Geraldine McCaughrean Copyright 2013©
I have recently come back from the Arabian Gulf – from the Emirates Airlines Dubai Festival of Literature – 120 authors and their travelling companions treated to extreme luxury and even extremer kindness in the heart of the United Arab Emirates. You'll see from the pictures what a great time everyone had. So many treats and excursions! Here we are, Ailsa and I, on a camel in the desert. A full house for the session on Myths and Legends. Possibly the most delightful audience I've ever worked with. For the workshop session in which we cooked up a story together, most of my audience had flown in from a school in Muskat, specially for the Festival. Ailsa provided the 'blank character' they had to create and send on an adventure. I wish I had a picture of her rowing across the Pacific in search of the indispensible goblet! Look at me rubbing shoulders (almost) with Sir Jeffrey Archer. You should have seen the queues for him and Ian Rankin and Anthony Horowitz! A shared session with Sjon (an idol in Iceland where he writes lyrics for Bjork and poetry for everyone; also John Connelly (The Book of Lost Things) who knows much more than I do about fairy tales, myth and folklore! Philip Ardagh august company of the President of Dubai Ben Miller in his role as author of It's not Rocket Science Korky Paul painted his festival mural with the help of passers-by, as well as doing loads of workshops. Korky, Philip and I Ailsa my glamorous assistant (and daughter)  Roger McGough was there with new poetry books for children and adults. He read his poetry to us in the desert at night, amid flaming beacons and carpet-walled booths where people reclined to eat their supper. Debi Gliori brought her fiddle along and performed on behalf of all us children's authors at the farewell ceremony. It said a better thank you than any number of fancy speeches. On the last morning we were in Dubai we walked out of the hotel to the awful sight of three ships burning on the Dubai creek. A shocking - but apparently quite common - sight.
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IMPORTANT NEWS! A solution to the mystery of Monacello 3 I am very sorry to say that it has been decided not to go ahead with .publication of the final part of the Monacello trilogy(That's how the book industry is right now, I'm afraid.) I feel really badly towards readers who, having bought the first two books, have been left hanging.   So I have decided to PUBLISH PART THREE,  Monacello:  Anything but Perfect, RIGHT HERE, ON THE WEBSITE.   In due course, I am hoping all three books can published in one satisfying volume for people coming to the story for the first time. But for those of you who have already embarked on Monacello's search for his roots, the concluding adventure of the  'Little Monk' will be available here, free of charge, NOW! Just go to the Books logo, Book of the Moment and click on Monacello: Anything but Perfect.
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ATTENTION ALL SCHOOLS IN WEST BERKSHIRE In order to raise money for the 2014 BOXFORD MASQUE, I am offering School visits during the Spring Term 2014. My fee will be donated to the Boxford Masque Fund. Tweet me on @gmccaughrean or contact me through my agents laurawest@davidhigham.co.uk  
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Everyone reading one book, and it’s mine!   The Margate Town Read has begun.  Between now and 27th March, Kent County Council Libraries are inviting the whole of Thanet to pick up a copy of The Positively Last Performance and read a story born of Margate, its past and its people. Oxford University Press have donated 500 books which will be given away FREE! at libraries. And all kinds of events have been organised for people of every age and from every nook and cranny of the town.  Hartsdown School have gone completely overboard and are broadcasting an audio version over local radio, dramatizing a section of the book and bringing along their samba band, no less, to the opening parade.   I’ll be there at the beginning and the end – as well as in spirit throughout! – and have a chance, I hope, to thank all the people who furnished me with the makings of the book when it was still only scribbles in my notebook.   If you live anywhere in that direction, I hope I’ll see you there.  And if you haven’t read The Positively Last Performance yet, maybe you can pick up a copy for free.
“I am my books” Graham Greene
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