Pussy cat, pussy cat where have you been? Just been to London for the annual gathering of the English Association at the British Academy. I didn't know anything much about the work of the EA before I was contacted a couple of months ago to say that I'd been elected as a Fellow. The Association honours academics, authors and poets for their work in Literature in English, so I was very proud to have been put forward. On Wednesday night a group of us were inaugurated and a very nice party it was, with wine and posh nibbles and a glorious view out over the Mall. The company was pretty impressive too ( I apologise in advance for the name-dropping, but I was a bit awestruck!) - Hilary Mantel, Anthony Thwaite, Alan Brownjohn, Mario Petrucci, Mimi Khalvati and Lyndall Gordon were among the writers being 'elected', though not all of them were able to make the event. I still haven't grasped the full significance of it, but have a feeling that the Fellows are not there just for decoration, but that we're expected to promote and celebrate literature in English and the practice of it, pushing for things like the new A Level in creative writing to encourage young writers.
Link here for anyone interested in the English Association and what it does.
I was very pleased to see that the EA was awarding Oscars for children's literature, in which independent publishers were prominently featured. Winners included the hilarious 'Hippospotamus' for 4-7 year olds and the new Michael Morpurgo book 'Where My Wellies Take Me' for 7-11 year olds. There's also a category for non-fiction and everyone gets a small golden statuette to pop on the bookcase.
I came out, a little giddy from the wine and the venue, into wintry sunshine with dark clouds threatening over central London, but feeling more optimistic about books and literature than I have for a while. There are still people who care about Books and Good Writing!!!!!
|London with sun and cloud|