How are you spending your time during lock-down?
I’m gardening – but a bit nervous that if I go around saying that and the results aren’t spectacular when the world opens up again it will be embarrassing! I’m reading, or course. But I suppose the thing I’m trying not to do is to bake – baking’s for sharing, and with only two of us in our bubble and the gym closed, there’s a serious risk of looking like the hungry caterpillar at cocoon stage!
If you could have your own Mad Hatters tea party, catered for by the Featherston Booktown Country Tea and Cakes volunteers, which writers would you invite and what would you most like to eat?
With this calibre of cooks, I’m having a BIG party. I’ll ask Kyle Mewburn, because I love her ever-so-zany New Zealand children’s books; Michael Morpurgo for gravitas; Paula Green who’s full of ideas and doing a great job keeping children busy during their isolation and Eirlys Hunter who wrote The Mapmakers Race (encouraging resilience, adventure and problem solving skills in children - what’s not to love about that?). To top off my treat I’ll also ask Ruth McIntyre who runs The Children’s Bookshop in Kilbirnie and knows everything there is to know about books. We’re all of a similar age so the Country Tea and Cakes menu will be perfect - plus fairy bread please!
In a perfect world who would you most like to hear speak at the next Featherston Booktown?
I’d love to see Cressida Cowell. She’s the Children's Laureate in the UK - a position that was started in 1999 and is awarded once every two years to a "writer or illustrator of children's books to celebrate outstanding achievement in their field." She’s campaigning to make school libraries a legal requirement in the UK and I’d like to see her campaign take hold here. As well, just as an aside, her books have sold gazillions of copies worldwide.