The final date for this term was at St Marylebone School where I read (this time solo) and did a talk on the effect of our beliefs and expectations on what we see. In case of interest, for lunch I had a nourishing falafel and sweet potato wrap at the cosy Good Life cafe on Marylebone Lane.
This week the ‘Ladies on Tour’ went to St James Girls School in Kensington Olympia. What an inspired, creative and curious lot these were! After I’d finished reading from Oskar and Mary-Lou had done her workshop, the students - 13 year olds - bombarded us with super-interesting questions. I ended up telling them how it was a psychic from the London College of Psychic Studies who helped me to find my passion for writing fiction. They didn’t bat an eye - but then these girls have been learning Sanskrit and meditating since they arrived at St James, so they’re already pretty good at Flexible Thinking.
In the spirit of documenting everything that we’ve eaten over the course of this tour, for lunch afterwards we went mainstream - and modest. But the worthiness of Gail’s lentil soup was counteracted by some wondrous golden truffles that we were handed out for free by the chocolatier next door. Win win.
This week Mary-Lou and I were at the Watford UTC talking to two groups of 14-year-old students. They loved the visuals - especially the optical illusions which really scrambled their brains. Afterwards Mary-Lou unscrambled their brains, and showed them ways of thinking flexibly.
Such an inspiring and progressive college - with 60% of the students going on to University. Having never set foot in a school since I left mine (circa 1951), the tour so far has been incredibly eye-opening. And I get to show students little films on my portable projector, which adds to the joy.
Another week - another date on the School Tour. This time Mary-Louise and I were at Canterbury College where we did three workshops on Flexible Thinking. It was so inspiring to see the students (18 years upwards) really engaging with the sessions - and they seemed to love the sound of Oskar. Best comment after one of the readings:
‘Is Oskar a nihilist?’
George: ‘Oh good. He sounds like me.’
Lunch in the college cafe was rather lovely too. So satisfying when the colour of your lanyard strap matches the colour of your sweet potato soup!.
The first stop on the School Tour was Compass School in Southwark. And what a brilliant way to kick things off! Assembly with 140 students, where I read short extracts from Oskar, followed by clips of scientists talking about the brain and how all see the world according to our beliefs.
Then three separate hour-long sessions with groups of 30 students each, dealing with how to face rejection and failure (both of which are just another stepping stone to where you want to get), and the joys of the imagination.
The students were so attentive and engaged, the staff were a delight and the lunch was delicious (veggie cottage pie, in case of interest). All in all, we were very spoilt. Next stop: Canterbury College.
My second novel, this time for Young Adults, is being released on 8th November 2018 (by RedDoor). It's the tale of Oskar, the ultimate teenage loner, who hates being touched and whose eyes are always itchy from acute conjunctivitis. He perks himself up by painting other people's misery. Click on View Event to read more
It was a delight to read out my short story, commissioned for this year's festival, on a crazy hot Saturday in a cool tent in Queen's Park.
WhitLit 2015 boasts a plethora of illustrious authors including Kate Mosse, David Nicholls, Patrick Gale and Penny Vincenzi. But this year the organisers have also programmed a special Writers’ Day on Saturday 9th May in the Whitstable Castle.
Thrilling news. Cinema Lumière made a good old dent in the Amazon contemporary romance giveaway list. So a big, fat thank you to everyone who downloaded the Kindle edition over the weekend of 22nd Feb. Very, very grateful!
Cinema Lumière has been hitching a ride on the London tube as part of the brilliant Books on the Underground scheme. The idea is simple - and delightful. 20 books are cunningly placed on assorted tube trains, and if you spot one which takes your fancy, you can pick it up, read it, Tweet about it, then pop it back on whichever tube you happen to be when you're done. Genius.
"An extraordinary, funny, soul-warming book" Sainsbury's magazine
Who says synchronicity doesn't exist? After a chance conversation in a cafe, where I overhear someone talking about a features writing workshop, I sign up and trundle along. And guess what?
Here's your chance to get an early Christmas present: I'm running a giveaway on Goodreads until December 15th. 10 winners will be picked at random.
Book Launch @ Waterstones, Notting Hill. Tuesday 25th November 6.30pm
Waterstones are celebrating Cinema Lumière by giving me a second launch. There'll be all sorts of delights on offer, from fine wines and free cinema tickets to accordion players and dicky French accents. Do come!
Cinema Lumière in the press - Absolutely Notting Hill magazine follows Hattie around Portobello to snuffle out her favourite haunts.
What started out as a small gathering of family and mates to celebrate the sending out of Cinema Lumière into the world, ended up as a brilliant 80-people party, with the Mayor, The Evening Standard and even one of my favourite directors... click on the link above to read more and see photos from the event