Thursday, 22 October 2015

The MG Extravaganza - 32 authors, a whole room of readers - and cake! by C.J. Busby

On Saturday, I was lucky enough to be at the MG Extravaganza in Nottingham - a gathering of MG authors, bloggers, teachers, librarians, families and above all child readers - and it was awesome! Last year, bloggers Emma Pass and Kerry Drewery organised a highly successful gathering of UKYA authors - the UKYA extravaganza. This year they did it again but decided to also honour and celebrate the younger age range too, with an MG extravaganza - and what an event it was!

There were thirty-two amazing authors, a room full of enthusiastic audience members, the wonderful Paula Rawsthorne as compere, and a whole lot of cake. With there being so many, everyone was restricted to two minutes each - and we had some great timekeepers in charge of the big orange egg timer to make sure we stuck to it!

Two minutes is a very short time when you're trying to give a  flavour of who you are and what your books are about - but in fact, it worked brilliantly. People picked out the important, funny, interesting bits, and the energy stayed high.

Some of us (all right, one of us!) sang songs...

John Dougherty
Some of us (all right, one of us!) came as witches...

Maudie Smith
And some of us - well, you know that means one of us, right? - waved a sword around to keep everyone on their toes...

And that would be me...
Then there were tales of hunting with eagles from Abi Elphinstone; tales of growing up on a farm from Helen Peters; Joanna Nadin read a brief extract from her new book, Joe All Alone; Teresa Flavin wowed everyone with her bright blue hair and tales of what's really going on behind the paintings on the wall.

The audience seemed to enjoy it - and no one was allowed to be boring with Paula ready to step in and gently nudge them to sit down and shut up now!

Whenever we started to feel fidgety, there was tea and cake, and after that more stories: Huw Powell and S.F. Said, both with tales of outer space; Tamsyn Murray and Linda Chapman with tales of friendship, and baking (more cakes!); stories of losers - Tim Collins and Dorkius Maximus, Jackie Marchant with Dougal Trump. There were even a few superheroes in the books on offer - including Electrigirl, by Jo Cotteril (who came suitably attired!)

Joe Cotteril as Electrigirl
There were issues of identity and race in books by Emma Shevah, Rosemary Hayes and Candy Gourlay; and there were rip-roaring or funny adventures from Allan Boroughs, Dan Metcalf, Fleur Hitchcock, Cas Lester and many others. It was whirl of imagined places, people and plots - and showed just how vibrant the world of MG books is.

Here's the lot of us -and here's Emma and Kerry advertising the next round of UKYA and UKMG extravaganzas - in Newcastle! Book your tickets now...

(Photos all by Candy Gourlay, except the one of Jo Cotteril, which was taken by Chelley Toy - thanks to them for documenting and contributing to such a  great day!)

C.J. Busby writes fantasy for ages 7-12. Her latest book, The Amber Crown, is out with Templar.


  1. Great round up! And I note you chose the meek photo if you with the sword instead of the bloodthirsty, threatening one!

  2. Great round up! And I note you chose the meek photo if you with the sword instead of the bloodthirsty, threatening one!

  3. What a brilliant write-up! I came with daughter Poppy and we had an absolute blast!

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