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

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Glasgow in the rain

I spent all Wednesday and Thursday travelling to and from Glasgow in order to give one hour-long session with 6-7-year-olds. It was part of Small Island Read, a project to commemorate the 200 years since the beginning of the end of slavery with Wilberforce's Bill going through Parliament. There were events in Bristol;, Hull and Liverpool as well. Adults are reading Andrea Levy's Small Island and older children are getting Refugee Boy by Benjamin Zephaniah but the littlees are having my Amazing Grace.

There were 173 of them, with tiny breathy little voices, sounding like little James McEvoys, asking lovely questions like "What is your favourite dressing up outfit?" We had our photos taken by a nice young man from the Glasgow Herald and talked to an equally nice reporter.

Oh but it was wet! My publicist had a worse journey back than I did, since her 2pm train was cancelled and she didn't get back to London till 10.30pm. But we were both affected by floods, "debris on the line" (a false alarm) and signal failures. I didn't get home till 9pm myself and the blustery weather had knocked down half of one of our ancient apple trees. I don't think anything can be done except turn it into logs.

This week I re-read Little Altars Everywhere and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells (train journeys). All the stuff about the friendship of the four women in Louisiana is wonderful, even though the main one is a monster, but the stuff set in contemporary New York with the thaetre director daughter is excriciating - especially the sex scenes!

I saw five episodes back to back, while cooking, of a UK History channel documentary series called Sex, Love and War. Full of lovely womenh in their 80s recalling their exploits in WW2. Rebecca Wells would have benefitted.


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