It has been a crazy great time since the launch of The Double Shadow. Orion gave me an amazing black tie dinner at the Union Club on the eve of the book being published. I felt honoured indeed in these times of cutbacks with fewer publishing parties. The table looked fab with a bowl of red roses and each plate had a sugar white mouse on it. A perfectly theatrical way to launch the book…

Last week I was in Northern Ireland YLG Book Day. The school librarians do such a sterling job and are completely underrated – their knowledge about fiction is second to none. But still their role is being cut back. I think that’s a tragedy. Libraries play such a vital role and should be at the heart of a school, not seen as a luxury but a necessity.

Well here I am in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. Just finished talking to a class of girls who all spoke fluent English. Rather impressive as their first language is Arabic. The questions they asked where ace, no wilting violets, quite the opposite. Gusty girls who want to know more about the world, and how to become a writer, brill. One of the pupils called Nehal read her story aloud and then gave me a letter it said… After I listened to you I had happiness in my heart. Your advice corrected my soul… Poetry.