), getting an idea of what is coming soon is exciting and getting to meet authors as well as the Indigo team was fantastic! I am looking forward to reviewing the titles that I have received.

A slideshow of photos from the evening follows below and a group photo of the authors and bloggers..

Created with flickr slideshow from softsea.

Bloggers & Authors in no particular order: Liz Bankes Carly Bennett Jenny Davies Liz de Jager Mark de Jager Louise Ellis Barrett Suzi Feay Caroline Fielding Sarah Gibson Darren Hartwell Matthew Imrie Neil Jackson Beth Kemp Karen Meek Amanda Rutter Becky Scott Jeanette Towey Keith Walters Vivienne Dacosta Michael Thorn Andrew Hall Marcus Sedgwick Sara Grant Kate Harrison Sally Gardner

Under 14's Only @ My Favourite Books

This is the second year My Favourite Books blog will be hosting Under 14’s Only Month. We were approached by some of our local librarians last year and told – confidentially – that a lot of younger readers are feeling very left out when it comes to books for the younger age group, as everyone seemed so focussed on all the teen novels coming out. Which they of course could not read as these were in some cases too mature for them.

This really worried us and as we are always happy to fight for a cause, we established Under 14’s Only Month to review both old and brand new books that are out there for this large age-group. The publishers have been amazing and have inundated us with a variety of books for all ages within this broad spectrum we’ve chosen to showcase. Between the three of us – Mark, Sarah and myself – we are hoping to highlight some great books and authors in July. I have roped in fellow bloggers and reviewers to make their case for their favourite books for younger readers and I’ve got interviews with authors set up to talk about inspirations, monsters and other shenanigans.

We know how hard librarians, parents and teacher work to get kids reading and to keep them reading – if we can hook readers young, we stand a great chance that they remain readers, especially the reluctant readers, be they boys or girls. We have received some great titles from Barrington Stoke, Macmillan Kids, Walker Books, Bloomsbury, Simon & Schuster, Random House Kids, Templar to name but a handful of publishers taking part in this. Their enthusiasm blew my mind and now all we ask for is an audience to share these amazing books with. Please come and visit the blog and comment and recommend us to everyone you know who may benefit from reading the reviews. And remember there is a chance to win two boxes full of books at the end of July. We are always hungry to hear about more titles and new authors we’ve overlooked. Come visit us for the month of July and enjoy our Under 14’s Only Month celebration of fiction for younger readers.

Liz, Mark and Sarah of My Favourite Books Blog

Capturing the Voice

On Thursday evening I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Free Word Centre to attend the Capturing the Voice event hosted by The Reading Agency and Bounce! Templar Publishing, Barrington Stoke, Piccadilly Press and Catnip Publishing.
chaired an author discussion with Colin Mulhern (author of Clash), Isla Whitcroft (Trapped) and Stephanie Burgis (A Most Improper Magick). Anthony McGowan needs no introduction but the other three are still fairly new additions to the YA writing market. I am a massive fan of Clash so it was a pleasure to meet Colin, it was the first time I had come across Isla and Stephanie’s works. I had the opportunity to chat to Isla before the talk started and have added Trapped to my TBR list – it is an adventure story about Cate Carlisle – School’s Out and sixteen-year-old Cate Carlisle lands a job on board a gorgeous yacht, moored in the south of France. She’s working for the glamorous supermodel, actress and pop star Nancy Kyle! But mysterious, terrifying events keep happening around her. Soon Cate’s resourcefulness is the only thing keeping her, and the smuggled animals she discovers, from a terrifying fate. .
A Most Improper Magick is a YA Regency period novel about sisters and a lick of fantasy Kat’s father may be a respectable vicar, but her late mother was a notorious witch, her brother has gambled the whole family into debt, and Kat herself is the newest target of an ancient and secretive magical Order. Anthony also has a new book out with Barrington Stoke – The Fall which is based around events from McGowan’s own school-days – Mog is one of nature’s worriers, a loser hanging out on the edges of school society with an array of misfits. When cool, tough Chris Rush drifts into the gang, Mog finds a hero and a best friend. When pond-scum Duffy is drawn into Chris’ protection, though, Mog’s jealousy starts a chain of events that will change them all forever.

The stories are a mix of grim, gritty and unremitting teen life as well as aspirational storytelling and a pinch of fantasy but each tale has a core of hope

Created with flickr slideshow from softsea.

I did find a book trailer for A Most Improper Magick: