Friday, 31 December 2010

Another year over. . .

And so we are coming to the end of 2010. It has been a good year for me in many ways. I have seen the publication of another book - The Dead of Winter - and have delivered the next one - Mister Creecher. All three Tales of Terror books are out in paperback and I have written extra stories for the reissues in March. I also had a set of three reading scheme books published by OUP. I have made a return to historical fiction with Blood Oath and delivered my part of the World Book Day flipbook.

I have had the honour of being included on the Booktrust's Booked Up list for this year's Year 7 children and was also part of the Summer Reading Challenge run by the Reading Agency. I also attended a healthy smattering of events, including the Summer Reading Challenge launch at the House of Commons, my first visit to the Cheltenham Literary Festival and a fascinating weekend at the Halifax Ghost Story Festival. Meeting Lawrence Gordon Clark in Halifax was a high point of the year.

I have won awards as well - a Vlag & Wimpel for Pimento's Dutch translation of Tales of Terror from the Black Ship, and the Dracula Society's Creatures of the Night Award for Tales of Terror from the Tunnel's Mouth. I had very enjoyable trips to Dublin and Amsterdam.

I even exhibited some painting for the first time in many years - first at the Eastern Open in King's Lynn, and then at the Cambridge Open Studios with my studio mate John Clark. I also got back into illustration in a small way, doing the covers for both and The Dead of Winter and Mister Creecher.

But though it has been a fruitful year for me, professionally, the year has been overshadowed by the financial crisis and by the resulting threats to many of the people and organisations that promote children's literature and reading for pleasure in this country, whether it be the librarian in the local library or school, or a charity like Booktrust whose work is now under threat.

It's going to be a tough year and teachers, librarians, parents, writers, publishers - we are all going to have to work together to protect the cultural life of young people in this country.

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