Interview with Andrew Cartmel: part 2

Andrew Cartmel will be at Brompton Library on Monday 24 September, 6.30pm taking about his career and work and signing copies of his Vinyl Detective crime novels – Written in Dead Wax, The Run Out Groove and Victory.  You can book a place here on Eventbrite 

This is the second part of our interview with him; you can find the first part here

The fourth book is on its way, tell us about that.

It’s called Flip Back and it deals with the British psychedelic folk scene of the late 1960s and early ’70s. Among my research for that I read an excellent book called White Bicycles by Joe Boyd.

What were some of your musical inspirations from the 60s and 70s?

Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Steely Dan, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell.

I read in another interview with you that each of the Vinyl Detective novels has a spirit animal.  How does that help you with writing the novels and why is this important to you?

It’s just something that arose without me thinking about it. I am fascinated by animals and wildlife, and very fond of them, and appalled by their treatment at the hands of humans. So that just sort of naturally wove its way into my writing. When I became aware of what I was doing, I made it more deliberate. And started referring to it by that ‘spirit animal’ malarkey… though it’s certainly malarkey I genuinely subscribe to.

Are there any plans to make the books into a TV series or film?

My agent regularly gets enquiries, which have so far led to one serious meeting but nothing further than that.

And finally, we can’t leave without mentioning Doctor Who.  You worked as a show runner and script editor on the TV series, and have since written many of the Doctor Who comics.  What was it like to work on such a classic show?

It was a privilege. It was also the gift which keeps on giving, in the sense that it’s given me a calling card which never expires, and has led to me meeting a lot of interest people and travelling all over the world.

Were you a fan before you worked on the show?

No.

You have written novels, audio dramas, television scripts, graphic novels and also several stage plays.  Which genre do you prefer?

Each has its own particular appeal and its own unique challenges. I like switching from one to the other. But my two favourites are the novel, for its intimacy and clarity of expression, and the stage play for the magic it conjures up through taking place in real time, with real people, in a shared space.

The graphic novel Sabrina by Nick Drnaso has been longlisted for the Booker Prize this year.  How easy or difficult do you think it might be to judge a graphic novel against a traditional novel?

I don’t see how you can compare the two forms.

 What three pieces of advice would you give any aspiring writers out there?

Keep your covering emails very brief. Give your characters interesting names. Have your work read by people you know, whom you can trust to be ruthless — or at least honest — and seriously consider their feedback before you send it out and waste the time of an agent or editor.

What’s next for you?

Finishing the fourth Vinyl Detective, then rewriting a stage play, then writing a new stage play, then writing a graphic novel for the Rivers of London series, which I co-write with Ben Aaronovitch.

Thank you for your time Andrew and very much looking forward to meeting you on 24  September at Brompton Library.

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Our graphic novel reading group

On the second Monday of every month, our graphic novel reading group meets at Brompton Library.

The group is run by David at Brompton Library, and he spoke to three of its members to find out what they like about the group and their favourite graphic novels.

Mike 

What is it about the reading group that you enjoy?

In this my first year , what impressed me was the range of the graphic novel form. I started reading comic books as a kid and then came back in the 1990s by discovering the subculture with its fairs and cons, trying out books like Joe Sacco’s Palestine and manga like Akira. The diversity I discovered through the group is reflected in members’ choice of works and how we discuss them. Other readers’ focus on imagery has certainly advanced my appreciation of how to discuss sequential art.

What has been your favourite graphic novel that you’ve read?

My joint favourite works this year were both mentioned in the group: Democracy by
Alecos Papadotos, Abraham Kawa and Annie DiDonna, which is historical fiction, and
Ghost World by Daniel Clowes, a teenage novel.
Democracy tells the story of one turning point in the history of ancient Athens. It satisfies both as a story and as an introduction to the subject. It has an art of strong colours with an edge of blackness but it’s no lecture. Ghost World is a narrower canvas with smaller panels and is the tale of a friendship in a small town – two girls growing up and growing apart. It seems that as well as mind-challenging futures, like Ghost in the Shell, a ‘graphic’ can tell a simple story like this with all its resonance in pictures and character. Reading it on the tube seemed more involving than sheer prose, even though it’s not fantasy as such.
Lastly, my time in the group has convinced me that the ‘graphic’ still has great possibilities which haven’t yet been fully explored.

