Gollarks at MCS, Luncheon at the Jam Factory

It's been a funny old week, so this is a rather late account of my adventures in Oxford on Monday, where I'd been invited to take part in Magdalen College School's annual Literary Festival.

Here is an Eager Throng clutching its tickets and waiting for the event to begin...

...and here is Alex, who introduced me in splendid style.  I read a bit from Mortal Engines and Scrivener's Moon,   talked about where the ideas came from, and then tried out reading something which I'd written on the train up that very morning, and which I hope will turn out to be the opening pages of a new book - more on this in future blogs.

And this is me, doodling a Traction City before the audience arrived.  I've started doing more drawings in my events lately, but most of them tend to be done at high speed and a bit sketchy, so I took some advice from top illustratrix Sarah McIntyre and knocked out something a bit more finished first so that if the school wanted to keep it I wouldn't be too ashamed to think of it hanging on their library wall.

There were lots of books to sign afterwards, and about half way through someone asked me if I'd draw a Gollark in their copy of Mortal Engines. (If you don't know what a Gollark is you need to read some of Kjartan Poskitt's cracking Murderous Maths books: lots of my audience at MCS had, and good for them.)  Anyway, that opened a veritable floodgate of Gollarks, and the book collectors of the future are going to be very perplexed as to why so many copies of Mortal Engines and Scrivener's Moon have portraits of chaps like this one on the title page...

It was a great event, and at a lovely venue, so many thanks to librarian Deborah Gordon and all the MCS staff who helped to organise it and made me feel so welcome.  Afterwards, I met my friends George and Jen for Thai curry (which seemed appropriate, as Oxford was about as hot as Bangkok on Monday evening).  Then on Tuesday Sarah McIntyre herself arrived, along with her Scottish Auntie, and we went for lunch at the Jam Factory.  Despite its name, there was no actual jam to be found there, but the food was very nice and any lingering disappointment at this lack of fruity preserves was more than made up for by the arrival of our favourite writer, Geraldine McCaughrean.  Geraldine was telling us about a five hour (!) storytelling event which she'll be doing at the Pop-Up Festival in London's Coram Fields this coming Sunday: the programme is full of things I'd like to see (there are Moomins!) so if you're in the Great Metrop. this weekend it should be well worth a look.

Meanwhile, here's a picture of me with two of my favourite people in the Whole Wide World.  Hooray for Oxford!