Come see me!

The next few weeks bring some really exciting events that I wanted to share with you. Click the links for more details!

September

26th – In conversation with Barry Cunningham at The Bookseller Kids Conference, 10:35am.

28th – In conversation with Anna James at #LushBookClub, 7pm.

30th – Adventures on Islands event at Wigtown Festival, 11am.

October

2nd – Online Q&A with Mslexia, 5pm.

3rd – Adventures on Islands event at Bath Festival, 10am, then in conversation with Sally Gardner, 6pm.

15th – In conversation with Jen Campbell at Cheltenham Festival, then I’ve Never Read… panel with Marcus Brigstocke, 6:30pm.

27th – Orpheus and Eurydice event with Tom de Freston at Translating Myth Conference, 2:15pm.

Event with Katherine Rundell

On the 24th September, I am doing an event at Waterstones Oxford with one of my favourite authors of all time, Katherine Rundell. Katherine’s books (THE GIRL SAVAGE, ROOFTOPPERS, THE WOLF WILDER) are a huge inspiration for my own writing, and I’m very nervous and excited to be sharing an event with her. Tickets are £2, and are available here.

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Chicken House Little Breakfast

Last Wednesday was the Chicken House Little Breakfast. These events are organised regularly by my wonderful publishers to introduce librarians, booksellers, and writers to each other in a relaxed, toast-and-coffee fuelled setting.

As an author, it’s the perfect opportunity to meet your biggest allies, to form relationships that will bring your book to as wide an audience as possible – and also quite nerve-wracking when it’s your first time reading from your book in public! But of course everyone was lovely, and it was really special to meet the other Chicken House authors who were reading: Sarah Rubin, Sophia Bennett,  Rebecca Stevens and Emma Shevah. And I got to see M.G. Leonard again (we did author event training together). Her debut BEETLE BOY is out in March and it is brilliant, already drawing comparisons to the work of Roald Dahl and JK Rowling. I got my proof copy signed!

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My reading went well (I think!), buoyed by Barry’s introduction and the fact a cat walked in just before. A good omen, always. The attendees were very friendly and I’m in the process of setting up some events at libraries across the country for next year. Plus I saw a poster of my book for the first time.

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It’s feeling more and more real. Bring on the Big Breakfast in January!

Eldin Fellowship

Happy Easter everyone! I saw it in at The Clapham Grand – last night was my 25th birthday party and was made perfect by the dedication of ‘Shake It Off’ to ‘Kiran, currently shaking it over there’. Ta, DJ.

Anyway, I have some exciting news! My WiP, which I’m hoping will be my second published book, has been longlisted for the Eldin Fellowship. This wonderful post was created in honour of Christine Eldin, an aspiring middle grade author who passed away too soon. The Fellowship supports middle grade works in progress, and serves to promote middle grade as distinct, vital literature.

The shortlist is announced soon, so I am keeping everything crossed. The official announcement is here.

So now seems as good a time as any to share the title and a brief blurb about my WiP:

BUTTERFLIES OF CULION is a middle-grade story about difference, belonging, and finding your way home.

Amihan is an eleven-year-old-girl with a beautiful way of looking at the world. She lives on Culion Island, a leper colony in the Philippines. Her mother Nanay is Touched by the disease, Ami is Untouched. Ami sees nothing wrong with this until thin, malicious Mr Zamora arrives from the mainland, and begins to make changes that shake the foundations of all the islanders’ lives.

That’s all for now, will let you know what happens when/if it happens!

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

I just loved that game. I’m still not sure where she is, but I’m here! And I have a lot of catching up to do.

The main reason for the hiatus is five letters long and sounds like my soul dying. Yep, e-d-i-t-s.

I have done two big reworks of THE CARTOGRAPHER’S DAUGHTER since my last post in December – one ironing out plot kinks and pacing, and another making a last minute, massive stylistic change that I will tell you all about when it’s been signed off by my American editor at Knopf. It was a stressful few months, but I really think I’ve ended up with a story that’s tighter, more engaging and just plain better. Line edits up next!

It’s so odd looking at past drafts. The main thing that has improved is the consistency of voice. Before it was a mash up of mannered/poetic/twee/contemporary, and showed clearly I was a first-time novelist learning on the job. I am so grateful that various people saw enough in these drafts to work with me, rather than leaving me to it! Now, edging towards TCD’s final incarnation, I can finally stand back and see it as a story that will exist in book-form, not just a manuscript stitched together by hopes and dreams and bad syntax.

So, apart from editing, what have I been up to?

Poetry things have been going excellently. So far this year, poems have appeared in Room, Shearsman, The Irish Literary Review, Oxford Review and the anthology Raving Beauties (Bloodaxe Books). A couple of those were ‘bucket list’ publications, so it’s great to tick them off. Best of all is to have the affirmation that my new work is…working.

The new work is all poetry in Eurydice’s voice. I mentioned Œ a while back – the retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice in collaboration with the musician Max Barton and artist Tom de Freston. In January, we put on a work-in-progress performance alongside an exhibition, at 47/49 Tanner Street (now Ugly Duck). I found it strangely emotional, inhabiting Eurydice’s skin and story. We got a lovely review in Trebuchet, and here is a trailer of the evening, filmed by Mark Jones:

Πat 47/49 Tanner Street from Unmarked Films on Vimeo.

It’s been incredible working with Max and Tom so far, and we are in the middle of deciding our next steps. Ugly Duck are helping us to find a location suitable for a longer run, so stay tuned!

The three of us are also at the start of a new project in collaboration with a lecturer at Birmingham University and the Other Place at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon. Again, I can’t reveal too much about it at this stage, but suffice to say my poetry hat has not been neglected during my editing frenzy. I’m love writing across genres – it keeps me balanced and I’m definitely never bored.

Finally, I turned 25 three days ago. And my cake was epic:

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Who’d’ve thought THE CARTOGRAPHER’S DAUGHTER merchandising could be so delicious?

Time to be an adult I suppose. Must floss teeth, recycle, and update blog more regularly.