Lara

What is it about the reading group that you enjoy?

I’ve really enjoyed being a club member for exactly that reason; it’s helped introduce me to great reads that I would have never have investigated on my own, as well as giving me access to comics I’ve wanted to read for a long time. Plus, it’s been really fun getting to know the other members too. Before I joined, I was apprehensive about not being accepted, as I didn’t have much knowledge about certain comics. But now, I really look forward to and enjoy spending at least an hour a week discussing our thoughts on the comics we’ve read together, especially because we’re all from very different comic-reading backgrounds so everyone can have very different perspectives and opinions.

I was also happily surprised at just how many graphic novels and manga titles the library has to offer. I can really recommend a lot of the available manga, but one in particular that we read with the group was, 20th Century Boys written and illustrated by Naoki Urasawa; This was a series I had really wanted to read for a while. It’s an incredibly gripping conspiracy drama with cleverly thought out engaging characters and a cliff-hanger ending with every volume so it was great to get the opportunity to read a lot into the series using the library’s copies.

All in all, joining the group has been one of the simplest, most rewarding things I’ve done in 2017, and I really recommend to anyone interested in comics or graphic novels, to join us in 2018!!

20th Century Boys

What has been your favourite graphic novel that you’ve read?

My favourite read this year has been Transmetropolitan written by Warren Ellis and co-created and designed by Darick Robertson. I usually read manga/Japanese comics, and joined the library’s graphic novel group to expand my reading into more western-style comics. Transmetropolitain is a great mix of weird, surreal, pseudo-political, futuristic sci-fi that I really enjoy. I think it has a great script, strong and funny characters and fabulous artwork to give depth to the whole universe, and I probably never would have discovered it without the group.

Transmetropolitain

Tari

What is it about the reading group that you enjoy?

What I like about attending the reading group is that we get read things I wouldn’t necessarily want to read myself, but it allows me to hear from from other perspectives what resonates with them about the books. Because there is no standard format for comics in terms of art style or presentation, people tend to gravitate to different elements of a graphic novel, and it’s nice being able to see what types of art have the most impact on people. I like that a couple members of the group are also interested in other social events related to comics and it’s a good opportunity to learn more about what wider comics events are happening around London, and who is involved. It’s a great starting point to open you up about the possibility of involving yourself with other comics events.

What has been your favourite graphic novel that you’ve read?

My favourite graphic novel that we read at the library’s reading group this year was Miracleman by ‘the original writer’ aka Alan Moore. The story really drew me in as it explored some ideas I didn’t expect to see come up. I could see the beginnings of how Alan Moore would approach deconstructing the concept of the superhero and the world they live; an idea that he would take even further in Watchmen. But honestly I felt that of the two books, Miracleman was the easier to digest. It was more of a personal journey and transformation of one guy discovering what it means to be a superhero in the real world. Delving into the toll that the title of ‘supehero’ would take on you and the ones around you. Including the sacrifice of one’s humanity, and being forced to ascend into something more. Which came with its own questions of how the world would regard such a being. I read ahead onto the further volumes and appreciated how the story evolved into something grander each time. It focused on the progressively wider circle of influence Miracleman had on people in life, the world around him, and the possible utopian or dystopian futures he could bring about.

Miracleman

Many, many thanks to Mike, Lara and Tari for sharing their thoughts with us. They’ll next meet on Monday 12 February at 6.30pm and they’ll be discussing The Flintstones by Mark Russell. Like to get involved? Email david.bushell@rbkc.gov.uk for more info.

We’d also like to thank Gosh Comics and the London Graphic Novel Network for their support.

