Published on Monday, October 10th, 2022
Appledore Book Festival is a little gem in North Devon, attracting authors and readers from across the South West – and further. As I’ve lived and worked in the area for 25 years, it felt right to suggest a Dick King-Smith event at the Festival. And so, thanks to Festival Director Ann Juby, on September 17th, Josie Rogers and I gave a presentation about Dick’s life and career. Josie – because she “collaborated” with Dick to complete the unfinished manuscript which was published in March as “Ambrose Follows His Nose” (and she is his great grand-daughter). Me – because I’m his son.
It was a lovely occasion. We did a quick run-through (with visuals) of the unlikely story that is Dick’s late-life success as a children’s author; then Josie explained how she finished “Ambrose” and read an extract from the book. Was it her work or his? Turns out, a bit of both: Dick had written the original passage, then Josie had tweaked it. We had time for questions from the audience (really well-informed, with a good number of children). The one that I couldn’t answer – and Dick would have loved this – came from a young man who had obviously been waiting to ask it from the start. I was wearing a mike with headphones, and had muttered something about “feeling like an alien”. The question was – “How do you know what it feels like to be an alien?”. Cue collapse of audience and speaker! Children – they never let you get away with anything…
Next up for Josie and me – an appearance at Gloucester Schools Partnership’s “Really Wild Reading Festival” in November. Watch this space!