Sunday, 24 October 2010
Chicken House and Imogen Cooper - reminding us why we love to write
It is Sunday morning and I have just been reflecting on the week. In some ways it was a very long week as it was my first week back having been ill and by the end of it I must admit I was exhausted. I did do some stupid things too - like forgetting that I am now feeding during the day so have a backpack and tube running from the back pack to my stomach. And yes I did the inevitable I caught the tube in the door and snapped it. Luckily no major damage in that it didn't pull the tube out but I did have to rebuild it! I need to become aware of my surroundings again. Something I had got very lazy about when feeding overnight. There were no concerns then about walking into a crowded place or watching out for potential tube snatching traps. I am sure I will get better at remembering I have it there. I have to say the students have been absolute stars about it and so supportive. Bless them all.
In other ways the week was short. I had a meeting with AM re the journal which I am currently pulling together and is beginning to look really good again. But the pressure is on to get it sorted by 1st November - not easy when the software I use is only available at uni and I am teaching so much but I will get there.
Another important part of the week was a visit by the wonderful Imogen Cooper, who is the editor at Chicken House. A publishing company set up by Barry Cunningham ten years ago which focuses on children's book. Imogen very kindly came to talk to our MA students. She was an absolute joy to listen to and made the whole scary world of publishing a lot less scary and a lot more understandable and approachable. One of the highlights for me was how Imogen explained that they believe in the old fashioned way of editing and developing a good relationship with any author they work with. It reminded me of the reason I write - because I have stories to tell that I want to share. It was wonderful to hear that here was a company who were interested in stories and their authors, who wanted the best for their readers and most importantly did not appear to be driven solely by profit, though obviously this has to be a major driving force but it was delightful that it wasn't the be all and end all.
Chicken House are forward thinking and are always looking for new voices. They run competitions to encourage new authors (One with the Times and one for postgrad students - both of which have deadlines this week - check their website for more info) and make the effort, as did Imogen, to come out and meet MA students who are studying writing for children. I am probably also biased as my friend Lucy Christopher (she is also doing a cw PhD) is published by them as is Sarah Rubin who did her MA at the same time as me at Winchester and is just such a lovely person. Imogen left us feeling so positive about the whole process of writing for children. We all know it is never going to be easy but at least we know there are people out there who appreciate our work.
I ended the week remembering why I write and how much I love it. Let's see what next week brings.