Author Katherine Arden to visit Brompton Library

We are very excited to announce that in April author, Katherine Arden will visit Brompton Library. Katherine is the author of The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower, the first two books in the Winternight trilogy. She will read from the third book in the trilogy, The Winter of the Witch, which is due to be published in August this year. The trilogy is inspired by the fairy tales and folklore of medieval Russia that Katherine read while living there, and set in its snowy landscape.

To celebrate her visit, we will be reading the first two Winternight novels during February and March. Join us on Thursday 8 February when we will be discussing The Bear and the Nightingale which has been described as haunting, lyrical and a beautiful deep-winter story full of magic and monsters.

In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, an elderly servant tells stories of sorcery, folklore and the Winter King to the children of the family, tales of old magic frowned upon by the church.

But for the young, wild Vasya, these are far more than just stories. She alone can see the house spirits that guard her home, and sense the growing forces of dark magic in the woods…

‘Frost-demons have no interest in mortal girls wed to mortal men. In the stories, they only come for the wild maiden.’

These books are suitable for children aged 14 years plus. Katherine says:

“My absolute favorite thing to hear from a reader: ‘I read your book and then I gave it to my daughter.’”

To get your copy, please visit Brompton Library, or email libraries@rbkc.gov.uk to get a copy sent to your local library.

If you’d like to attend the special reading group meeting in February, please book a place via Eventbrite

Edited to add – the next meeting of this special reading group will be on Thursday 8 March where they’ll discuss the second book in Katherine’s trilogy, ‘The Girl in Tower’. For more info or to book your free place, please visit Eventbrite

Fiona at Brompton Library

Brompton Library Graphic Novel Reading Group – July

For July’s session (Thursday 7th, 6pm), we will be discussing the graphic novel behemoth that is ‘WATCHMEN’ by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons:

WatchmenGN

“In an alternate world where the mere presence of American superheroes changed history, the US won the Vietnam War, Nixon is still president, and the cold war is in full effect. ”

Watchmen begins as a murder-mystery, but soon unfolds into a planet-altering conspiracy.

In the mid-eighties, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons created Watchmen, changing the course of comic history and essentially remaking how popular culture perceived the genre. Popularly cited as the point where comics came of age, Watchmen’s sophisticated take on superheroes has been universally acclaimed for its psychological depth and realism.”

If you have any other suggestions for the reading list then please let me know and we’ll try our best to accommodate.

So far we have the following for consideration:

  • Ghost World
  • Transmetropolitan
  • Sandman
  • 20th century Boys
  • Promethia
  • Fight Club
  • Swamp Thing
  • Democracy
  • Trees
  • Diary of a Teenage Girl
  • Miracleman
  • Hip Hop Family Tree
  • Pride of Baghdad
  • The Bad Doctor
  • Y: The Last Man

The reading group takes place on the first Thursday evening of every month.

See you there! Bring snacks!

David Bushell
Customer Services Assistant
Brompton Library

Brompton Library Graphic Novel Reading Group

Hello and welcome to the Brompton Library Graphic Novel Reading Group

As most of you know, at the next group meeting (Thursday 5 May, 6pm) we will be discussing ‘Killing and Dying’ by Adrian Tomine.

KillingandDying

Here is a review:

From the master of the small gesture, this collection of stories and characters comprises a fraught, realist masterpiece about the weight of love and its absence, the pride and disappointment of family, and the anxiety and hopefulness of being alive in the 21st century.

For June’s session, we will be reading ‘The Walking Dead Volume 1: Days Gone Bye’ by Robert Kirkman, who wrote ‘Invincible’ which we read before, and Walking Dead is now a popular TV series.

WalkingDeadV1

Here’s the blurb:

“The world we knew is gone. The world of commerce and frivolous necessity has been replaced by a world of survival and responsibility. An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe, causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. In a matter of months society has crumbled: no government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV. In a world ruled by the dead, the survivors are forced to finally start living.”

 If you have any other suggestions for the reading list then please let me know and we’ll try our best to accommodate.

