Category Archives: Kirsty rambles on about life, the universe, tv, and everything!
If you can remember a few weeks ago I wrote about the Get Dads Reading campaign by the charity Booktrust (logo provided by Rosi below). Because I wasn’t very familiar with the charity (awful I know) I asked their new press officer Rosi Crawley if I could interview her about her new job (Rosi previously worked in publishing at HarperCollins and was very lovely and gave me some ARCs of books – to further my love of reading even more).
Hi Rosi – hope you’ve settled in. Can you tell me what a ‘typical’ work day is like for you?
This question is actually much easier to answer now than when I was in publishing! I have much more of a routine now – I arrive at Book House where we all work in Wandsworth and take a look at my emails, checking all the news bulletins I receive first thing and scanning the online news sites for any relevant books or education news stories. We’re a reactive PR team so we do try and provide comment when news comes up that relates to education, literacy, libraries etc. We either use our lovely CEO Viv Bird to provide comment or often the children’s laureate will have opinions on the matter.
There’s a very kind man called Ron who is in his 80s and comes in every morning to read through all the papers. He marks up anything relevant and once he’s done that, either myself or my manager will read through and then we’ll regale each other with the most interesting news of that day.
The rest of the day is spent working on press releases, contacting authors and celebrities to work as spokespeople, and pitching PR around the awards we administer (which includes the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, Sunday Times Short Story Award, Roald Dahl Funny Prize and Blue Peter Book Award). Soon I’ll also be spending a lot more time working on the announcement of the new Laureate in June, which will start to take up a lot of my time, and I’m very excited!
And how does what you do fit in with Booktrust’s aims?
More than ever Booktrust really needs PR support – with Government funding looking less stable, we have to ensure we keep the charity funded from as many sources as possible. Among many other things, we give away books to every baby in England each year through the Bookstart scheme, as well as every 4-5 year old in reception through Booktime. The whole aim is to keep that completely free to ensure every child in the country owns a book and that can only be done if we keep fundraising. Knowing that there are children in this country who don’t own a single book is unacceptable to me – it’s a level of deprivation we simply shouldn’t allow. By promoting Booktrust to the world as much as possible, hopefully we’re raising awareness of the organization with the public, but also with the government and those in command of the purse strings!
Other than the Get Dads Reading Campaign are there any other campaigns that we should know about?
This year we launched the Children’s Reading Fund – this is a public facing fundraising campaign, where the money raised will go specifically towards helping deprived and disadvantaged children and those in care. Before I started, I read a really shocking statistic that children in care are more likely to go to prison than to university. Through schemes like the Letterbox Club, where Booktrust sends book parcels to children in care, we hope we can encourage reading through that ever-exciting moment of receiving post addressed to you. The idea is to “Change the Story” and turn around children’s lives through reading. I really strongly believe that grasping a love of reading can change your whole life and hopefully we can do this with the CRF.
What if people want to get involved in supporting Booktrust’s work – what can they do?
There’s a page on the Booktrust site about how to support us – just £4 a month could mean seven disable children receiving specially tailored book packs to help them get ahead in their literacy. Or if you’re running a marathon, holding a bake sale, any fundraising of any kind is vital and hugely appreciated!
I couldn’t let Rosi go without finding out a little more about her.
Who is your go to author – someone whose books you’ll always read?
When I was younger I read absolutely everything by Jacqueline Wilson and could probably settle down with her books quite easily still today! But the one person I will always stump up for a shiny hardback for these days is Patrick Ness – I was blown away by the Chaos Walking books and am thrilled he has two new books coming this year – I’m reading The Crane Wife at the moment and it’s gorgeous!
Top recommended book?
Probably A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – a bit predictable as it DID win both the Carnegie and Greenaway medals in the same year and is pretty universally adored by all children’s book people, but it is THAT good. The other favourite in recent years for me was Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough. Absolutely terrifying and fantastically written by the nicest lady you could ever meet!
When you are not working or reading you like…
I have a real obsession with watching movie trailers. Seeing the trailers always was one of my favourite things about going to the cinema and when I discovered you could watch them all online I found my dream activity!! I love film watching in general, the more explodey/action packed, the better. If I’m not watching trailers/movies/reading/writing then I’m probably eating some kind of cake.
