Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Terror & wonder

I went along to the opening of the British Library's Terror and Wonder: the Gothic Imagination exhibition last Thursday. I had received an invite quite some time ago and I remember being flattered to be on the British Library's radar after a bit of a quiet year. But then, on the day before the opening, I had an email from Phil and Sarah Stokes who are in charge of Clive Barker's archive to tell me that a poster I did for Clive, way back in 1982, for a play of his - Frankenstein in Love - had been selected for display.

So that was why I had been given an invite, I assumed. I met up with fellow author Chris Edge (who took the photo of me above) and we went round together to hunt out my poster. And there it was - looking very important under a glass case and with other bits and pieces, like that Clive Barker poster idea up in the top right.

But as we carried on round I suddenly came face to face with a wall decorated with David Roberts's lovely illustration of Uncle Montague sitting in his armchair (it's on the wall behind me in the photograph). Then realised there was a glass case with Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror in it (alongside Chris Riddell's Goth Girl and Patrick Ness's A Monster Calls.  It was a massive honour to be included in a show that features many of my heroes - and many of the inspirations for writing the stories in the first place.

It was such a lovely surprise - although why it was a surprise is a bit of a mystery. I wasn't told and neither it seems was Bloomsbury. It was great to see children's Gothic fiction being acknowledged like this but odd for the creators to be left slightly out of the loop. There is a schools programme and events in connection with the exhibition, which is run in conjunction with the BBC, for the life of the show, which runs until January 2015. I hope get to do something - maybe with my old mate Chris Riddell.

Meanwhile - if you are anywhere near the British Library - or even if you're not - get yourself along to the exhibition, which is stuffed full of fascinating things.

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