Thursday, 29 March 2018

Picture Book-making at the Story Museum in Oxford


gaslighthouse.blogspot.com Claire Alexander Oxford Literary Festival picture book-making workshop
Claire Alexander shows my little girl's
work-in-progress and praises her for a good
idea
I've been attending the Oxford Literary Festival since 2009 and have met wonderful authors during those times (Hilary Mantel, Kazuo Ishiguro, Julian Barnes, even the late PD James, and a lot more). As much as I love classics, it's also great to check out the current literary scene. Left photo: award-winning children's book author and illustrator Claire Alexander shows my little girl's work-in-progress and praises her for a good idea during the two-hour picture book-making workshop (March 17 2018 at the Story Museum in Oxford). I wasn't keen on the events for grownups at the festival this year but I thought M might want to join the workshop. It was geared towards children age 8-14 (one girl who had attended was 14) but at 7, I thought it was right up M's alley so after asking what she thought and she said she'd like to attend, I signed her up. Painfully shy, I was overly impressed with how M conducted herself, raising her hand when Claire asked a question (I guess she is never shy when it comes to these things). Oh my, in the end she was so enamoured with Claire that she said she'd like to see her again!


gaslighthouse.blogspot.com Claire Alexander Oxford Literary Festival picture book-making workshop
M's alicorn drawing at the hotel
Pictured on the right is M's random alicorn drawing to kill time at the hotel. Later at the workshop I asked Claire Alexander to sign it (she signed it top left). I love how my little girl draws from her imagination, something I'm never good at. Alicorns are pony characters in "My Little Pony" - they have unicorn horns and Pegasus wings.

gaslighthouse.blogspot.com Claire Alexander Oxford Literary Festival picture book-making workshopClaire graciously doodled a cat in my daughter’s sketch notebook after I told her how much the little girl loves her cat drawings. She drew Millie from Millie Shares and said she hadn’t drawn Millie in a while. How special that Millie in the book is alive in my daughter’s notebook, saying hello to her (left photo).

gaslighthouse.blogspot.com Claire Alexander Oxford Literary Festival picture book-making workshop"The event took place in the Long Room of the Story Museum, the children sat around tables at the front while we accompanying adults watched from the back. I felt like a stage mother but I was giddy about my daughter attending her first writing workshop, where else but in historic Oxford, where a lot of characters in children’s books that we now love came to life. The museum itself, formerly a huge Royal Mail depot, felt so magical that it could be a part of Lyra’s fictional Oxford. It snowed all day on that Saturday, but it wasn’t freezing enough for the snow to settle (the first time in my 10 years of attending the festival that it ever snowed), as though encouraging the children to create their own Narnia, a world imagined by another beloved author in this very city."

I wrote about the workshop in full over at Fine Books and Collections magazine, including a few tips for those of you who are interested to write and illustrate for children. Click here to read.

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