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, May 02, 2005



To London three times in the past week. On Tuesday to met with my new dramatic rights agent in West London – very convenient for the Oxford Tube. She was lovely, very energetic and full of ideas.

On Wednesday, I did the planned trip to Coventry and the reading club teenagers were most responsive; loads of them had read Stravaganza novels, so I needn’t have worried. I did the PowerPoint presentation, together with my “props’ of perfume bottle dagger etc. and signed a lot of boos afterwards.

Then took the train to London for Hatchards’ “Authors of the Year party. No-one had name badges so faux pas would have been easy. Indeed one person nearly addressed Earl Spencer as Tom Parker-Bowles but a guardian angel intervened.

I spotted “Zizou Corder” (Louisa Young and her daughter Isabel) and Kath Langrish from SAS and Eleanor Updale who, as well as writing the successful Montmorency books is also married to Jim Naughtie, who was very friendly and nice and knew all about SAS. He was there as her consort, not the other way round. We were the only children’s writers there, at least as far as I could tell.

On Friday back to London to see “Who was Rachel Corrie?” at the Royal Court, co-written and produced by Alan Rickman, who alas was not there. It was very moving – a young woman at the end of my row was sobbing her heart out at the end. And it was effective as politics too, with a stunning performance by Megan Dodds who held the stage for an hour and a half. But I don’t really think it was a play.

I stayed the night with Ann Jungman after a restorative vegetarian curry and than headed south in the morning for a reunion of old girls from my school. Fifteen of us on board a houseboat like a moored yacht at Putney. A very exotic setting but it was like the twelfth volume of A la Recherche du Temps Perdu – Temps Retrouvé.

I mean lots of people were in disguise with white hair or lots more weight or elegant clothes or tales of grandchildren. Gradually the girls they were emerged out of this camouflage. Quite the most amusing moment was when five or six of us admitted to having been out with the same boy, some of us simultaneously, without the others knowing!

We had apparently each had a green hymnbook, which it was traditional to get signed by everyone on leaving school. One “girl” had hers with her and I had written a quotation in it in Greek (I was a Classicist at A level). The trouble was, she hadn’t understood it then and I don’t understand it now! This would all make great copy for a novel.

On Sunday we went to Hampshire and immersed ourselves in Burmese cats – four adults and thirteen kittens. One of them is now ours – an adorable chocolate girl, who will be called Lonza. We don’t get her till the end of June but now we have her to look forward to. There will also be a lilac girl and a blue boy and all their photos will appear on the website in due course.

Chocolate that is non-fattening, enjoyable and delicious.