So far we have the following for consideration:

  • Democracy
  • Trees
  • Watchmen
  • Diary of a Teenage Girl
  • Miracleman
  • Hip Hop Family Tree
  • Pride of Baghdad
  • The Bad Doctor
  • Y: The Last Man

See you all soon!

David Bushell
Customer Services Assistant, Brompton Library

Brompton Library Graphic Novel Reading Group – Assemble!

From Christian Stevens & David Bushell at Brompton Library:

On Thursday 3rd July Brompton Library hosted its first ever Graphic Novels reading group. We were discussing the frankly crazy yet genius fantasy graphic novel Saga (Volume 1) by Brian K Vaughan. The heat of the day was tempered by the special occasion refreshments and good company, some of whom we knew, along with some surprise visitors from elsewhere who shared our enthusiasm for the art form.

The first ever Graphic Novels reading group at Brompton Library, July 2015
The first ever Graphic Novels reading group at Brompton Library, July 2015

It was easy for the flow of conversation to get started as we laughed about the very adult themes in the book and the funny content, as well as a collective admiration for the artwork and storytelling within, along with our own personal stories of discovering the joys of graphic novels.

Chew by John LaymanIn the end it was all good fun and the feeling of something more regular and established was begun, with us looking forward to the next event – which is today, Thursday 6th August.

If you’re interested please come along! Don’t be shy. We will be discussing Chew by John Layman.

 

Brompton’s March round-up

Our Brompton Librarians write:

Hello to all our lovely readers!

Well, it looks like spring has finally sprung around town. Without wishing to jinx it, let’s hope the rain stays away for a while because everything looks so much nicer in the sunshine!

On the 8th March we celebrated International Women’s Day, and made a display for it that included books by important female writers such as Mary Shelley and Margaret Atwood and non-fiction titles that explored the history of women’s rights. We also have a current display on historical fiction that will appeal to fans of Hilary Mantel, so come in and check it out!

Christian Stevens

Historical Fiction
Historical Fiction

Chatterbooks  

Chatterbooks is a huge success with the children in Brompton library; always buzzing with creative children wanting to share their ideas. This reading club encourages them to read books, write reviews, recommend the books to each other and on top of everything chatting a lot (hahaha!).

Most of the time the children will select a theme for their next meeting. This month the group decided to write about favourite books/authors/characters on the paper leaves and stuck them on a paper tree. They were so enthusiastic that they drew the pictures of their favourite characters as well. Then they displayed it on the Chatterbooks wall in the children’s library.

For the next Chatterbooks session in April, the children will be bringing one friend along and discussing Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo. Oh how noisy it will be? But we love it!!!! (to find out more, or to join our Chatterbooks group, please see the RBKC libraries website).

Babita Sinha

 Brompton Library Reading Group

 On Tuesday night (after a lively discussion about what West-End productions everyone had seen) we chatted about ‘A Tale for the Time Being’ by Ruth Ozeki. An author, living on a remote island in the States finds a washed-up Hello Kitty bag on the shoreline. Thinking that this must have come from the time of the tsunami, she opens it up to discover some documents and diaries inside. These include the diary of a Japanese teenager, a bright and vibrant girl whose family is really going through the ringer. Nao is very inspired however by her 106 year old great-grandmother -a Buddhist nun- and by the diaries of her great-uncle who details his training as a kamikaze pilot.

 Short-listed for the Booker Prize last year, Ozeki really drew praise from the group with regards to her creativity of story-line and her prose (particularly one member remarked) of Hiroshima and her great uncles animosity to serve for his country. We all loved the character of Nao and her great-grandmother especially, we felt this was much stronger than the author and her husband (maybe this was intentional).

As gruelling as it was in parts, it was a very inspiring read and it was great to see how Nao and her family’s characters evolved, hopefully for the better. The quantum mechanics section at the end let it down slightly, however we would still highly recommend this book (to find out more about our reading groups, or to join, please see the RBKC libraries website).

