I spent the weekend in Koln where they're celebrating Karneval, the midwinter festivity celebrated in Catholic cities along the banks of the Rhine. It involves days of round the clock drinking, singing and wearing fancy dress. The bars, streets and trains are full of clowns, cows, nurses, vampires... and a good number of Pippi Longstockings, with plastic ginger plaits and freckles. It's good to see at least one childre's book character has that iconic status there. Perhaps she should be invited to the Queen's Birthday Bash.
Back in Britain Get London Reading was launched last monday and there have been many sightings of our posters on tube stations, plus extremely good feedback from the Rough Guide to London By The Book which has been handed out at stations, libraries etc. All great stuff. On Thursday we ran the first of this year's Writing Together conferences to encourage teachers to bring writers into schools. Our keynote speaker was Ian McMillan, poet and, according to the New Statesman, the fifth most irritating voice on radio. Personally I think he's a brilliantly funny performer and just the person to leave teachers inspired and excited about the amazing potential for creative writing in schools. I have no pictures sadly of launch, conference or Karneval as my camera battery ran out, so instead here's one from a Writing Together conference years ago: Paul, Frank and Abigail of NAWE, Poetry Society and Arts Council England respectively, all partners in the project.