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 11, 2005

Building Bridges

To London last Thursday to hear Thomas Heatherwick lecture at the Royal Institution. He is an architect/designer who created the “B of the Bang” sculpture in Manchester and is also well-known for his caterpillar bridge in Paddington that curls up to let shipping through.

These were two of the eight projects he presented in just over an hour and every single one was fascinating. He is 35 but looks younger, in the way that Simon Rattle did before he went grey. And he is self-deprecatingly modest; his charisma is all through the work. Everything is done with immense style, but the style arises from the functionality and isn’t an add-on.

His latest bridge is to be made of compressed glass and he walked across the small scale model of it in the lecture. Fabulous! I wouldn’t have even known about it if Jess hadn’t whisked me off to it.

Bridge-building of another kind from Grace Kempster at my other trip to London this week. She is director of Read on, Write away! In Derbyshire, working to develop literacy with everyone from babies to nonagenarians, including offenders and travellers. She already has an OBE but deserves every honour going.

I have been reading La Citta’ delle Stelle, the Italian translation of City of Stars. It is very good for my Italian because I already know what it OUGHT to say – at least, more or less. Am enjoying it hugely.

Off to the real thing on Tuesday, for the Bologna Book Fair, followed by a few days in Florence, with a side trip to Siena, the real City of Stars.