Posted by Kanga.
Saturday at the festival began with Maitha Al Khayat and her newest book When A Camel Loves Loqaimat. Loqaimat is a traditional Emirati dessert similar to doughnut holes, although not as sweet as doughnuts. After sharing the story with her rapt audience –
-she shared fresh loqaimat with them. It was a big hit, as you might imagine.
And there were cookies at the book signing.
Next was John Connolly, author of The Book of Lost Things, which sounds interesting to me, but the bookstore was sold out. I’ll have to look for it later. It’s not like I’m caught up on my reading and desperately in need of it. (He didn’t intend for it to be a “children’s book,” but having a young protagonist almost guarantees being pigeon holed as children’s lit.) The book incorporates fairy tales, although they are not necessarily told the way we remember them. About a fourth of the book at the end is essays about the tales and early versions of each (before the Brothers Grimm cleaned them up).
Then I was off to a two (and a half) hour book binding workshop.
I really enjoyed this. The instructor, Mark Cockram, who is a book artist and teacher was quite a comedian. The time flew by. I was amused when one of the participants told him he should have brought some of the books he has made to sell them. He found a way to politely say “you couldn’t afford them.”
I made this!
Next was Chris Cleave, author of Incendiary, The Other Hand (aka Little Bee), and his newest Gold. It was interesting to hear the different authors describing how they write. Chris says he chooses a challenging question and then finds characters, places them in pressure situations to force them to answer the question. For example, the question behind Gold is “what would you sacrifice for your career? Family? Friends?”
Last was Anthony Horowitz and the young fans of his Alex Rider series and Power of Five series. Kids are always fun and have the best questions during Q&A time.
Addendum: More information about Jeffrey Deaver and Anthony Horowitz writing books about Bond and Holmes was requested. So, here is what I remember. Jeffrey Deaver was approached by the Fleming estate because he had mentioned in a speech that he was a Bond fan and had begun reading Bond novels when he was eight years old. He was given room to update Bond, making him a veteran of the Afghanistan war instead of World War II. He also softened Bond’s mysogyny. Other characteristics of a Bond story were retained – creative character names, the over the top villain, and, of course, gadgets. I missed how Mr. Horowitz came to write the Holmes novel, but he was given more latitude in his writing. Arthur Conan Doyle’s own inconsistencies made being faithful to the previous stories difficult. He chose not to have Moriarity be the main villain, but he did give him a cameo appearance. He pointed out that what makes Holmes stories captivating is not the plot, but the relationship of Holmes (cold, intellectual, addicted) and Watson (warm, helpful, caring).