Katie Collis

 

The Brompton Blog – November 2013

 Hello library lovers!

As we started these posts around this time last year we are proud to celebrate a full year of bloggery, fun and learning on the Old Brompton Road. This month we have been busy with class visits, craft /story-time events and our new homework club for children age 7-11 which has proved popular and is aimed at giving children extra support with their studies, hopefully helping to boost their confidence in school. Sessions run Tuesdays and Thursdays 15:30-17:00.

Did you know that this month is Michael Morpurgo’s 70th birthday? From michaelmorpurgo.com:

 November 2013 sees a month-long celebration of Michael Morpurgo’s wonderful stories, marking his 70th birthday this year. We’re inviting book lovers, schools, libraries and bookshops nationwide to take part and celebrate 30 unmissable books by one of our greatest writers for children.

Throughout November the Michael Morpurgo website is hosting free teacher resources, brand new author videos, audio downloads and competitions, focusing on a different book each day. From War Horse to Beowulf and the Butterfly Lion to Kensuke’s Kingdom, celebrate 70 years of Michael Morpurgo’s stories this November.

 We love Mr. Morpurgo so we have made a display with a selection of his work.

Michael Morpurgo display at Brompton Library
Michael Morpurgo display at Brompton Library

Half-term craft and events

One of our favourite rhymes at our usual Thursday morning Story Time is Incy Wincy Spider. So for our half-term and Halloween craft we made paper-plate spider webs. We punched holes around a paper-plate, wove wool through and across to make the web and then stuck on a spider.

 For our monthly craft session we took inspiration from autumn leaves. We cut strips of card long enough to go around our heads, stuck on a length of double sided tape and then stuck leaves onto the tape to make a leaf crown. It was very quick and successful!

‘Down, down, yellow & brown, autumn leaves all over the ground’
‘Down, down, yellow & brown, autumn leaves all over the ground’

Reading Group

On Tuesday our Reading Group discussed The Cleaner of Chartres by Salley Vickers. Set around the cathedral of Chartres, it is about a woman called Agnes Morel who cleans the cathedral but also does odd jobs for various people of the town. Agnes is anxious to stay in the background and have a quiet life, after being brought up in the harsh environment of a nunnery and experiencing a pregnancy at a young age, and is determined to forge a new life. Despite this, she touches the hearts of the many people that she helps and slowly they acknowledge this lovely but troubled woman.

The Cleaner of Chartres
The Cleaner of Chartres

I think that all of us agreed that this was an easy book to read as it was so well written. Although the story weaved back and forth in time it was very convincing. The collection of the town’s characters was well conceived; especially the sniping and gossiping friends who are really enemies who gave it a comical but also tragic edge. After reading those Booker Prize novels, this book felt like slipping into a warm bath – a book that could be enjoyed on a cold winter’s day and with a few hours to spare.

It’s amazing what topics of conversation flow in our Reading Group – from discussing The Luminaries, we then discussed the equally Antipodean The Thornbirds. We then jumped onto great TV dramas that we had watched in the eighties such as The Far Pavilions, a Passage to India and The Jewel in the Crown. Listening and discussing various topics and sharing each other’s company is equally as important as discussing the monthly book – it is a cathartic and engaging experience.

Next month’s Reading Group book is Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. I can’t wait to read this!

Man Booker Prize – reading challenge update

Katie Collis, Senior Customer Services Assistant at Brompton Library sets herself an annual reading challenge – to read all six titles on the Man Booker shortlist.  The winner will be announced on Tuesday 15 October 2013.

Man Booker Prize 2013
Man Booker Prize 2013

Katie first updated us this year in last month’s Brompton Blog post and here’s her latest update….

I’m m already well into my Booker books, although still four more to go and we are already into October!

