party in the crow’s nest

I always love a good Christmas party, and since Scholastic and OUP don’t do them (fair enough), and Random House Children’s Books didn’t invite me (ouch! My next book with them is still going through rewrites and doesn’t come out for awhile, so the publicist promised I could come next year), I pootled along to Nosy Crow‘s party to catch some of the festive cheer.

I knew that Nosy Crow had moved from their cosy but cramped railway arch to new digs off Borough High Street. And it really is a proper crow’s nest, up three flights of old iron stairs, in the loft of an old brick warehouse sort of building. And inside, it was all a-glitter. Here’s my agent, Jodie Marsh, in between illustrator Sarah Horne and writer Caryl Hart.
…Oo, there were wild things lurking in the wood!

A furry hat is always a good start to a party, here are writers Nicole Burstein (whom you might see working at the front of Piccadilly Waterstone’s) and Philip Ardagh.

And our fabulous hosts, publisher Kate Wilson (left, who used to work at Scholastic but started up her own company) along with Fiction editor Kirsty Stansfield (centre) and writer Lucy Coats.

At parties, I find myself hunching over so I can hear people talking, so every once in awhile I need to wander over to this chappie to improve my posture. You can’t really see my Sika dress, but I was rather excited to be giving it its first outing, even if the petticoat, on the way to and from the party, was slightly unruly in the wind. Philip is always hugely pleased to give his beard an outing, it is the subject of much conversation on Twitter.

Whenever I’m in a picture with illustrator Axel Scheffler, he always looks a bit freaked out, so we are working on raising the freak-out factor a notch with each photo.

Writer and illustator Nadia Shireen was getting a massive crick in her neck, and wasn’t at all pleased to be pecked by the big stuffed crow Philip had nicked off someone’s desk.

It was great meeting loads of new people, and sometimes the talks took the most funny turns. For example, there was this Bounce sales rep named Steve Fitzgerald, who looked the straight-laced businessman in his sobre grey jumper, shirt and tie, but whom I found out used to work on a diving team that salvaged wrecked toxic ships off the coast of Kenya. The conversation got more and more fantastical, with tales of Portugese man-o’-war attacks, being torn to pieces over coral reefs, huge green-eyed mango spiders, underwater salvage fatalities, oh my. The guy has promised me he’s going to write it all down, I shall take him to task about it if I ever run into him again. I also came away very much wanting to read The Secret Hen House Theatre by Helen Peters.

I didn’t get a photo of Steve or Helen, but here’s another interesting Steve, Steven Lenten, who promised me a peek at his Soho illustration studio, which is just across the way from Gosh! comics shop (so he’d seen my Nelson painting on the window).

And I’ll end with a photo of my agent, glamming it up. There were a lot of agents at that party! I spotted Eve White (my writer Gillian Rogerson‘s agent), Caroline Sheldon, Julie Churchill, and a few whose names I’ve forgotten (but mine is the best agent, of course, not just because she looks good in a furry wolf hat). Jodie and I were two of the last people to leave the party because it was all rather splendid.

Thanks so much for a lovely evening, Nosy Crow!

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