From the moment I knew I had the job at Booktrust I was so excited to find out who the next Children’s Laureate would be – and I have to say I sneakily had my fingers crossed for a certain lady, so I was over the moon when I found out she’d been selected. The name Malorie Blackman has been uber secret, right up until the announcement ceremony happened on Tuesday – emails were coded with initials or simply “the incoming laureate”, confidentiality agreements were signed by anyone who would know the identity, lips were buttoned! So when the moment finally came for Channel Four news presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy to announce her as the new laureate (to raucous applause and woops) I felt myself welling up with the excitement of it all. Especially as this animation was played before Malorie came on to the stage:
The music just capped off the feeling of elation I think!
What followed next was a whirlwind (actually there had already been a pre-announcement whirlwind – interviews with the Press Association, Channel Four News, Newsround and the Telegraph just that morning alone!) kicking off with a photo call - here’s me acting as a useful prop to stop the banner falling over, ahh the glamorous life..
And this is how it appeared from the front…
Poor Malorie didn’t get much time to celebrate (well we scheduled 15 minutes to actually go to her own party!) before she had all sorts of interviews to do.
Then a trip upstairs to the Guardian offices to be interviewed by these fantastic winners:
And finally - lunch! I think both of us managed to eat about two, very delicious falafel before we were off to the BBC. It was my first trip inside the main new broadcasting house, and after a false start with the driver taking us to ITV instead, we headed in just in time for Malorie to be thrown straight into an interview with the BBC News Channel. I have to say I can see how a taxi driver ended up being interviewed once, it can get confusing in there! I sat in the green room and admired Malorie’s brilliantly poised and passionate interview, and may have taken a photo of the TV in excitement…:
Then it was off on a train and up to Manchester overnight, ready for Malorie’s next appearance on BBC Breakfast the following morning. We bid a tired farewell to each other and I headed off to my room to find this AWESOME giant bed (now I know why everyone always wants to stay in The Lowry..):
Shuper comfy! There wasn’t long to enjoy the comfort though, as we were up and out by 7:30am to another BBC building and another green room. Also my first visit to Media City and it was very snazzy I have to say, and all the staff are really friendly and lovely – you’re looked after well! You can see Malorie on Breakfast here:
When she quoted the rights of the reader I was doing a little dance in the green room – you can see the poster she’s talking about here.
I couldn’t agree more!
We had another visit from our friends at Newsround, with the lovely presenter Martin, who you can see in this video - http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/22766673 – before it was time to make our way back to London to go to… oh that’s right, the BBC! Deja vous fully setting in now, this time we headed up to a funny little pod radio studio to meet Richard Bacon for an interview on Five Live. This was a brilliant chance for Malorie to discuss all her fantastic nerdy loves, like comic books and Star Trek (I think we’re going to be best friends) and lots of people texted in to the show to let her know how pleased they were she was in the role.
As we were hopping across the road to the Langham hotel for an interview for the Saturday Times, we bumped into no other than Judith Kerr, with lovely Lizz from HarperCollins. On the promotional circuit herself as she has just turned 90, and has released a sumptuous memoir Creatures, it was great to introduce them!
Then as Malorie had some photos taken in the lobby of the Langham, I amused myself by sitting on the biggest, squashiest sofa I’ve ever seen – which was promptly re-plumped by a maid the second I got up.
Then finally, we sent Malorie home to her family and bed – for a very well deserved rest! I couldn’t be more proud of her for a brilliant start to her laureateship and some fantastic messages out there for children’s books! A very well done to her, and I can’t WAIT for the rest of the two years working with her.
Check out Malorie’s website, the Laureate website, Twitter, Facebook and don’t forget, she’s just had a new book out Noble Conflict – if you loved Noughts & Crosses then you’ll LOVE this.
Before my day was over I had to go and bid a sad goodbye to Nikesh Shukla, author, bow tie wearer and website editor extraordinaire at Booktrust. He’s off to Bristol and we’ll miss him - so to ease his pain, you should probably buy his book Coconut Unlimited.
So by the end of that day I was pretty noodled - but had SO MUCH FUN! Bring on more laureatey times…