I tackled the lightest volume of the short-listed six, which was:

The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin

The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin
The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin

Set entirely from the point of Mary, mother of Jesus, it starts with a stream of conscious thought that meticulously melds into a story. It charts the series of events leading up to the crucifixion and Mary’s fate afterwards. At 103 pages it is pared down language. Mary’s human acceptance of her son’s death and her own lot transcends humanity – indeed her view of the world of men is very critical and although she loves her son she mistrusts his preaching and work. I must have read this in less than a day, but like most powerful books it makes you think for much longer, it is a terribly moving piece of work. As with Usula Le Guin’s Lavinia, Toibin breathes some life into the story of a woman who we don’t know an awful lot about and who we all would want to.

We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo

We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo
We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo

Set in a shanty-town called Paradise in Zimbabwe, it follows 12 year old Darling as she and her group of young cohorts steal guavas from nearby ‘Budapest’ and lives with her grandmother ‘Mother of Bones’ and attends church. She is then whisked off to Michigan to live with her aunt and her family and experiences a new live which is overwhelmingly different from her native ‘Zim’.

This to me is like a cross between The Sisters Brothers (Patrick Dewitt) and Pigeon English (Stephen Kelman), hilarious and awful in parts, very moving but bleak. It is a very easy book to read and zips by, the only aspect of it which was not convincing was Darling’s transition to the States, the flow of her wonderful language became more stilted and unimpressive. Still, Bulawayo is a gifted writer and her tributes to Achebe (the father of African literature) was affecting, especially in relation to Zimbabwe’s troubles and what might have been Darling’s life there.

Harvest by Jim Crace

Harvest by Jim Crace
Harvest by Jim Crace

Set in a post Middle-Ages but pre-Industrial village (all very Lark Rise to Candleford) it is about a group of labourers who are working on the land for themselves and for the lord of the manor. All of a sudden three strangers turn up and erect a makeshift shelter for themselves with the idea that they will stay. The villagers xenophobic feelings are unleashed and before long ‘Mistress Pandemonium and Master Chaos rule’.

It is very slow burner of a book, and you can see that something cataclysmic is going to happen. The writing is particularly beautiful and the main character is a lovely guy and an effective narrator. I just found it very boring in places and not really that believable. I would expect something of the calibre of his writing to be short-listed for the Man Booker and it focussed on lots of important issues but personally I had to force myself to read it!

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

It is post World War Two and two brothers negotiate round the high walls of the colonial country house on the outskirts of Calcutta, looking for golf balls and adventure. Naturally curious and bright, they excel in their studies but their path leads them in various directions. It is the younger brother who is fired with passion about his country’s future and wants to fight what he believes is an oppressive state. The older brother wants a quieter life where he can pursue his academic studies; this eventually takes him to the United States. However a series of events causes their lives and their loved ones to change.

I cannot really give more away of the story. I read this book in just one sitting – it is a brilliant piece of work. It is beautifully narrated, the characters are believable (I adored the older brother) and it is extremely moving. It is an example that if one is a slave to a cause or a movement then that person neglects those around them, with terrible consequences that can last generations. Out of the four books that I have read this is my favourite and I think Lahiri is every bit of a powerful story-teller as Andrea Levy.

So two more books to read – and with under a week to go it’s going to be a tight race!

Katie Collis
Katie Collis Katie Collis

Katie Collis

Senior Customer Services Assistant, Brompton Library

The Brompton Blog – September 2013

Hello readers, welcome to the September edition of the Brompton Blog.

We have had great success over the summer with the children’s Reading Challenge and the ongoing craft and story-time sessions that have proved so popular with local families (almost double the amount of kids signed up compared to last year!).

This month the wonderful people at the Lancashire Family History Society had a free open day where members of the public were invited to learn about the organisation and get advice in tracing their own family history. The event proved to be successful with people returning to the library with their newly acquired knowledge and using our computers to log into the Ancestry website and start to delve into their own genealogies.

Resident literary connoisseur Katie Collis gives an insight into the monthly reading group book:

This month we read and discussed The Daylight Gate by Jeanette Winterson. Set during the witch trials in 1612 (the most famous or infamous in English history) in Pendle, Northumbria – it is about a group of 13 folk who are set upon by the local magistrates and his posse, bent on accusations of witchcraft and sorcery. Riding to the defence of this ‘Sabbat’ is one Alice Nutter, beautiful and independent, who is determined to defend this group of unhappy folk.

