To celebrate the publication of Mystery & Mayhem this month, I headed out on tour! With my author essentials all packed up, it was time to hit the road…
The tour began with the Tales on Moon Lane Festival. Robin Stevens and I hosted two fun mystery-themed sessions with groups from local schools at the gorgeous Dulwich Picture Gallery.
In between events, we had time for a bunbreak in the sun, and a wander around the beautiful gallery. Their collection includes paintings by the likes of Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Canaletto and Poussin – perfect inspiration for me, since I’m currently working on The Mystery of the Painted Dragon, which centres around an art world mystery!
Our day finished up with an after-school event, where lots of lovely readers came along to meet us and hear us chat about why we love mystery stories, and the inspiration behind our contributions to Mystery & Mayhem.
Many thanks to Tales on Moon Lane for a really lovely day of events!
The next day, I headed to Sevenoaks for an afternoon event at the Sevenoaks Bookshop.
Brilliant bookshop owner Fleur had planned an extravaganza of an afternoon, including Jewelled Moth-inspired cakes and biscuits, complete with jelly moonbeam diamonds, and Clockwork Sparrow and Jewelled Moth badges to create!
The highlight was a secret code competition which gave everyone the chance to put their own detective skills to the test, with the winner receiving a fabulous prize – their very own jewelled moth! Congratulations to prize-winner Amelie!
I loved meeting lots of readers, and having the chance to chat to them – including blogger Miss T Recommends who wrote this lovely post about the event.
Thank you so much for having me Sevenoaks Bookshop, and for organising a super fun afternoon!
Well done @7OaksBookshop for hosting the @followtheyellow book event! Fab! More please 😊 #Sevenoaks #kent pic.twitter.com/wSn45eFEQO
— Tanya Wright (@tanyajwright) May 21, 2016
Excited for The Crime Club! Thank you @followtheyellow @WoodlandsJunior @EgmontUK pic.twitter.com/C3JfqNPm8O
— Miss T (@misstrecommends) May 21, 2016
On Sunday, it was time to head to Leeds, for the Leeds Book Awards ceremony on Monday. I was so pleased that The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow was in the running for the 9-11 category of these awards, which are voted for by children – you can see all their brilliant reviews of the shortlisted books here.
The event was huge fun – there were 500 children attending as well as the shortlisted authors. There were questions from the schools who took part, a spot of live poetry, and author Gill Lewis even taught us all how to communicate with gorillas, inspired by her shortlisted book, the wonderful Gorilla Dawn.
Finally Gill was announced as the winner (congratulations Gill!) and we spent time signing lots of books and meeting lots of the school groups that took part. Such a fun day and a great awards scheme – thanks so much to Leeds SLS and Leeds Public Libraries!
@followtheyellow meeting readers at #LeedsBA16 pic.twitter.com/II0xvr4TDe
— Leeds SLS (@LeedsSLS) May 27, 2016
Next stop on my mystery tour was Liverpool!
On Tuesday, I visited Edge Hill University with Just Imagine, to meet trainee primary teachers, and talk to them about books, reading and writing. It’s always great meeting students, and as a bonus I also got to hear Just Imagine’s brilliant Nikki Gamble talking about the power of picture books. There was time to sign a few books for some of the students and staff before I was on the road again.
Thank you to @followtheyellow for such a lovely talk on Tuesday. I look forward to exploring Sinclair’s! 😁📖 pic.twitter.com/cEPghZibuR
— Molly Alcock (@alcock_molly) May 26, 2016
On Wednesday, I was in Oxford, where I joined up with Robin and our fellow Crime Club member Julia Golding for an event as part of Oxford Bookfeast.
Our session took place at the amazing Pitt Rivers museum, which is one of my favourite places in Oxford. We had a great fun event (including a detective quiz!) and a highlight for me was the chance to say hi to author M G Leonard, author of the amazing Beetle Boy, in the Green Room.
Back in London, I headed to the Greenwich Book Festival. I zipped up the river on the Thames Clipper for a solo session as part of the festival’s schools programme, in the beautiful Old Royal Naval College.
I had such a lot of fun meeting local school groups, talking everything from Enid Blyton books to Edwardian hats.
Y5 enjoying @GreBookFest and meeting Katherine Woodfine @followtheyellow pic.twitter.com/RWcInaUr7K
— Bishop John Robinson (@BJRSchool) May 27, 2016
If that wasn’t enough, on the same day, Mystery & Mayhem was reviewed in The Sun who gave it four stars! Check out the review here, as well as a review of Robin’s new book, the fab Jolly Foul Play.
Here they are! #MysteryandMayhem and #JollyFoulPlay, both four star books in the Sun! pic.twitter.com/kJWl1dkhRQ
— Robin Stevens (@redbreastedbird) May 27, 2016
The final stop – Hay Festival! I was there for a mystery-themed event, this time teaming up with Frances Hardinge, Lyn Gardner and Emma Carroll.
Writing YA and children’s fiction with @FrancesHardinge@followtheyellow & @lyngardner at #HayFestivalpic.twitter.com/KuCnT1utCu
— The Hay Festival (@hayfestival) June 2, 2016
I had a great time chatting all things mystery with Frances, Lyn and Emma. On the same day, I was also really pleased to be able to go along to the YA Book Prize announcement at Hay – I was lucky enough to be one of the judges for the prize this year, which was a huge privilege. It was fantastic to hear from all ten amazing shortlisted authors at the event, and to see the Prize awarded to this year’s winner Sarah Crossan.
It was pretty amazing to remember that just a year ago I was at Hay for my first ever author event (which you can read about here). That was also the first time I saw The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow on a real bookshop shelf – so it felt extra special to be back at the Hay Festival bookshop, and this time to see not just one book, but three!
What could be a better finale to a brilliant tour to celebrate Mystery & Mayhem? Thanks to Hay Festival and everyone I visited!