Mary's musings

Mary Hoffman, author of over 90 children's books, including the Stravaganza series and Amazing Grace, has begun a web journal which will be updated roughly once a week. You can read more on

Monday, April 25, 2005


The British weather being what it is, it rained for my party and more than fifty people had to jostle elbows in our ground floor rooms. Three artists, two of whom brought me pictures, seven writers, five or six academics (practising or retired), three doctors, one judge, one conductor, three publishers, one agent, two actors, six students, one architect, five teachers past or present, one bookseller .... these are surely the chattering classes.

It was like the tower of Babel, hearing all the overlapping conversations. Or like a Charles Ives symphony, with different orchestras playing different melodies simultaneously. Several people were ill on the day and couldn't come and one forgot but the food was sensational, the company very good and I was overwhelmed by everyone's generosity and goodwill. When all the guests had gone and just immediate family and boyfriends were left, I spent an hour and a half unwrapping presents!

There was a demo outside the local airfield against the war on Iraq and I might well have been at it if I hadn't been otherwise engaged. As it was, it caused a bit of a headache to people trying to reach us. But they were gracious about it; perhaps they saw the rainbowe PACE flag fluttering outside our front door. It's been there for two years (actually the second one).

I spent most of Sunday answering the pile of fanmail e-mails which had arrived while I was away in Italy.Very occasionally I get one like this: I luv ur buks.R there going 2B mor of them? (The most recent one from a grammar school student.) So I expend my skills and extensive vocabulary writing quite demanding novels, which they read and enjoy and they write to me in textspeak! What do they think I will make of it?

I am going to Coventry on Wednesday to speak to 80 reading club students about Stravaganza. I've had a cheerful e-mail from one, telling me he hasn't read any of my books. What have I let myself in for?

Ah well, time to start writing thank you letters.