The Daylight Gate by Jeanette Winterson
The Daylight Gate by Jeanette Winterson

This book really separated the group into severe likes and dislikes. I thought that it was a brave piece of writing and that Winterson had stepped out of her own comfort zone and tackled something which although has been written about many times, does not have much first-hand evidence of the accused. We do know that the central characters existed, but it feels like Winterson has really breathed life back into them and given the story her own slant, which some in our group thought maybe was a little OTT. Many felt that there was no flim-flam to the writing; it was pared down which in turn made it easy to read. However some could not get past the second chapter because they felt the beginning was slow and that some of the content was very graphic and gruesome in places!

New additions to our stock

Star Trek Into Darkness
Star Trek Into Darkness

We have some great new graphic novels in this month with titles including X-Men (Simon Spurrier), Locke and Key (Joe Hill) and the Invincible Iron Man (Matt Fraction) as well as new popular DVD titles Star Trek: Into Darkness and Olympus Has Fallen. Also we will be running taster sessions on the history of design; check in the library for more details.

Locke and Key graphic novel
Locke and Key graphic novel

by Christian Stevens

Christian Stevens
Christian Stevens

Man Booker Prize 2013 – The reading challenge!

It’s that time of the year again where I stretch the little grey cells and read all six short-listed books – the deadline this year is 15 October when the winner will be announced.

The shortlist has crept up on me and by gosh it is a truly international spread of countries: Canada, UK, Ireland, New Zealand and for the first time, an author from Zimbabwe. They are:

We Need New Names (NoViolet Bulawayo)

  • The Luminaries (Eleanor Catton)
  • Harvest (Jim Crace)
  • The Lowland (Jhumpa Lahiri)
  • A Tale for the Time Being (Ruth Ozeki)
  • The Testament of Mary (Colm Toibin)

Hailed as ‘the most diverse in recent memory’ (Robert McFarlane, Chair of Booker Prize panel this year), it’s exciting that there are only 2 names that I have come across before and 6 new authors to read!

Will keep you posted!

by Katie Collis

Katie Collis
Katie Collis

CelebrateMyLibrary event Part 2

Celebrate My library
Celebrate My library

Last month I wrote about the first part of CelebrateMyLibrary’s Creepy House story-writing workshop when a group of children created a story collaboratively, each wrote their own endings and made wonderful craft models to illustrate their story. We were then kept on tenterhooks all summer before seeing the story in all its glory in book form. On 7 September the waiting was over and we all met up again at Brompton for “the great reveal”.

Hilary and Victoria read the book to the kids who wrote it
Hilary and Victoria read the book to the kids who wrote it

Parents were told to go away for an hour while Hilary and Victoria showed the book to the children first and read the book back to them. At the previous workshop the story had been drafted but this was the first time the children could read it through from beginning to end. They then got to work on making costumes so they could act out the story to their parents whilst one of them would read it out.

Making costumes
Making costumes

Finally the parents were allowed back into the room and the play began! We were treated to a scary bat, Fluffy the cat, a monstrous whale and even a creepy house.

Scenes from the play 1
Scenes from the play 1
Scenes from the play 2
Scenes from the play 2

The parents were bowled over by what their children had achieved, not just that afternoon creating the costumes and remembering their parts in the play but with the book as well. All the children’s names were included as authors and all their separate endings were printed.

Here is a sample of the book. The wonderful graphic designer had photographed their models and incorporated them into the illustrations of the story.

Pages from the Creepy Library book
Pages from the Creepy Library book

At Brompton we have a display copy which is well worth a look. The production values are high, the colours grab your attention and the overall design and content is just fantastic. As a workshop for kids I totally recommend CelebrateMyLibrary as they tap into so many creative outlets and the kids just love it!