If you want to ask me anything about Booktrust then just drop me an email at email@example.com
I’d like to extend a huge thank you to Rosi for taking time to answer my questions. I think that the work of Booktrust is very important and I love the idea of Ron’s daily task. I’ve now also got more books to add to the to read list having never read Rosi’s recommended reads. I’m excited to find out who the new Children’s Laureate is too – I wonder if I offered Rosi cake…
What do you think of Booktrust’s aims?
What strategies can we all employ to inspire a love of books?
This weekend is going to be soooo much fun. My friends and I are having a Harry Potter movie marathon where we plan to watch all eight films over the course of two days. Alongside that will be other Harry Potter geekery: fancy dress, themed food and drink (inc butterbeer of course).
We’ve already started the geekery early too – my mate Steph sent us this: I can’t believe I finally got my Hogwarts letter!!
And using this kit (Quill, ink, wax and stamp bought in Italy in 2005):
I made everyone an invitation.
And then labelled and sealed envelopes (nearly setting light to them; at one point there was a line of flame running from the wax to the seal on one of the envelopes – only though afterwards that using a candle instead of matches would have been more sensible. In fact that is a lie, I thought of that the night before and then promptly forgot when I went to actually do it).
More pictures to follow post event.
Have you ever had a movie marathon and if so what did you watch and what are your tips for surviving?
Today I attended an Introduction to Oil Painting workshop at Real Art Academy (Bournemouth). This was a Groupon Deal I bought for a friend and I to attend (sadly my friend was poorly so I went alone). I was in a class with 6 other people.
The artist who taught us (and who runs the academy) is Martin Close – he was very passionate about his subject and as well as helping us all make the painting below he talked about purchasing the correct materials, canvases, oils, brushes etc. He also told us about the Atelier method (used by the old Masters) that he uses to teach his students (one for the wishlist).
Martin, by his own admission, likes to add the letter y on to lots of words so we set about dabbying, fannying (!) and so on.
The following 10 pictures show the stages (I’ve summarised a few) to make a seascape in one colour (7 shades – one of which was titanium white).
Martin prepared the canvases by drawing the horizon line at 2/5ths (something to do with the Fibonacci sequence) up the canvas and drew on the ellipse for the sea.
We started our own impressions on the page by painting (in Titanium White) an ice-cream cone about a third of the way in, with the ice-cream above the horizon line and the cone extending down to the bottom of the ellipse.
Then came time to add the afros (above horizon) and the earrings (below)!! Sweeping across the cone as we go.
We carried on adding the semi circles above and blocks below until the top of the canvas and the ellipse was covered. I have to admit to wondering how our fros were going to end up like the examples on the wall. But, Martin had asked us to trust and put our faith in him so we did.
Then came time to circle to get rid of the lines. Always working from light to dark. (There was lots of use of kitchen paper to wipe the brushes and the paint was squeezed onto ceramic which worked well).
See – no lines. Love the effect of the reflection of the sun in the water.
We used a technique called drunky monkey to add in the clouds. As well as ‘kissing’ with a fan brush. I think my ‘drunky monkey’ needs work.
Then came the sand – using a side to side motion. This was nice and easy as we just had to fill in the blank canvas.
Then we added in headland – moving out and under with the darker colours.
Then came the trickiest bit for me. Adding in the foam required loading only half the brush and sweeping it along. Note my attempt here.
And Martin’s assistance to make the curvy wave a bit cleaner (thanks Martin).
We then used some darker colour underneath and blending to create shadow.
Finally another trickier part, the addition of rocks and then some ‘sand dunes’. From a distance they look okay but think they could have been better.
But hey presto – for my first oil painting I’m very pleased – this was clearly down to the instruction. Martin has had children as young as 5 produce these so go learn from the Master. Martin explains, demonstrates and then you have a go – this is the best way to learn I think. Yes you can see the stages in the pictures but you learn so much from being there, and seeing everyone else’s progress too.
Oils are much nicer than acrylics but until I have more time to dedicate to learning something like this I’m going to have to make do. They really don’t behave the same way at all though – acrylics dry far too quick to work with in this way.
Now after getting it home safely I have to wait about 10 days for it to dry and then ask Dad to come and put a nail up for it to go on the wall.