Leeds Book Awards 2019

This week I had the huge pleasure of attending the Leeds Book Awards. I know from experience that the ceremony is beautifully organised by Kirsty Fenn and colleagues from Leeds Library Services, an event full of excitement and warmth and love of books.

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Like Sunshine on a Rainy Day: on reading reviews from the Leeds Book Awards...

It's a grey and tricky week, but something wonderful has cheered it up - reading the reviews on the Leeds Book Awards website. I can't tell you how much it means to me, to read these fantastic reviews from the children who are currently reading their way through the shortlist.

It’s one of the scary and amazing things about publication: realising your work will be out there in the world, and people will react to it freely and subjectively.

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On getting my first letter from a reader...

I’d had quite a tiring week, with some really tough moments in it, for reasons I won’t share here, and I was feeling exhausted and low. Then my dear friend gave me a fan letter from a child she knew. I got tears in my eyes reading it and seeing the gorgeous fan art he’d drawn in response to Dragon Daughter - of a wonderful and very fierce dragon. This meant the world to me.

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Booksellers of Britain, I salute you! Launching Dragon daughter

I’ve always loved bookshops, ever since I was a book-obsessed child of nine or so. Once my mum had to do holiday cover for her friend’s bookshop – this was my idea of absolute heaven. I worked my way through the children’s shelves, sitting in a chair in the corner. Recently, launching Dragon Daughter, I had a glimpse of just how hard booksellers work; how their expertise and energy can support an author; and how their love of a particular book can transform that book’s journey to its readers.

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Shut up, Show up and Write: #100DaysOfWriting

Two things have helped bring me to this point: I was inspired by Jenn Ashworth’s recent 100 Days of Writing project, described so beautifully in this blog by Prolifiko, the writers’ productivity coach. I also read Steven Pressfield’s book The War of Art (Black Irish Entertainment, 2002), all about overcoming procrastination and committing to creative practice. Both helped me see that I was wasting time and energy justifying not writing, when I could just show up and write.

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