Mysteries and Coffee-Related Time Lapses

19 Oct

This is the final review from the Ilkley Literature Festival to be posted up here on my own pages. The others will soon be made available on the festival site itself, because I’m just conscious of the fact that everyone who follows this blog doesn’t get as all steamed-up and frothy around the gob as I do, when it comes to books.

In fact, there are two reviews contained in today’s post. And actually – they were the most fun for me to do. Why? Because I managed to persuade my 11 year old daughter to co-review with me. So, for the sake of brevity (and to be honest – she has far wiser opinions than I do) I’ll hand it over to her – and if you’re interested in my own more jaded and faded adult views on the authors Elen Caldecott and Kate Pankhurst – and on their workshops that they delivered, just swing by the festival website, if you jolly well don’t mind.

(Note – don’t be deceived by the Mini Funnylass’ genteel opening words…)

Elen Caldecott’s ‘Marsh Road Mysteries Writing Workshop’  – Review by ‘Mini Funnylass.’

A new convert to writing (the kid - not Elen She's dead good already.)

A new convert to writing stories (the kid – not Elen She’s dead good already.)


“The rest of the workshop kids were listening in wonder to Elen. She was helpful to us, gave very clear instructions and good pointers for our writing. I thought that she was very reassuring and didn’t seem to be nervous at all – because being in front of a load of kids that you don’t know can be horrifying! I loved this workshop. It really was great. I started writing a story that I really want to finish. Now I actually feel a bit confused about what I could do when I’m older. Being a mystery writer is definitely on my list of things of many, many things that I want to do when I’m older –  as well as being a deep-sea diving archaeologist and a teacher.”

Kate Pankhurst’s Mariella Mystery Workshop – Review by ‘Mini Funnylass.’

“Well, first of all we didn’t get to do the whole workshop because Mum totally screwed up on the whole timing thing because she was obsessing about coffee shops in Ilkley. But then she fobbed me off with a packet of Rolos and managed to get me in a good mood. And then things got even better because we actually got to interview Kate Pankhurst personally.

The excellent coffee shop ('Friends of Ham') that I was allegedly 'obsessing' over

The excellent coffee shop (‘Friends of Ham’ charcuterie) that I was allegedly ‘obsessing’ about and causing time-lapses over

The workshop was full of children and she told them that they should always practice doodling as a way of thinking about a new character for a story. And that doodles should NEVER be thrown away. Always keep them as they can maybe lead to a new idea for a book.

Kate used lots of props in her workshop – an old-fashioned telephone, a hat, a furry dog (not real) and a spaghetti-yeti. She was good on advice about getting started with a story – just write about the things that you’re interested in (for example – she said her favourite interests were camping, dogs and baking.) The children were all listening intently. There were no boys at the workshop and everybody also got to draw the character Mariella.

She told everybody that she began writing really, because The Beano inspired her to draw and to write in comic-book fashion. She said that she used to think that her writing wasn’t good enough – because she just thought that all she could do was do illustrations – but now that she has done so well with her Mariella books, she feels a lot better about this.

Trying to swap her last rolo for some artwork, with Kate Pankhurst herself.

Trying to convince Kate Pankhurst herself to trade her ‘Mariella’ doodlings for a last rolo

She gave some helpful tips.  One of them was that you should always finish your work and never give up. You can go and take a walk with the dog if you are losing the plot. Which would be good advice for me I suppose, but unfortunately my mum won’t let me have a dog.

I also learned that Kate doesn’t like Rolos. Which was actually a good thing for me. As I got to eat the whole packet.”





2 Responses to “Mysteries and Coffee-Related Time Lapses”

  1. juliathorley October 26, 2015 at 4:54 pm #

    Great reviews.

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